There are often times individuals wish to invest in the property market in Dubai but face obstacles with flexibility in ownership of the property or registering it in their own names.

It is important to recognise that owning properties through a company is a good option to manage property portfolios or allocate ownership in the same. 

Offshore companies incorporated in the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) are permitted by the DLD to own property in Designated Areas in Dubai. As such, offshore companies set up in other jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands are currently not allowed to directly own property in Dubai. 

It is possible to transfer property ownership from an individual to a JAFZA offshore company or vice-versa, provided there is no change in the ultimate beneficial ownership of the property. For properties with a title deed, this can be carried out as a “gift” transfer. The property owner(s), however, must be the same as the shareholder(s) of the company with the same percentage of shares/ownership. Further, approval in the form of a no-objection certificate must be obtained from the DLD.

In the interest of further flexibility with the division of ownership in a property, it is possible for another foreign company to own the particular JAFZA offshore company holding the property. This is often the case where a trust, BVI or Cayman Islands company holds the shares of the JAFZA company.

There are numerous advantages to using an offshore company to manage your properties in Dubai. The whole process can be completed quite quickly and at a relatively low cost. It is important to note that although a JAFZA offshore company can open bank accounts, it would not be entitled to carry out any trade activity in, or obtain a residence visa for, Dubai.

For further information on company set ups and transferring properties in Dubai to a corporate vehicle, please contact Rhea Bindra or Kate Williams at +971 4 343 8897 or who would be delighted to assist you.


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