Conditions For Ownership in UAE For Foreigners

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Conditions For Ownership in UAE For Foreigners

What are the conditions for ownership in the UAE for foreigners? Are there challenges?

Conditions For Ownership in UAE For Foreigners
05th May 2024
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In light of the rapid urban development that the United Arab Emirates is witnessing, and the attraction of entrepreneurs and investors, they stopped limiting themselves to renting a property, so they begin searching instead for suitable properties to purchase, whether to settle in or invest in the short and long term, taking advantage of the market movement is very active in this modern and developing country.

What are the conditions for ownership in the UAE for foreigners? Are there challenges?

conditions for ownership in the UAE for foreigners

What is the law of ownership for foreigners in the UAE?

Foreigners in the Emirates can freely own real estate in specific areas determined by each emirate, which are allocated to non-Emirati residents, who must familiarize themselves with the laws in the emirate in which they intend to own property, as legislative regulations may differ between the emirates.

General conditions include obtaining a permit from local authorities and obeying some financial and legal conditions that this article explains.

The controls for purchasing real estate are based on the law of expatriate ownership of real estate in the Emirates. There are certain rights for foreigners in this regard, including the possibility of using the property or renting it for a period of 99 years, exclusively within the areas required by the Land Department in the emirate in which one wants to buy, in addition to the fact that the country’s government does not specify a certain age for ownership, which means that a large margin is available for those wishing to invest in this way.

Here are the most important conditions for purchasing a property in the Emirates for expatriate foreigners:

freehold areas in uae

Freehold Areas in UAE

Freehold in Dubai

Foreigners in Dubai have the right to buy apartments, provided that they are located in the free ownership areas specified in this emirate, the most important of which are Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, The Springs, Dubai Marina, Emirates Hills, Palm Jumeirah, The Lakes, International City, and others. It is one of the areas with high-quality residential projects, which is considered one of the most important freehold areas in the Emirates.

Freehold in Abu Dhabi

The foreign ownership law in Abu Dhabi specifies certain purchasing systems, the first of which is the ownership system that allows expatriates to purchase apartments and own them for 99 years, independently of the land on which the apartment stands. The second system is the Musataha system, which allows ownership of the apartment for fifty years, renewable with the consent of the seller and buyer, while the third system, the usufruct system, allows the purchase of the apartment for 99 years, provided that the specifications are not changed in any way.

The most important freehold areas for foreigners in Abu Dhabi are Yas Island, Saih Al Sedira, Al Reef, Lulu, Saadiyat Island, Al Raha Beach, Masdar City, and other places of utmost distinction and luxury.

Freehold In Sharjah

The Emirate of Sharjah requires foreigners to obtain a freehold license, and provides the right to use the apartment for a period of 100 years from the date of signing the contract. As for the freehold areas in Sharjah for foreigners, they are Tilal City, Aljada, and Al Mamsha.

Freehold In Ajman

  The new law issued in 2022 allows non-Emirati citizens to own residential or commercial real estate in this emirate, which represented a qualitative shift in the real estate trade there, as foreigners were previously only allowed to rent apartments. One of the most important conditions for foreigners to own property in Ajman is that the foreigner must be at least 21 years old and must submit documents proving his ability to pay mortgage payments, noting that foreigners are not entitled to own agricultural or industrial lands in the Emirate of Ajman. The most important freehold areas here are the cities of Manama and Masfoot.

Freehold In Ras Al Khaimah

The foreign ownership law in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah requires the presence of a reliable agent who is present step by step when purchasing the property. It also requires that the property be located in the freehold areas specified in the emirate if the buyer is a foreigner and even a non-resident of the UAE and lives abroad, as he can buy the property in this case or rent it for short or long term for investment purpose. The most important freehold areas in Ras Al Khaimah are Mina Al Arab, Al Hamra Village, and Al Marjan Island.

Freehold In Umm Al Quwain

The law in this emirate dictates that foreign people and companies have the right to own apartments without the land on which they are built, in investment areas, with all rights over them and the usufruct and musataha of real estate being arranged by a long-term usufruct contract of up to 99 years, or by a long-term musataha contract of up to 50 years, subject to renewal by agreement of both parties for a similar period. Umm Al Quwain has freehold areas for foreigners, the most prominent is Umm Al Quwain Marina.

All of the emirates mentioned previously are among the emirates available for free ownership, while the Emirate of Fujairah is the only one whose laws do not yet allow foreigners to own real estate there.

buy apartment in uae

Steps to buy apartments in the UAE for foreigners

The electronic transactions system in the UAE facilitates the procedures for purchasing and owning real estate for foreigners. Here are the most important steps:

