UAE Allows 100% Ownership of Businesses by Foreign Nationals |

UAE Allows 100% Ownership of Businesses by Foreign Nationals

Private businesses in the UAE will no longer require an Emirati shareholder.

Posted on

24 November 2020

Last updated on 25 November 2020
UAE Now Allows 100% Ownership of Businesses by Foreign Nationals

100 per cent foreign ownership is now possible for all onshore commercial companies in the UAE.

The UAE just changed the game when His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, announced that an Emirati shareholder is no longer a legal requirement to start a business in the country.

State news agency WAM said that it is effective from Tuesday, December 1st, 2020.

Previously, under Federal Law No. 2 of 2015, starting a business in the country required an Emirati to be a major shareholder or agent. The new royal decree means a significant overhaul to the law, allowing commercial businesses to be fully established and owned by non-Emiratis of any passport.

The move was made to elevate the UAE as an attractive destination for business to overseas entrepreneurs, with the hope to increase foreign capital in the Arab world’s second largest economy.

Companies are being given a maximum of one year to comply with the amended law from the time it becomes effective, which can be extended under a decision by the cabinet as proposed by the UAE Minister of Economy.

In addition, UAE-based firms that wish to become joint stock companies can now sell maximum 70 per cent of the company - an increase from the previous 30 per cent through IPOs.

The new decree also enables companies to issue bonds and convert them into shares.

One-year residency visa for remote workers in Dubai

The news comes after Dubai launched a remote working programme where overseas employees can live in Dubai while continuing working remotely for companies abroad.

This new one-year residency visa gives remote workers, as well as their families, the option to live in the emirate while also benefitting from Dubai's zero income tax policy for workers as well as other benefits received by permanent residents.

FIND OUT MORE: All About Dubai's New Residency Visa For Remote Workers

Entrepreneurs and business owners are also welcome to apply for the remote working residency visa. They will need to provide proof of ownership of the company for one year or more, must receive an average monthly income of at least USD 5,000 per month, and have three months bank statements.