UAE: Can expatriates own land in Dubai?

Reader asks: What are the laws I need to know before investing in a property?


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 4 Sep 2022, 10:18 AM

Last updated: Sun 4 Sep 2022, 10:32 PM

Question: I am looking to make some investments in Dubai. Are expatriates or foreigners allowed to own land in Dubai? Could you explain the laws surrounding land ownership for expats?

Response: Pursuant to your queries, as you intend to invest in Dubai by purchasing plots, the provisions of Law No. 7 of 2006 Concerning Real Property Registration in the Emirate of Dubai (the ‘Dubai Real Property Registration Law’) and those of Regulation No. 3 of 2006 Determining Areas for Ownership by Non-UAE nationals of Real Property in the Emirate of Dubai and its subsequent amendments (Dubai Law related to Areas for Ownership of Real Property by Non-UAE Nationals’) are applicable.

It is pertinent to note that an expatriate who is not a UAE national or the national of any one of the Gulf Cooperation Council nations may own plots or properties in certain areas as determined by the High Highness the Ruler of Dubai. This is in accordance with Article 4 of the Dubai Real Property Registration Law, which states: “The right to own Real Property in the Emirate shall be restricted to UAE nationals, nationals of the Gulf Cooperation Council States, companies fully owned by these nationals, and public joint stock companies. Subject to the approval of the Ruler, non-UAE nationals may be granted the following rights in the relevant areas determined by the Ruler:

a. Freehold ownership of Real Property, without time restrictions; and

b. Usufruct or lease rights in Real Property for up to 99 years.”

Further, Dubai Law related to Areas for Ownership of Real Property by Non-UAE Nationals has been issued by His Highness the Ruler of Dubai, from time to time, identifying and demarcating specific areas in the Emirate of Dubai, where non-UAE nationals shall have (i) freehold ownership of real property; and (ii) usufruct rights (right to build) or lease rights in real property for 99 years.

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, as an expatriate you are entitled to own plots/properties in specified areas of Dubai.

For more clarifications related to the purchase of plots or properties in the Dubai, you may approach the Dubai Land Department.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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