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Property Acquisition by Foreign Individuals
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Regulations Governing Property Acquisition by Foreign Individuals in the UAE

Holo Blog

The real estate market in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is booming. Compared to other countries in the region, the UAE has stringent and transparent regulations governing property ownership. Whether you're seeking lucrative rental yields, lifestyle investments, or healthy capital gains, the UAE real estate market offers a wealth of opportunities for property investments whether you are an expat resident in Dubai, or considering buying property as an overseas investor.

For those interested in real estate as expats or overseas investors, it's crucial to understand that the rules for property ownership differ. You should be aware of the restrictions faced by non-UAE residents when acquiring a mortgage in UAE to purchase property and understand the concept of freehold property in Dubai, along with the conditions for buying real estate as an expat. Before you decide to invest in a villa, apartment, or any other type of property in the UAE, it's essential to consider these property ownership rules for foreigners.

Rules for Foreigners Buying Property in the UAE

For a considerable period, expatriates were not allowed to own property in the UAE. The city of Dubai was the pioneer in changing this policy, followed by the capital city of Abu Dhabi and other emirates like Ajman, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah. Today, foreigners are permitted to own properties in Dubai and other emirates, offering numerous benefits for foreign investors.

It's important to note that expats can own property in either freehold or leasehold categories. An overview of freehold versus leasehold property ownership and the property ownership rules for foreigners in different emirates can provide a better understanding of your options.

Freehold Versus Leasehold Property Ownership for Expats

  1. Leasehold Property Ownership - Purchasing a leasehold property means owning it for 99 years or less, depending on the terms stipulated in the leasehold contract. This type of ownership grants buyers rights to the property but not the land it is built on.
  2. Freehold Property Ownership - Expats are permitted to buy freehold property in the UAE, which includes ownership of both the unit and the land it stands on. However, foreign nationals can only purchase freehold real estate in designated areas.

Property ownership rules for foreigners vary from one emirate to another, so it's essential to be aware of the specific laws governing property acquisition in each region.

Rules for Foreigners Buying Property in Dubai

Dubai permits foreign property ownership in designated freehold areas. Expats and foreign buyers, not residing in the UAE, can acquire freehold ownership rights without leasehold rights, usufruct rights, or restrictions for up to 99 years. Key points to remember include the issuance of title deeds by the Dubai Land Department, no age limit for property ownership, and the availability of various freehold areas in Dubai.

Taxation Rules

While the UAE is known for its expat-friendly taxation system that does not impose taxes on property ownership, expatriates must consider potential tax liabilities in their home countries, especially on earnings such as rental income, interest on savings, and dividend payments. Consultation with tax professionals in your home country is advisable before making property investments in the UAE.


Do I Get a Residence Visa After Buying a Property in the UAE?

Since May 2019, foreign real estate investors purchasing property in the UAE may be eligible for a long-term residency visa. Check out our blog on this topic.

Can Expats Get a Mortgage Loan to Purchase a Property in the UAE?

That's what Holo does! Our digital mortgage services and applications are designed to find you the best deal on the best mortgage products from across the UAE's banks.

Our online mortgage calculator in UAE will help you ascertain how much you could be eligible to borrow. Expats will need a downpayment of 20% of the property value if it's under AED 5,000,000, and 30% if it's over AED 5,000,000.

When you work with Holo to apply for a home loan, you'll be allocated your mortgage advisor. Our mortgage specialists are on hand to help you understand all your mortgage essentials. Best of all, we don't charge you like other mortgage brokers saving you, AED 5,000!

Ready to explore our mortgage services for expats or overseas buyers? Let's head to

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