100% Foreign Ownership in the UAE [Explained]
To what may be called a new dawn for the country’s business community, the implementation of the amendments made to the Commercial Companies Law (CCL) from 1 June 2021, now allows expats to have 100% ownership of business in UAE.
In this blog, we will explore in detail the new changes and what it means for entrepreneurs as well as the UAE economy. The latest laws permit 100% ownership for foreign investors in the UAE, and it’s a revolutionary step towards making this region the prime business hub all over the world.
What is new?
The revised laws highlight the regulation of provisions for establishing commercial companies with limited liability structures. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) can have a single owner or have multiple shareholders.
What has changed?
Earlier, expat business owners were limited to owning a maximum of 49% of their companies. The remaining 51% would mandatorily belong to a UAE national also known as Emirati sponsor or partner.
Only a few activities in the professional services sectors and certain free zones allowed foreigners to have 100 percent ownership in the UAE.
Now, however, the amendments exempt foreign investors from the minimum percentage ownership of UAE nationals. Thus, allowing natural and legal persons to establish companies in the UAE mainland without the need for a local partner.
This implies that expatriates can now enjoy 100% foreign ownership in the UAE by simply partnering with a local service agent (LSA). An LSA helps you with all the paperwork and licensing procedures without having any shareholding in your company. Therefore, the power to make decisions rests in your hands.
Who is eligible for 100% ownership of business in the UAE?
In Dubai, the revised laws will be applicable to 1,061 out of the 2,300 total economic activities on the list released by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Therefore, about half the business activities across sectors, including trading and manufacturing, qualify for 100% ownership of business.
For professional services activities, however, 100% ownership for foreign investors in the UAE continues to benefit the entrepreneurs. They, however, require a local service agent and strictly follow the sole establishment legal structure instead of an LLC.
Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi, establishing majority of the trading activities still require investors to partner with an Emirati sponsor. Therefore, they have to follow the 51-49 shareholding provision.
The implementation of the 100% ownership of business varies from one Emirate to another. While Dubai and Abu Dhabi have already introduced the updated regulations, other states are also expected to devise their own. Once the regulations are introduced by the concerned jurisdictions, foreign investors would be able to enjoy complete ownership of their business. Shuraa becomes your silent business partner at a nominal cost and assists you in all the procedures involved in setting up a business with 100% foreign ownership in the UAE.
Why were laws revised to allow 100% ownership of business?
- Create a fertile legislative environment for the company establishments
- Facilitating 100% ownership of business in UAE will raise the readiness of the country’s economy
- Improve the ease of doing business
- Help prepare for the future by boosting investment and commercial opportunities
- Raise the competitiveness of the business environment in tune with the rapid economic changes as well as developments taking place in the global economy
- Respond to the evolving needs of the UAE business community
- Give a huge push to the country’s attractiveness to expat investors, businesses and even startups
- Empower foreign investors to have complete operational and legal control over their businesses without any unwanted intervention
- Attract business aspirants from around the globe to find a home for their business and enjoy UAE 100% foreign ownership
One-stop solution for business needs
A pioneer in providing expert company formation services, Shuraa Business Setup has been helping local as well as international entrepreneurs and investors take their first steps since 2001. In the last two decades of its existence, Shuraa has sowed seeds for more than 35,000 firms with its customized business solutions.
From helping entrepreneurs figure out the most suitable jurisdiction, trade license, and corporate structure based on the nature of their business, to obtaining all required documents and approvals from various government agencies for the issuance of visa and license, Shuraa takes care of all the steps and formalities so that businesses would not have to worry about the legal procedures.
100% ownership for foreign investors in the UAE is a revolutionary step with the potential to turn the corporate business industry upside down. The UAE’s supportive government has made amendments to the Federal Commercial Companies Law (CCL) and we, at Shuraa, provide you with all the information regarding these changes. Moreover, we assess your business model and recommend ways to ensure that your venture also becomes eligible for 100% foreign ownership.
Moreover, since the law is fairly recent, the integration between various governmental departments will take time. To avoid confusion and learn more about how Shuraa can help you navigate through the process of obtaining 100 percent ownership of business in the UAE, book a free consultation with Shuraa’s Legal Corporate Advisors.