The UAE Announces 100% Ownership for Foreign Companies – All Details Inside

In a historic turn of events, the UAE has announced 100% ownership for foreign companies. Earlier, any person starting a venture in the country had to find a local sponsor who was entitled to receive 51% partnership status. Furthermore, they were also paid an annual sponsorship fee. With the implementation of new amendments, there’s no requirement to find a local sponsor.

The UAE has remained a popular choice for investors and businessmen, despite the limitations. For example, even now, real estate investors can only look for apartments or villa for sale in UAE in freehold areas for complete ownership. Still, it garners interests from investors belonging to different regions. Top world-renowned development firms choose this country for their new ventures.

Effects of Full Ownership for Foreign Companies in the UAE

Coming back to the latest development pertaining to 100% ownership of foreign companies, it is going to vastly change the business sector in the country. Let’s take a look at some of the most expected effects:

  • As soon as the amendment was announced, an increase in interest from foreign investors was noted in the UAE. In Dubai only, 59 investors have gained an advantage of this development.
  • With more foreign investment in the country, the economy is expected to boost.
  • It is expected to cement the UAE’s position as an attractive destination for entrepreneurship and foreign investment.
  • While the property market in the UAE is already flooded with foreign investments, it will give a boost to other sectors as well.
  • This development will positively impact the property market in the region as well. As more investors will visit the country, the demand for apartments for sale and rent is expected to see a surge.

Incorporation Process

With the change in company ownership law, many speculated that the process to form an organisation in the UAE would also witness a change. However, there have been no changes made to the incorporation process. The process prevalent for the company incorporation remains the same, with the exception of no requirement of a local sponsor. Moreover, the required capital also hasn’t changed. There are no additional guarantees and fees required.

Approved List of Activities

Once this development was announced, different emirates in the UAE drafted a list of approved activities for company formation by foreigners. Other than that, they have also set requirements that will be required by entrepreneurs to meet in order to establish a business.

Among all the emirates, the official activity lists of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have surfaced. As of yet, these lists are tentative and can be changed in future. But, they present a clear picture about the activities approved for 100% owned foreign companies in these two emirates.

Important Details about Fully Owned Foreign Companies in Dubai

According to Dubai Economy, there are more than 1000 commercial and industrial activities that entrepreneurs can choose from to establish a fully owned company in Dubai. As stated above, they can do this without appointing an Emirati agent. Moreover, they can freely open a branch of their business in Dubai.

Invest in Dubai Portal

Interested entrepreneurs can start the process to form an establishment through “invest in Dubai”. It is a digital portal designed to offer enhanced convenience to users. Through this portal, the procedure to obtain relevant licenses can be completed in a few minutes. This eliminates the need for visiting a service centre.

This portal can also be used for initialising other procedures, such as getting initial approvals and reserving trade names.

Status of Business Licences of Already Running Companies

The status of licenses already approved will remain unchanged after this development. To put it in simple terms, it will not impact organisations set up in Dubai that have a local sponsor/partner already. Having said that, they can apply for their withdrawal or reduction of share through a proper channel and by following a legal procedure.


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