100% Expat Ownership in the UAE; Definitive Guide

Requirements for Dubai Visa Application
Requirements for Dubai Visa Application

Since time immemorial, 100% Expat Ownership in the UAE business proprietors were restricted to owning a certain amount of wealth in their companies, and the rest were shared by the UAE nationals. A thing that wasn’t intriguing to the foreign investors at all. To mention; expat business owners were allowed to own a maximum of 49% of their business property, and 51% would belong to the UAE nationals, also called partner, sponsor, or Emirati.

Currently, the UAE CCL, commonly known as Commercial Companies Law has been passed to allow 100% of foreign ownership, especially to companies featured in the UAE under the Commercial Companies Law. This was professed by the Ministry of Economy in UAE that the foreign ownership of companies would be effective on June 1st, 2021. Therefore, the policy that was holding the UAE nationals to have a 51% of expat business owners’ share has been removed from Article 10 of the CCL.

This has been a key consideration to foreign investors who were looking forward to a business set up in UAE. So, sharing their property with UAE nationals restricted foreign investors to conduct their business productively. These include venturing in capital funds, private equity, and causing a lot of impediments to an extent they couldn’t manage to invest in Onshore Companies properly. 

Good news, foreign investors are now allowed to own, control and manage their Onshore Companies without employing or dealing with UAE nominees to get their things done. Additionally, even the single-shareholder entities, which were previously owned by the UAE nationals, the law has it that even the foreign investors can have 100% ownership. Therefore, in this article, you’ll learn all the basics involved in 100% expat ownership in the UAE, which will help you get a deep understanding of the newly revised law in the UAE. 

So, below is the nitty-gritty you’ll learn as far as 100% expat ownership is concerned;

  • Who is eligible for 100% ownership of the company’s business in the UAE?
  • Who can own 100 LLC in UAE?
  • Can a foreigner own a company in UAE?
  • Why was the law revised to permit 100% ownership of companies in the UAE?

Who is eligible for 100% ownership of the company’s business in the UAE?

Not all states have permitted 100% expat ownership of business companies in the UAE. So, it is better to acquaint yourself with what is needed and what states have regulated lawfully. As foreign investors, it feels better when you have full control and ownership of your business even if you are in another country. 

Therefore, continue reading to familiarize yourself with the deep states that have incorporated the law into their business model.

  • Abu Dhabi

As much as Abu Dhabi permits the 100% ownership of business companies by foreign investors, at some point you’ll be required to partner with sponsors or Emirati. Here investors will be required to partner with UAE nationals when you have established several trading activities within the state.

Thus, the investors will be obliged to adhere to the 49-51% rule laid down earlier.

  • Dubai

In this state, the law is valid to 1, 061 out of the 2,300 total business activities that are listed by the DED, popularly known as the Department of Economic Development. So, in Dubai, nearly half of the business activities such as manufacturing, trading, and more are permitted to have 100% ownership of their business companies.

On the other hand, for professional activities, a local service agent might be required and closely adhere to the sole establishment of the legal structure instead of an LLC.

Who can own 100 LLC in UAE?

The implementation of the new law made to the CCL, Commercial Company Law has made a new revolution in the UAE business model. For edges, it has been hard for foreign investors to own business companies in UAE.

However, nowadays all expats’ business proprietors are permitted to own LLC in UAE. If it were not for the law, still the 49-51% could have been effective; though not all states in UAE have incorporated the 100% expat ownership. 

Can a foreigner own a company in UAE?

Yes, any foreign investors are allowed to start their business in UAE or form a huge company and execute their trading activities in UAE. The most essential thing to consider is the nature of your business, the business activities, and the location you want to start your company. 

Since expat can own their company in UAE, you’ll be compelled to align your business model with the type of free zone you desire to start your business. Each free zone has different jurisdiction that controls its business market. As a foreign investor, it is your onus to research and know the policies of each zone.

Thus, Dubai welcomes all expat from different nations to invest in their city. Similarly, everything has been simplified to an extent you can apply for your visa via an e-channel system, which is an online portal and gets your documents ready.

Why was the law revised to permit 100% ownership of companies in the UAE?

UAE is a stable economy country where a lot of business investors desire to invest in Dubai. Thus, due to the influx of foreign investors in the UAE, initially, there was a law that mandated a share of a minimum of 51% from the foreign investors by the sponsors or partners. So, the expat business investors received 49%. 

Nonetheless, coming 1st June 2021, the law was revised and allowed 100% expat ownership of companies in UAE due to the following reasons;

  • To enhance a prolific and productive company establishment in UAE
  • To skyrocket the country’s economy by allowing 100% expat ownership of the business in the UAE
  • To simplify the ease of doing business in the country
  • Give in to the evolving business model in the country
  • To attract business expats to invest in UAE and other states within the country
  • Create a good competitive environment for business 

Final Thoughts

Having 100% expat ownership of the business in the UAE is one way of creating a business-friendly environment for all investors. In fact, the model creates a competitive business ground in the marketplace; attracts other expats from other nations to invest in Dubai. This helps to boost the country’s economy and many other things.