UAE allows 100% Foreign Ownership in Mainlands; The effective date and activities included

Until recently complete ownership to foreign investors was the sole feature of free zones in UAE, but from June 1st onwards UAE mainland can also boast of this characteristic. The UAE government has announced that the amended Commercial Companies law offering 100 percent ownership to foreign investors on UAE mainland will come into effect on June 1st, 2021. The government has also announced the categories that will become under the amended law.

“The amended Commercial Companies Law aims at boosting the country’s competitive edge and is a part of UAE government efforts to facilitate doing business,” said His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy.

“We’re now at the point where these reforms are being actively rolled out and implemented. Its significance cannot be understated in the context of the country’s business and commercial landscape. It is exciting news for the business community, and it will no doubt be of interest to both existing mainland companies and to those thinking of starting a business in the UAE,” he added.

Agriculture; manufacturing; transport and storage; hospitality and food services; information and communications; science and technology; healthcare; education; art and entertainment; and construction are some of the major categories that are included in the ‘positive’ list. Certain conditions must be met to be included in the ‘positive’ list, in the case of certain activities.

Please check the below table to know more about the ‘positive’ list of activities and the conditions that must be fulfilled;

Agriculture sector

 ISIC4Business activityMinimum CapitalConditions and controls for foreign direct investment
101111Grain cultivation (wheat, corn, barley, etc.) – use of modern technology


– achievement of high added value

– contribution in the research and development field

– satisfaction of the requirements of the licensing entities in the state

201112Cultivation of bean crops 
30113Cultivation of vegetables, melons, roots, and tubers 
40114Cultivation of sugar cane 
50116Cultivation of fiber crops 
60119001Flowers and Flower Buds Cultivation 
70121Growing of grapes 
80123001Fruits and Citrus Cultivation 
90124Growing of pome fruits and stone fruits 
100125Growing of other tree and bush fruits and nuts 
110126Growing of oleaginous fruits 
120127Growing of beverage crops 
1301289Growing of aromatic, drug and pharmaceutical crops 
140161Support activities for crop production10
150162Support activities for animal production 
160163Post-harvest crop activities 
170164Seed processing for propagation 
180210Silviculture and other forestry activities 
190240Support services to forestry

Manufacturing sector

ISIC4Business activityMinimum CapitalConditions and controls for foreign direct investment
2010Manufacture of food products (except):


1071- Manufacture of bakery products

105 – Manufacture of dairy products

Cultivation of fiber crops108 – Manufacture of prepared animal feeds

15– use of modern technology


– achievement of high added value

– contribution in the research and development field

– satisfaction of the requirements of the licensing entities in the state

2110Manufacture of beverages (except):


1101 -Distilling, rectifying, and blending of spirits

1102 -Manufacture of wines

1103- Manufacture of malt liquors and malt

2214Manufacture of wearing apparel (except):


14109 – Tailoring and Sewing of Wearing Apparel

1410122 – Military Garments Manufacturing

2315Manufacture of leather and related products15
2416Manufacture of wood and of products of wood and cork, except furniture; manufacture of articles of straw and plaiting materials15
252012002Straight or Complex Fertilizers Manufacturing15
262013Manufacture of plastics and synthetic rubber in primary forms15
272021Manufacture of pesticides and other agrochemical products15
282022Manufacture of paints, varnishes, and similar coatings, printing ink and mastics15
292023Manufacture of soap and detergents, cleaning and polishing preparations, perfumes, and toilet preparations15
302029006Glues and Prepared Adhesives Manufacturing15
312029008Manufacture of dyestuffs and pigments15
322029009Textiles and Leather Finishing Used Chemical Materials Manufacturing15
332029013Manufacture of photographic plates, films15

Gelatine and Its Derivatives Manufacturing

15– use of modern technology


– achievement of high added value

– contribution in the research and development field

– satisfaction of the requirements of the licensing entities in the state

352029021Essential Oils Manufacturing (Essence)15
362029022Extracted Natural Aromatic Products Manufacturing15
372029023Aromatic Distilled Waters Manufacturing15
382029024Matches Manufacturing15
392029025Welding Powders and Pastes Manufacturing15
402030Manufacture of man-made fibres15
412100Manufacture of pharmaceuticals, medicinal chemical and botanical products15
4222Manufacture of rubber and plastics products15
4323Manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products15
4424Manufacture of basic metals (except):


242 Manufacture of basic precious and other non-ferrous metals

2432 Casting of non-ferrous metals

4525Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment (except)


2529 Manufacture of weapons and ammunition

4626Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products15
4727Manufacture of electrical equipment20
4828Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c. (except)


28259 Tobacco Processing Machinery Manufacturing

4929Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers, and semi-trailers100
503011101Building of Commercial Vessels100
513011103Ships and Floating Structures Sections Manufacturing100
523011905Construction of Drilling Platforms, Floating or Submersible100
533011906Construction of Floating Structures100
543011907Building of Hovercraft100
553012Building of pleasure and sporting boats15
563020Manufacture of railway locomotives and rolling stock20
573030Manufacture of air and spacecraft and related machinery (except):


