100 % foreign ownership and 10-year residency visa in the UAE




By the end of 2018, international investors could have 100 % ownership of their companies in the UAE and receive a 10-year residency visa. 

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the new 10-year residency visa for investors and specialists. He also declared that global investors should have 100 % ownership of their companies in the UAE. These new regulations shall be implementing by the end of 2018.

10-year residency visa in the UAE

The new system will grant global investors and entrepreneurs a 10-year residency visa. Also, specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields could receive a 10-year residency visa. With the new visa system, professionals like doctors and engineers as well as their families don’t need to renew their visas every 2 or 3 years. They will be qualified for the new 10-years visas.

Currently, students need to renew their visa every year. With the new regulations, students in the UAE could apply for a 5-year residency visa. Exceptional students (A-students) could receive a UAE residency visa for up to 10 years. 

100 % foreign ownership in the UAE

At present, mainland companies (onshore LLCs) need to have a local partner owning 51 % of the company shares. Only companies based in a free zone can be 100 % foreign owned. The recent cabinet decision will allow global investors a 100 % foreign ownership of their companies in the UAE. 

UAE as a permanent destination for international investors and talents

The aim of the cabinet decision is to promote the UAE as a permanent destination for international investors and to become a global incubator for exceptional talents. "An open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents to the UAE," said Sheikh Mohammed.

Several expats have been living in UAE for up to 50 years. The UAE has become home for them and their families. They would appreciate to have a permanent residency, but for now, they must renew their visa every 2 or 3 years. A permanent residency for expats in the UAE could bring economic benefits. Expats typically invest their money into property or savings schemes abroad, because they only receive a temporary residency and need to go back to their home country one day. Getting a 10-year residency visa, would support them and encourage many expats to buy property in the UAE. Therefore, the 10-year residency visa is exciting news and a very welcome change. 

Specific details about the 10-year residency visa and the 100 % foreign ownership for companies in the UAE have not been published yet. As always, MEO Business Center will keep you updated.