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100% Foreign Ownership Permitted in the UAE

The UAE Commercial Companies Law (CCL) has been amended to permit 100% foreign ownership of companies incorporated in the UAE under the CCL, commonly known as “onshore” companies.

The requirement of 51% of the shares in an Onshore Company be held by one or more UAE nationals, being natural or legal persons, has been removed from Article 10 of the CCL

  • UAE allows 100% ownership of businesses for foreign nationals from 1st Dec 2020 as per the Cabinet Resolution 16/2020.

  • The legal form of the businesses shall be a LLC or Private Joint Stock Companies (even single owned).

  • It may be noted that as per Commercial Companies Law, Law No.2 of 2015, foreign shareholding was limited to 49% in a Limited Liability Company (LLC) operating as an onshore UAE business. It required a UAE national or 100% owned UAE national owned company to hold the balance 51% shares.

  • The cabinet may stipulate activities to be considered of strategic importance and stipulate measures required for their licensing.

  • It will be interesting to see how the free trade zones (FTZ) position themselves going forward, as their main attraction was their offer of 100% foreign ownership.

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