Visit our social pages

Explaining 100% Foreign ownership in the UAE (2023 Updated)

Some businesspersons think they cannot call their company their own if they do not own the majority of it. Assuredly, most Middle Eastern countries did not allow this to foreigners. However, one took an innovative step in allowing ex-pats 100% LLC ownership in the UAE.

In this article, we will explain the 100% ownership for foreign investors in the UAE. Above all, it involves learning how to make you eligible for a UAE 100% ownership. So, come and start your business in Dubai or Abu Dhabi after reviewing the following topics in detail:

1. How was foreign ownership in the UAE in the past?

100% ownership in the uae

The UAE began its way to improve its economy a long time ago. For instance, they started offering visa services to allow foreigners to live and work in the country. But what if you wanted to start a business in Dubai as a foreigner?

In this sense, the UAE allowed you to start a business in mainland Dubai as a foreigner. However, you could not do so without local sponsorship. In other words, a UAE national had to own at least 51% of your company.


On the contrary, recent years showed the authorities of the UAE that foreign investment is the best way to promote economic growth in the country. As a result, they decided to start allowing 100% ownership in the UAE for foreign citizens. So, what does this mean?

2. What is new regarding 100% ownership in the UAE?

Above all, 100% foreign ownership in the UAE means ex-pats can set up their business without needing a local partner. By all odds, you may think that this only applies to locations such as the Dubai Internetcity Freezone. Nonetheless, it applies to every place in the UAE.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that the type of business you want to set up is not a limitation either. Ergo, you can set up your accounting services company in Abu Dhabi with 100% ownership without problems. Assuredly, it will give you the success you dream about.

However, there are some limitations if you want to belong to the 100% ownership in the UAE list. Indeed, most relate to your eligibility as a foreign business owner in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Therefore, how can you be eligible for 100% ownership in Dubai?

3. How to be eligible for 100% foreign ownership in the UAE

The UAE is a country where every Emirate has its laws and regulations. For instance, setting up a business in mainland Abu Dhabi is not equal to doing so in Dubai. But does this trend also apply to 100% foreign ownership in the UAE?

Undoubtedly, yes, it does. Most importantly, it reveals why being eligible for 100% ownership in the UAE involves different features in every Emirate. Fortunately, we will help you by discussing how to achieve eligibility for each one.

In addition, remember that setting up your Human Resources Outsourcing Company also implies different legal procedures in each Emirate. So, assess them to become a member of the 100% ownership in the UAE list. By all odds, you will find nothing but great news because of it.

Let us discuss how to be eligible for 100% foreign ownership in the UAE today:

3.1 Dubai

Dubai is an Emirate with several excellent places to begin a successful business journey. For instance, you can set up an IT company in the Dubai Silicon Oasis and establish multiple alliances in the industry. However, how can you be eligible for 100% ownership in Dubai mainland?

In this sense, UAE authorities allow 100 percent ownership in the UAE for foreigners who choose one of 1,061 economic activities available to this feature in Dubai. Furthermore, you can visit the Department of Economic Development site to discover this activities list.

On the other hand, ex-pats with a professional license in Dubai cannot get UAE 100% ownership without a local service agent. After all, UAE authorities seek to benefit entrepreneurs with this policy. Therefore, professional service providers are not eligible for it.

3.2 Abu Dhabi

Similarly to Dubai, Abu Dhabi also has terrific locations you can use to set up a business. For example, you can turn your business idea into a company in the Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD). Nonetheless, can you have 100% ownership of your company in Abu Dhabi?

Unfortunately, authorities in Abu Dhabi still use laws that do not allow 100% foreign ownership in the UAE. As a result, you can set up your business there only with the assistance of a local sponsor. Indeed, it means they still use the 51-49 ownership policy regarding ex-pats.

Nevertheless, it does not mean bad news if you cannot have UAE 100% ownership in Abu Dhabi. On the contrary, the Emirate is still an excellent location to use your business trade license. In other words, do not see the inability of 100% ownership as an issue.

3.3 The remaining Emirates

Although Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the strongest Emirates from a financial vantage point, you can also set up your company in one of the remaining five. After all, a business in Sharjah Airport Freezone can distribute its products efficiently. But do they allow 100% foreign ownership in the UAE?

The correct answer to this essential question is: not yet. Indeed, Emirates such as Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain plan to set up policies that allow 100% ownership in the UAE. Ergo, setting up your 100% owned business there will require you to wait.

In short, it is a matter of time before we see 100% ownership throughout the entire United Arab Emirates. However, you may be wondering why they want to follow this trend. In this sense, our following subject will show you their reasons and more.

