On 30 October 2018, the UAE government issued UAE Federal Law No. 19 of 2018 on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI Law).

Cabinet Resolution No. 16 of 2020 clarifies that companies that operate under all economic sectors that appear on the “positive list” across three broad sectors—agriculture (19 activities), manufacturing (51 activities), and services (52 activities)—are eligible for full 100% foreign ownership in mainland UAE.

Foreign Investor means a natural person who has not the UAE nationality and invests in the UAE.

Foreign Investor shall invest in UAE in any of the following legal forms:

  • A limited liability companies, including one person (single owner) companies.
  • Private joint stock companies, including one person (single owner) companies.

Activities Eligible for Foreign Direct Investment:

Agricultural Sector

  1. Seeds Cultivation (Wheat, Corn, Barley, etc.)
  2. Growing of leguminous crops
  3. Growing of vegetables and melons, roots and tubers
  4. Growing of sugar cane
  5. Growing of other non-perennial crops
  6. Flowers and buds Cultivation
  7. Growing of grapes
  8. Fruits and Citrus Cultivation
  9. Growing of pome fruits and stone fruits
  10. Growing of other tree and bush fruits and nuts
  11. Growing of oleaginous fruits
  12. Growing of beverage crops
  13. Growing of aromatic, drug and pharmaceutical crops
  14. Support activities for crop production
  15. Support activities for animal production
  16. Post-harvest crop activities
  17. Seed processing for propagation
  18. Silviculture and other forestry activities
  19. Support services to forestry

Manufacturing Sector

1.  Manufacture of food products (except):

  • Manufacture of bakery products
  • Manufacture of dairy products 
  • Manufacture of prepared animal feeds

2.  Manufacture of beverages (except):

  • Distilling, rectifying and blending of Spirits
  • Manufacture of wines
  • Manufacture of malt liquors

3.  Manufacture of wearing apparel (except):

  • Tailoring and Sewing of Wearing Apparel
  • Military Garments Manufacturing

 4.  Manufacture of leather and related Products

 5.  Manufacture of wood and of products of wood and cork, except furniture; manufacture of articles of straw and plaiting materials

 6.   Straight or Complex Fertilizers Manufacturing

 7.   Manufacture of plastics and synthetic rubber in primary forms

 8.   Manufacture of pesticides and other agrochemical products

 9.   Manufacture of paints, varnishes and similar coatings, printing ink and mastics

10.  Manufacture of soap and detergents, cleaning and polishing preparations, perfumes and toilet preparations

11.  Glues and Prepared Adhesives Manufacturing

12.  Manufacture of dyestuffs and pigments

13.  Textiles and Leather Finishing Used Chemical Materials Manufacturing

14.  Manufacture of photographic plates, films.

15.  Gelatine and Its Derivatives Manufacturing.

16.   Essential Oils Manufacturing (Essence)

17.  Extracted Natural Aromatic Products Manufacturing

18.   Aromatic Distilled Waters Manufacturing

 19.  Matches Manufacturing

 20.  Welding Powders and Pastes Manufacturing

 21.  Manufacture of man-made fibers

 22.  Manufacture of pharmaceuticals, medicinal chemical and botanical products

 23.  Manufacture of rubber and plastics products

24.  Manufacture of other nonmetallic mineral products

25.  Manufacture of basic metals (except

  • Manufacture of basic precious and other non-ferrous metals
  • Casting of non-ferrous metals

26.  Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and Equipment

27.  Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products

28.  Manufacture of electrical equipment

29.  Manufacture of machinery and equipment except: Tobacco Processing Machinery Manufacturing

30.  Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers

31.  Building of Commercial Vessels

32.  Ships and Floating Structures Sections Manufacturing

33.  Construction of Drilling Platforms, Floating or Submersible

34.  Construction of Floating Structures

35.  Building of Hovercraft

36.  Building of pleasure and sporting boats

37.  Manufacture of railway locomotives and rolling stock

38.  Manufacture of air and spacecraft and related machinery except: Military Ballistic and Guided Missiles Manufacturing

39.  Manufacture of transport equipment.

40.  Manufacture of furniture

41.  Manufacture of musical instruments

42.  Manufacture of sports goods

43.  Manufacture of games and toys

44.  Manufacture of medical and dental instruments and supplies

45.  Other manufacturing n.e.c.

46.  Repair and maintenance of trains engines

47.  Repair and maintenance of ship engines

48.  Repair and maintenance of ships

49.  Repair and maintenance of trains and railway equipment

50.  Maintenance and Repair of Aircraft engines

51.  Maintenance and Repair of Aircrafts

Services Sector

1.   Legal consultancy offices

2.   Accounting, bookkeeping and auditing activities; tax consultancy

3.   Architectural and engineering activities and related technical consultancy

4.   Medical and dental practice activities

5.   Veterinary activities

6.   Computer programming, consultancy and related activities

7.   Scientific research and development

8.  Renting and leasing of other machinery, equipment and tangible goods

9.  Retail l sale in non specialized stores (except cooperative societies)

10.  Advertising

11.  Market research and opinion polling

12.  Management consultancy activities

13.  Technical testing and analysis

14.  Repair of fabricated metal products, machinery and equipment (except ships, aircrafts and bother transport equipment)

15.  General cleaning of buildings

16.  Photography activities

17.  Packaging activities

18.  Organization of conventions and trade shows

19.  Specialized design activities

20.  Legal Translation Services

21.  Translation services, movies and television programs

22.  Publications Translation Services

23.  Simultaneous translation services

24.  Construction of buildings

25.  Civil engineering

26.  Electrical, plumbing and other construction installation activities

27.  Building completion and finishing

28.  Demolition and site preparation

29.  Other specialized construction activities

30.  Construction and Building or Demolition Machines and Equipment Renting

31.  Pre-primary and primary education

32. Secondary education

33. Higher education

34. Other education

35. Sewerage

36. Waste treatment and disposal

37. Pollution Treatment and Environment Protection

38. Hospital activities

39. Other human health activities

40. Hotel Management

41. Restaurant management

42. Creative activities and presentation of arts drama (theater)

43. Music Band

44. Circus

45. Landscape and gardening services

46. Botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserves activities

47. Sea and coastal freight water transport

48. Internal Water Transportation of Goods

49. Commercial Ships Rental

50. Ship Piloting and Towing

51. Marine towing of boats and jet sky

52. Activities of holding companies in intellectual property

Activities Not Eligible for Foreign Direct Investment:

1. Exploration and production of petroleum materials.

2. Investigations, security, military sectors, manufacturing of arms, explosives and military equipment, devices and clothing.

3. Banking and financing activities, payment systems and dealing with cash.

4. Insurance Services.

5. Hajj pilgrimage and Umrah services and other activities mentioned in article 7 of the FDI law.