3030006 Military Ballistic and Guided Missiles Manufacturing

583090Manufacture of transport equipment n.e.c.20
5931Manufacture of furniture15
603220Manufacture of musical instruments2
613230Manufacture of sports goods3
623240Manufacture of games and toys3
633250Manufacture of medical and dental instruments and supplies20
643290Other manufacturing n.e.c.3
653312001Repair and maintenance of train engines15
663312002Repair and maintenance of engines ship15
673315001Repair and maintenance of ships15
683315004Repair and maintenance of trains and railway equipment15
693315005Maintenance and Repair of Aircrafts Engines15
703315006Repair and maintenance of aircraft

Service sector

ISIC4Business activityMinimum CapitalConditions and controls for foreign direct investment
716910002Legal Consultancy OfficesAs per the applicable regulations– Not to advocate before the UAE courts.


– Not to carry out any judicial procedure before courts, arbitral tribunals, and judicial and administrative committees.

– Not to carry out attestation activities

– To obtain the approval of the relevant entities in charge of licensing such activities in the State

– To be a natural or legal person known for its excellence in this field

72692Accounting, bookkeeping, and auditing activities; tax consultancyAs per the applicable regulationsOnly permissible for tax planning for businesses and consultancies, preparing and reviewing taxes on businesses
73711Architectural and engineering activities and related technical consultancyAs per the applicable regulations

To be a natural or legal person known for its excellence in this field

74862Medical and dental practice activities
7575Veterinary activities
76620Computer programming, consultancy, and related activitiesAs per the applicable regulationsTo provide a technical team of no less than 5 specialized programmers by the end of the first year of the company
7772Scientific research and developmentAs per the applicable regulationsAs per the applicable regulations
787730-77300Renting and leasing of other machinery, equipment, and tangible goods
79471Retail l sale in non-specialized stores (except Cooperative Societies 4711001)
81732Market research and public opinion polling
82702Management consultancy activities
83712Technical testing and analysis
84331Repair of fabricated metal products, machinery, and equipment (except ships or aircraft and other transport equipment)
858121-81210General cleaning of buildings
86742Photographic activities
878292-82920Packaging activities
88823Organization of conventions and trade shows
89741Specialized design activities
907490005Legal Translation Services
917490006Translation services, movies, and television programs
927490012Translation Publications Services
938299002Translation Services
9441Construction of buildingsAs per the applicable regulationsOnly permissible for large-scale infrastructure projects such as airports, highway roads, sports facilities and projects whose value exceed AED 450,000,000
9542Civil engineering
96432Electrical, plumbing, and other construction installation activities
97433Building completion and finishing
98431Demolition and site preparation
99439Other specialized construction activities
1007730009Construction and Building or Demolition Machines and Equipment Renting
101851Pre-primary and primary educationAs per the applicable regulations
  1. Public education excluded.
  2. To obtain the approval from the entities in charge of education to license such activities and to comply with such standards and controls as may be determined by them.
  3. To comply with the conditions and standards of school facilities and to ensure a high level of education quality
102852Secondary education
103853Higher education
104854Other education
105370SewerageAs per the applicable regulationsAs per the applicable regulations in this regard
106382Waste treatment and disposal
1073900001Pollution Consequences Treatment and Environment Protection
108861Hospital activities100
  1. Subject to the approval of the relevant authorities in light of the economic need taking into account the number of hospitals, medical and health centers in a specific area.
  2. Dubai Healthcare City is excluded from the above condition.
109869Other human health activities70As per the applicable regulations
1108211001Hotel ManagementAs per the applicable regulations
1118211004Restaurants Management
11290009Creative activities and presentation of art drama (theater)Permissible only for theater activities and live bands


As per the applicable regulations

1139000104Music Band
1158130002landscape and gardening services
1169103-91030Botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserves activitiesPermissible only for public garden services and specialized garden services.
1175012-50120Sea and coastal freight water transportAs per the applicable regulations
1185022001Internal Water Transportation of Goods
1197730016Commercial Ships Rental
1205222002Ship Piloting and Towing
1215222007Marine towing of boats and jet sk
122NewActivities of holding companies in intellectual property

The move aims to enhance UAE’s status as an expat-friendly nation along with boosting the economy of the country. It will open up numerous investment opportunities for foreign investors and also, they need not seek the support of a local sponsor, to start their business on UAE mainland.

If you are planning to incorporate your firm on UAE mainland, free zones or offshore, contact Jumeria Consultants. Our consultants will ease the entire process for you; be it selecting the right jurisdiction, contacting government authorities or taking care of the required documentation. We promise quick and hassle-free company incorporation in UAE.


With a decade of experience in our kitty, we ensure that our clients receive excellent services in company formation. Jumeira Consultants has been recognized as one of Sharjah’s best business consulting firms. We support our clients to the core thus maintaining the relationship for a long period. We provide services in acquiring tax residence certificates and trade licenses in addition to company consulting and setup.

From navigating the intricacies of legal requirements and documentation to providing strategic advice on optimal business structures, Jumeira Consultants is dedicated to ensuring a seamless and efficient business setup experience.

For any related assistance or queries, contact us at +971 52 809 8408 or email for the expert advice!


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