100% Business Ownership in the UAE: A Game-Changing Update with Commercial Companies Law (CCL)

To what may be called a new dawn for the country’s business community, the implementation of the amendments made to the Commercial Companies Law (CCL) from 1 June 2021, now allows expats to have 100% ownership of business in UAE. We will explore in detail the new changes and what it means for entrepreneurs as well as the UAE economy. The latest laws permit 100% ownership for foreign investors in the UAE, and it’s a revolutionary step towards making this region the prime business hub all over the world.


The latest laws permit 100% ownership for foreign investors in the UAE, and it’s a revolutionary step towards making this region the prime business hub all over the world.


What is new? & What has changed?

The revised laws highlight the regulation of provisions for establishing commercial companies with limited liability structures. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) can have a single owner or have multiple shareholders.

Earlier, expat business owners were limited to owning a maximum of 49% of their companies. The remaining 51% would mandatorily belong to a UAE national also known as Emirati sponsor or partner.


Only a few activities in the professional services sectors and certain free zones allowed foreigners to have 100 percent ownership in the UAE.


Now, however, the amendments exempt foreign investors from the minimum percentage ownership of UAE nationals. Thus, allowing natural and legal persons to establish companies in the UAE mainland without the need for a local partner. 


This implies that expatriates can now enjoy 100% foreign ownership in the UAE by simply partnering with a local service agent (LSA). An LSA helps you with all the paperwork and licensing procedures without having any shareholding in your company. Therefore, the power to make decisions rests in your hands.


Who is eligible for 100% ownership of business in the UAE?



In Dubai, the revised laws will be applicable to 1,061 out of the 2,300 total economic activities on the list released by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Therefore, about half the business activities across sectors, including trading and manufacturing, qualify for 100% ownership of business.


For professional services activities, however, 100% ownership for foreign investors in the UAE continues to benefit the entrepreneurs. They, however, require a local service agent and strictly follow the sole establishment legal structure instead of an LLC.


Abu Dhabi

Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi, establishing majority of the trading activities still require investors to partner with an Emirati sponsor. Therefore, they have to follow the 51-49 shareholding provision.


Other Emirates

The implementation of the 100% ownership of business varies from one Emirate to another. While Dubai and Abu Dhabi have already introduced the updated regulations, other states are also expected to devise their own. Once the regulations are introduced by the concerned jurisdictions, foreign investors would be able to enjoy complete ownership of their business. GloBridge becomes your silent business partner at a nominal cost and assists you in all the procedures involved in setting up a business with 100% foreign ownership in the UAE.


Why were laws revised to allow 100% ownership of business?


Create a fertile legislative environment for the company establishments.


Facilitating 100% ownership of business in UAE will raise the readiness of the country’s economy.


Improve the ease of doing business.


Help prepare for the future by boosting investment and commercial opportunities.


Raise the competitiveness of the business environment in tune with the rapid economic changes as well as developments taking place in the global economy.


Respond to the evolving needs of the UAE business community.


Give a huge push to the country’s attractiveness to expat investors, businesses and even startups.


Empower foreign investors to have complete operational and legal control over their businesses without any unwanted intervention.


Attract business aspirants from around the globe to find a home for their business and enjoy UAE 100% foreign ownership.


A Comprehensive Business Solution Provider

As a pioneer in expert company formation services, GloBridge Business Setup has been facilitating local and international entrepreneurs and investors since 2001, sowing the seeds for over 35,000 firms with customised business solutions. From assisting entrepreneurs in selecting the most suitable jurisdiction, trade licence, and corporate structure based on their business nature to obtaining all necessary documents and approvals from various government agencies for visas and licences, GloBridge handles all steps and formalities, relieving businesses of legal procedural concerns.


The introduction of 100% ownership for foreign investors in the UAE represents a groundbreaking shift in the corporate business industry. The UAE government’s support has led to amendments in the Federal Commercial Companies Law (CCL), and at GloBridge, we provide comprehensive information on these changes. Additionally, we evaluate your business model and recommend strategies to ensure eligibility for 100% foreign ownership.


Given the recent nature of these legal changes, seamless integration between governmental departments will take time. To avoid confusion and gain insight into how GloBridge can guide you through the process of achieving 100% ownership of your business in the UAE, book a free consultation with GloBridge’s Legal Corporate Advisors.

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