Federal law on commercial companies
Foreigners are allowed to establish companies with 100 per cent full ownership, based on the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 26 of 2020 amending the provisions of Federal Law No. 2 of 2015 on Commercial Companies.
The law annuls the requirement for commercial companies to have a major Emirati shareholder or agent, thus, providing full foreign ownership to non-Emiratis of all nationalities of onshore companies established by them.
In addition, firms wishing to become joint stock companies can, after the approval of relevant authorities, sell through IPOs, no more than 70 per cent of the company, instead of the earlier 30 per cent limit.
The decree authorises the UAE Cabinet to set up a committee that includes representatives of the relevant authorities with a view to proposing activities of strategic impact and the measures required to licence companies that operate in such areas. Upon the recommendation of the committee, the Cabinet will stipulate the activities that shall be considered of strategic impact and the required measures for licensing such companies.
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Foreign ownership activities in Abu Dhabi
Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi identifies 1,105 registered commercial and industrial activities, for which non-citizens, whether natural or legal persons, have the right to own economic licence, establish commercial companies with 100 per cent or less ownership and practise these activities in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The announcement of full foreign ownership affirms the Abu Dhabi Government’s keenness to attract more foreign direct investments by promoting an open and flexible business environment, and stimulate the private sector and enhance the position of the emirate of Abu Dhabi on the global investment map.