  • Choose one of the freehold areas in the emirate where you wish to own property. You can seek guidance from real estate experts to choose an apartment that suits your savings, as there are luxurious areas and others with average prices. There is a wide range of options.
  • Select the properties you want. Some of them are ready with the key, others are off the plan or under construction. The situation will differ, especially in the method of payment, as you will have to pay the price of the completed apartment in one payment, while you can negotiate with the real estate development company responsible for the apartment on the plan or under construction. Some companies allow 50% of the property price to be paid in advance, and 50% when purchasing an apartment off-plan or under construction.
  • Know in advance the fees for maintenance and services in the area in which you wish to purchase, as the Land Department in a number of emirates imposes fees for maintenance and services available in the area of the property, so you must inquire about them in advance before purchasing the property.
  • Do not forget to ask your real estate broker to accompany you at all stages. Make sure to choose an experienced broker who will guide you to the best options that suit your preferences, your work, your children’s schools, and other comfort factors.
  • Determine the payment method that suits you in advance, such as direct payment or applying for a mortgage with terms that suit your circumstances. Know that you must submit the application 3 months before purchasing the property because of the time the transaction takes.
  • Bring a no-objection certificate from the real estate developer you chose, which is a certificate confirming that you meet the conditions required of you as a foreigner who wants to own property.
  • Register your property with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority within the required emirate.

freehold dubai

What are the categories that are entitled to own real estate in the UAE?

Property laws in the United Arab Emirates stipulate that the right to own real estate is limited to these categories:

  • Citizens and equivalent ordinary and legal persons.
  • Public joint-stock companies in which the percentage of foreign shareholders does not exceed 49%.
  • Anyone whom decision is issued by the Crown Prince or the Chairman of the Executive Council.

The law also stipulates those non-citizens, whether natural or legal persons, have the right to own all original and accessory property rights to real estate located within investment areas, and the right to conduct any disposition of these properties.

buy property in uae

Benefits of owning a property in the United Arab Emirates

The seven emirates are distinguished by attractive factors that encourage real estate investment, especially the emirates that are most active in the field of business. Among the most important benefits for foreigners if they own a property are:

  • The possibility of continuous development. The rapid pace of urban development in the Emirates makes the possibility of buying and selling more attractive, as an apartment can be sold amidst a wave of increasing demand at a price that enables you to buy another apartment with better specifications and a higher price.
  • High return on investment, by purchasing an apartment and investing it at excellent rental or resale prices, especially in very lively areas that your real estate broker can guide you to, such as Jumeirah Village Circle and Downtown in Dubai.
  • Diversity of real estate options in a way that helps save money. In the UAE, there are many opportunities to purchase an under-construction property at lower prices compared to ready-made properties, in addition to the availability of payment plans and offers for investors to facilitate investment in purchasing an under-construction property.
  • Availability of stability and safety, in accordance with international standards, which consider the UAE to be one of the safest countries, especially thanks to smart police stations that quickly deal with various incidents.
  • Benefit from the excellent infrastructure in the seven emirates, which makes your property safe against potential disasters, and places you in the middle of the various excellent service facilities that the government and real estate development companies are keen to provide and build near, including the effective transportation network, and the map of hospitals and health centers distributed equally among the various sectors. Regions.
  • The possibility of obtaining UAE citizenship simply by purchasing a property, provided that it is within the price range determined by the emirate.
  • Purchasing a property in the UAE also allows you to apply for golden residency. It is a program that provides permanent residency to distinguished investors and professionals and their families. The program allows them to benefit from many advantages such as access to health, education and investment services, in addition to benefiting from the advanced business environment and excellent investment climate.
  • Some emirates, such as Ajman, allow foreigners to benefit from low-cost health and educational care, and also allow them to obtain government jobs in the emirate.
  • The wonderful experience of exposure to different cultures and nationalities in the United Arab Emirates, which are experiences that will leave you in a constant state of curiosity, knowledge, and developing awareness, as if you had travelled to several countries in a short period.
  • Ensuring that you are always close to the institutions and companies that the Emirates abounds with, which means huge prospects for change and continuous career development, which results in increased opportunities to launch your own project. At all times, you will be close to institutions that support innovation and successful models in various sectors.

Are there disadvantages to owning a property in the UAE for foreigners?

After knowing about the important advantages that you will gain as a foreigner from owning a property in the Emirates, it is necessary to know some important things in advance, the most prominent are:

  • Side costs that will result from the process of purchasing the property, as investors will find themselves obligated to pay the fees imposed by the Land Department in the relevant emirate, and these fees amount to 4% of the value of the property. In addition, they will inform you of the title deed issuance fees, management fees, and mortgage fees for those wishing to obtain a home loan, all of which must be paid before completing the property purchase transaction.
  • The generally high cost of life in the United Arab Emirates, as some of the cities of this country are classified among the most expensive regions in the world, especially the Emirate of Dubai. You must be sure of your ability to adapt your income to the various requirements of life there, such as transportation, education, hospitalization, buying groceries, and others.
  • You may find some restrictions on travel if you are a foreigner who does not hold Emirati citizenship or golden residency in the Emirates, as residency visa laws will not allow you to leave the country for more than 6 months.
  • Some of the Emirates enjoy an extremely open cultural atmosphere, and while many find this wonderful, others may not like it, even if it fulfils all the conditions for ownership in the Emirates for foreigners, which requires them to be more prepared to face and absorb open life, as long as they choose to reside in it. Or they can basically choose other, less crowded emirates.
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