Yes, you read it correctly! UAE government, in line with the New Foreign
Direct Investment Law (Federal Law Number 19 of 2018) has finally
announced the relaxation for almost 122 business activities to hold 100%
foreign ownership in the mainland companies.
The list of business activities is mainly for companies dealing in the
business of manufacturing products, offering services or in the
agricultural sector. Upon the promulgation of this list by UAE Cabinet,
every Department of Economic Development (DED) in the relevant Emirate
have been empowered with explicit discretion to ascertain the percentage
of foreign ownership in particular business activity. This clearly
states that the foreign owner will be not be authorized to apply for
100% ownership automatically as it will be decided by DED.
Although it all seems to be good news, yet there are certain
prerequisites for the applicant to be followed in accordance with the
UAE Cabinet guidelines.
Ergo, all investors willing to possess 100% ownership shall follow
the below-mentioned conditions prior to filing an application before
their respected DED:
- The relevant company shall have a minimum share capital which
will be decided by DED, and the company shall maintain that capital;
- Construction industries are explicitly restricted to handle
- The mandate for companies under that list to connect with
Tawteen Partners Club requiring entities to maintain certain targets
of Ministry of Emiratisation and Human Resources (MOHRE);
- Conditions on Agricultural companies to use modern technology
for their business
Typically, DED is working on the case to case basis as there is no
critical guideline for them to offer a certain percentage to the foreign
owner. Importantly, any business activity qualifying for attaining 100%
foreign ownership shall have a local sponsor or a service agent.
The local agent can be a UAE national or a company wholly owned by a UAE
national. Another significant fact for existing companies applying for
seeking 100% ownership, there are several conditions which need to be
followed, and for seeking this information, you must seek the assistance
of Corporate Lawyers of Dubai.
The promulgation of this Cabinet decision has shed some light on how
foreign owners can seek 100% or more than 49% ownership, yet the
decision has left several spots for the respected DED to regulate
foreign ownership in their own Emirate. Nevertheless, more clarity on
this situation is always welcome for foreign owners to prepare
themselves before filing an application for claiming higher ownership in