July 3, 2024

More about Global investment Destination:100% Foreign Onshore Ownership In UAE

Foreign Onshore Ownership In UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) had brought a significant change that foreign investors will now be allowed to have 100% onshore ownership in the country which came in implementation from 1st June 2021. Previously, foreign investors were required to have a local partner or sponsor, often holding a majority stake which would be around 51% or more, in order to establish a business in the UAE. This change has significantly boosted foreign direct investment (FDI) and further diversified the UAE’s economy. In this article, we will delve into the details of this prevailing policy and its implications for international businesses looking to enter the UAE market.

This transition has been made to boost FDI in the UAE and promote the flow of foreign investors to the UAE, elevating the UAE economy from multiple directions, whether it be the hospitality sector, tourism, business sector, education, health care sector, etc. UAE’s 100% ownership decision has contributed vastly to its economic growth, the effect of which can be seen over the past couple of years. Read ahead to learn more about FDI and the policies adopted by the UAE to promote it as a global investment destination.

Benefits Of 100% Foreign Onshore Ownership In UAE

The policy of allowing 100% foreign onshore ownership in the UAE brings forth a multitude of benefits for international businesses looking to establish a presence in the country.

  • One of the primary advantages is that foreign investors will no longer be required to have a local partner or sponsor and thus can have full control over their businesses. This gives them the freedom to make independent decisions and implement their own strategies.
  • This policy is expected to attract a significant influx of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UAE. With complete ownership rights, international businesses can now confidently explore various sectors, tapping into the numerous opportunities offered by the country’s thriving economy and diverse marketplace.
  • This move is likely to enhance competitiveness and innovation in the UAE market. With more control over their operations, foreign investors will be able to introduce new technologies, products, and services, fostering a climate of growth and development.

In summary, the 100% foreign onshore ownership policy in the UAE not only offers greater autonomy for international businesses but also paves the way for increased FDI, enhanced competitiveness, and a more dynamic economy.

Requirements and Procedures for 100% Foreign Ownership in the UAE With Examples

Imagine you are opening a new yoga studio because of its growing wellness industry. The steps and requirements for setting up your company with 100% foreign ownership are as follows:

  • Department of Economic Development (DED): You will register with the DED as you are conducting business within the mainland of Dubai.

Required Documents:

  • Association Memorandum (MOA): This describes the goals, share capital, and organizational structure of your business.
  • The Articles of Association (AOA): This includes the internal rules that the company is governed by, including meeting and voting procedures.
  • Copies of passports: Give copies of your directors’ and shareholders’ passports of your yoga studio to the authorities.
  • Business Plan: It is essential to have a thorough business plan that details the concept, target market, financial predictions, and marketing tactics of your studio.

The Process:

  • Approval: To obtain first approval, submit your business plan, and copies of your passport, AOA, and MOA to the DED.
  • Reserved Trade Name: Once authorized, reserve a unique and suitable brand name that meets DED regulations for your yoga studio.
  • License Issuance: The DED will grant your trade license, allowing you to run your yoga studio in Dubai, once you have met all the conditions.

Eligible Businesses For 100% Foreign Ownership in the UAE: A Breakdown of activities

The UAE has opened its doors to foreign investors, allowing them to fully own businesses in specific sectors across different emirates. The activities which are open for the FDI in the major emirates include the following:


Nearly half (over 1,000) of Dubai’s 2,300 economic activities can now be 100% foreign-owned. This includes trading, manufacturing, and even professional services (though with a local service agent requirement).

Major Eligible Sectors: 

  • Manufacturing
  • Trading
  • Consulting & Professional Services
  • IT & Telecommunications

Abu Dhabi:

Over 1,100 commercial and industrial activities in Abu Dhabi are open to full foreign ownership. This move underscores their commitment to attracting foreign investment and fostering a dynamic economy.


Sharjah’s full foreign ownership policy offers a streamlined approach with no minimum capital requirements or additional fees for foreign investors. It even allows foreign company branches to operate without an agent.

Impact of 100% Foreign Ownership on the UAE’s Business Landscape

The UAE’s new policy allowing full foreign ownership of onshore businesses is expected to significantly reshape its economic landscape. Here’s a breakdown of the anticipated impacts:

  1. Increased Foreign Investment:
  • Attractiveness for International Companies: With full ownership control, foreign businesses will be more likely to invest and expand operations in the UAE.
  • Economic Growth and Job Creation: Increased investment will create jobs and stimulate economic growth, benefiting both businesses and the local population.
  1. Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship:
  • Technology and Expertise Transfer: Foreign ownership allows companies to bring in new technologies, expertise, and best practices from around the world.
  • Competition and Industry Diversification: This stimulates competition, driving the development of new industries and diversifying the UAE’s economy.
  1. Enhanced Reputation as a Global Business Hub:
  • Attracting Diverse Industries: More international businesses setting up shop attracts a wider range of industries, fostering a more competitive environment.
  • Premier Destination for Foreign Investment: This positions the UAE as a top choice for foreign investment, creating opportunities for local and international professionals.


The minister of economy Abdulla Bin Al Marri, stated during the significant transition to 100% foreign ownership that the UAE has taken this major step to boost its economy; it has made this amendment as a part of making the UAE a global investment destination, which indeed it is now. He also added that this transition would give the UAE a separate identity in the global market, where there would be numerous investment opportunities. In fact, the UAE has taken foreign investments seriously, which has now turned out to be the trump card. The past records also depict that there is a boom in FDI in the UAE. During this competitive phase, foreign investors looking forward to investing in the UAE can take assistance from professional business setup service providers who are well trained to get businesses afloat in the market.

Suppose you are a resident of the US and you wish to invest in one of the major industrial sectors in the UAE, but you don’t have insights about the legal and social demography of the land. In such circumstances, PRO and business set up consultants like CDA can come in as your guardian angel to demystify the complexities of starting a business in Dubai, UAE. Getting assistance from professionals can help you concentrate on your core business operations. While the professionals will deal with the other paper work for you

Click here to know more about starting an industrial business in Dubai UAE.

How CDA Can Help You Navigate the 100% Foreign Ownership Landscape

The UAE’s new policy unlocks exciting possibilities for foreign businesses. But navigating the legalities and setting up a successful operation can be complex. Here’s how CDA can be your partner in this exciting journey:

  • Compliance Guidance: CDA’s team of experts can ensure your business adheres to all regulations specific to 100% foreign ownership. They can help you understand the nuances of different emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah) and guide you through the registration process.
  • Business Setup and Tax Planning: CDA can streamline the business setup process, handle paperwork, and advise on tax implications. With the introduction of corporate tax, their expertise can help you minimize tax burdens and maximize profitability.
  • Professional Expertise: CDA offers a wide range of business set up and PRO services, the team of CDA are well aware of the new business trends and they keep themselves updated about every minor change, hence CDA can ensure the prosperity of your business in UAE.
  • Market Insights and Network: Gain valuable insights into the UAE market and connect with potential partners or clients. CDA’s established network can help you navigate the business landscape and make informed decisions.

By partnering with CDA, you can leverage their expertise to:

  • Secure a Smooth Entry: Ensure a seamless entry into the UAE market, avoiding potential roadblocks and delays.
  • Focus on Growth: Free yourself from administrative burdens and focus on building your business and achieving your entrepreneurial goals.
  • Operate with Confidence: Gain peace of mind knowing your finances are in order and your business is compliant with all regulations.

Click here to know more about our mainland company set up services in Dubai

As the UAE’s business landscape flourishes with foreign investment, CDA stands ready to be your trusted advisor on this exciting journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out and explore how they can empower you to thrive in the new era of 100% foreign ownership.