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The adoption of the changes made to the Commercial Companies Law (CCL) from 1 June 2021, in what might be described as a new dawn for the country’s business community, would now enable foreigners to hold 100 percent of their company in the UAE.

Analysis: 100% Foreign Ownership in the UAE

In this blog, we will go into more depth about the new developments and what they imply for businesses as well as the economy of the United Arab Emirates.

What exactly is new?

The amended laws place a strong emphasis on the regulation of rules relating to the establishment of business organisations with limited liability. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be owned by a single individual or by a group of individuals known as shareholders.

What has changed since then?

Previously, expat company owners were only allowed to hold a maximum of 49 percent of their respective businesses. The remaining 51 percent would have to be owned by a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, commonly known as an Emirati sponsor or partner.

Only a small number of activities in the professional services sector and a few free zones permitted foreigners to own 100 percent of their company in the United Arab Emirates.

The changes, on the other hand, remove foreign investors from the requirement that they hold a minimum proportion of the company owned by UAE citizens. Natural and legal people will now be able to incorporate businesses in the United Arab Emirates mainland without the requirement for a local partner.

Who is eligible to acquire a 100 percent stake in a company in the United Arab Emirates?


The new rules will be applicable to 1,061 out of the 2,300 total economic activities listed by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, making them the most comprehensive set of laws in the world (DED). As a result, about half of all business operations across all industries, including trade and manufacturing, qualify for 100 percent ownership of the company.

However, in the case of professional services activities, the ability to retain 100 percent ownership of the company continues to be advantageous to the entrepreneurs. They, on the other hand, need the use of a local service agent and closely adhere to the single establishment legal structure rather than the LLC.

Abu Dhabi is a city in the United Arab Emirates.

For the time being, investors in Abu Dhabi are still required to associate with an Emirati sponsor in order to launch the vast bulk of their trading operations. Therefore, they are required to adhere to the 51-49 shareholding requirement.

Other Emirati countries

The implementation of 100 percent ownership of a company differs from one Emirate to the next in terms of its execution. While Dubai and Abu Dhabi have already implemented the new rules, it is anticipated that other governments will follow suit in the near future.

For what reason were the rules changed to allow for 100 percent ownership of a business?

Create a favourable legislative environment for the formation of new businesses.
Increasing the preparedness of the country’s economy by facilitating 100 percent ownership of businesses in the UAE would improve the country’s competitiveness.
Improvements in the ease of doing business will aid in the preparation of the future by increasing investment and commercial possibilities.
In order to keep pace with fast economic change as well as advancements taking place in the global economy, businesses must improve their competitiveness.
Take into account the changing requirements of the UAE business community.
Increase the country’s appeal to foreign investors, companies, and even startups by a significant margin.
A one-stop shop for all of your company requirements

Since 2001, Generis Global Business Setup, a pioneer in the provision of professional company formation services, has been assisting local and international entrepreneurs and investors in taking their initial steps. More than 35,000 businesses have benefited from the tailored business solutions provided by Generis Global throughout the course of the company’s past two decades of operation.

In addition to assisting entrepreneurs in determining the most appropriate jurisdiction, trade licence, and corporate structure based on the nature of their business, Generis Global also handles the process of obtaining all necessary documents and approval from various government agencies for the issuance of visas and licences. This eliminates the need for businesses to worry about the legal procedures.

Furthermore, since the legislation is relatively new, it will take some time for the integration of different government agencies to take place. To prevent any misunderstandings and to learn more about how Generis Global can assist you in navigating through the process of acquiring 100 percent ownership of a company in the UAE, schedule a free consultation with one of Generis Global’s Legal Corporate Advisors now.