4. Why UAE authorities allowed 100% ownership for foreign investors in the UAE?

100% ownership in the uae

The UAE has several tools to promote economic growth besides 100% ownership. For example, they can issue an Industrial Trade License for local and overseas businesses of several industries. So, why do they need to allow 100% ownership for foreign investors in the UAE?

First, 100 percent ownership in the UAE allows the country to prepare for the future by boosting commercial opportunities and investments. Besides, it is also an often-requested desire in the UAE business community. Therefore, they are responding to business trends in the region with it.

On the other hand, 100% foreign ownership in the UAE also makes the business environment more competitive. After all, it promotes rapid economic changes and developments. Indeed, think about them before setting up your Corporate Sponsorship Services firm.

5. Starting your business with 100 percent ownership in the UAE today

We know the possibility of having 100% ownership in the UAE excites you tremendously. So, we cannot finish this article without showing you how to start your business in locations such as the Jabal Ali Freezone. Assuredly, it is easier than you may think in the Middle East.


Setting up your company with 100% ownership in Dubai involves performing five steps. Logically, you must follow them in order as you did when applying for your Green Visa. As a result, you will discover the advantages of owning a business in a terrific location such as the UAE.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that we will only cover the first steps of the process. Hence, managing your company with 100% ownership in the UAE is up to you. Above all, we are sure you will perform the best work in it.

Let us discuss the steps of setting up a business with 100% foreign ownership in the UAE today:

5.1 Choosing a business activity

Unequivocally, you cannot run a banking services company without financial knowledge. Thus, you need to choose a business activity that allows you to provide excellent services or manufacture good products. Indeed, this is the first step in your pursuit of UAE 100% ownership.

As we stated earlier, the list of the 1,046 business activities of the Department of Economic Development (DED) is the best way to do this. After all, you can be eligible for 100% ownership in Dubai mainland by choosing one of them.

Moreover, being good at what you do is not the only feature you must assess when choosing a business activity. Indeed, you should also evaluate the impact of your location and the setup type you will perform. Fortunately, you can find Business Setup Consultants in Dubai to help you.

5.2 Registering your company name

The name of your business says a lot about what you want to achieve as a businessperson in the UAE. Most importantly, it is a statement that gains more value when you have 100% ownership in the UAE. Hence, the following step here is to register it.

Above all, you must follow specific local regulations to choose your company name. For example, it must not contain offensive or blasphemous language. Furthermore, it cannot be the same as other PRO services providers and companies in the UAE.

In addition, we recommend avoiding abbreviations when choosing a name for your organization. After all, your company with 100 percent ownership in the UAE must reflect your name or industry adequately. It will make it longer but also appealing.

5.3 Applying for your license and visa

As a foreigner, you must find a legal way to enter the UAE and set up your business. On the contrary, you may fail in your pursuit of enjoying 100% ownership in the UAE. Therefore, you need to apply for your business license and your visa.

visa-services 1

In this sense, the UAE offers several licenses depending on your type of business and industry. For instance, you can apply for a Tourism License if your company works in the tourism industry. This way, UAE authorities will know about your company the right way.

On the other hand, there are multiple visas you can get in the UAE for 100% ownership. For example, you can apply for a Golden Visa to stay working and living in Dubai for a long time. Assuredly, it is a place you do not want to leave.

5.4 Opening your corporate bank account

Your final visit for setting up your business with 100% foreign ownership in the UAE is to a local bank. After all, you need to open a corporate bank account for your company. Indeed, local and foreign companies require it for trading activities.

That is it! You now know how to achieve 100% ownership in the UAE. Therefore, it is time you plan features like your business budget, marketing plan, and corporate alliances. Undoubtedly, the UAE will allow you to do this and more without issues.

6. Where to find more information about the 100% foreign ownership in the UAE

The need for a local sponsor now belongs to the past in the UAE. Today, the country uses policies to promote foreign investment and economic growth to lead the Middle Eastern market. Indeed, the most effective one of these policies is allowing foreigners complete ownership in the UAE.

Did you decide to set up a business with 100% ownership in Dubai? We think it is the best decision of your life. However, you may need local assistance to make the setup process smoother. In this sense, you can find the perfect friend for it in Connect Middle East.

logo - ConnectME color

Let us help you achieve one hundred percent foreign ownership in the UAE. You can also contact us to discover additional advantages of setting up a company in places like Dubai. So, type your requests in an email to or call us at +971 43 316 688.

Connect Services Middle East

Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to helping you navigate the local laws and regulations and provide you with customized solutions that suit your unique business needs. We believe in building long-term relationships with our clients, and our commitment to their success is at the core of everything we do. Whether you are a small startup or a large corporation, we are here to support you every step of the way.

Related Posts

Do you need specialized assistance?

Contact us today and experience the difference of working with Connect Middle East.