UAE to offer 100% business ownership outside freezones

UAE to offer 100% business ownership outside freezones

In a move to boost business and bring more expat investors and entrepreneurs to UAE, the UAE Cabinet has approved the 13 sectors and 122 economic activities eligible for up to 100 per cent foreign ownership in the UAE.

UAE offers 100% business ownership outside Freezones.

A total of 122 economic activities across 13 sectors were specified to be eligible for up to 100 percent foreign ownership. This will remove the need for foreign businesses to take a free zone license to have full or majority ownership in ventures such as operating an online shopping portal or a web TV streaming service etc. This will also eliminate the requirement of a local partner to launch a business in mainland (outside free-zone)


The economic activities eligible for 100% business ownership in UAE include:

  • Renewable energy
  • Space
  • Agriculture
  • Manufacturing
  • Administrative Services
  • Support Services
  • Educational activities
  • Healthcare
  • Entertainment
  • E-commerce
  • Transport
  • Supply chain
  • Logistics
  • Cold storage for pharmaceutical products

Note: This is not an exhaustive list

Industry sources say even “Old Economy” activities like manufacturing and construction would derive benefits from full foreign ownership. And at some point, even trading — which is what the UAE economy was initially built on — could come under the umbrella.


There are concerns that the new business ownership laws would damage the business of freezones. However, this will be get clear with time.

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