Question: A friend back in my home country is keen on investing in an apartment in Dubai. Can he buy property in Dubai, even though he does not have residency in the UAE? Will he need to be physically present to complete the transaction or can he appoint me to oversee the process?
Response: Pursuant to your queries, the provisions of the Law No. 7 of 2006 concerning Real Property Registration in the Emirate of Dubai (the ‘Dubai Property Registration Law’) hold relevance.
A non-UAE national may purchase a freehold or leasehold property in Dubai subject to the provisions of the Dubai Property Registration Law. Article 4 thereof reads as follows:
“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 nations, 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 ninety-nine (99) years.”
Following the provisions of Article 4 as mentioned above, Resolutions have 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 may have (i) freehold ownership of real property; and (ii) usufruct rights (right to build) or lease rights in real property for 99 years.
A non-UAE national also need not be a resident of the UAE to invest in and/or hold title on real property/ies in such freehold/ leasehold areas.
Therefore, your friend who is neither a UAE national nor a resident may purchase a freehold or leasehold apartment. Also, he need not travel to the UAE to complete the purchase and registration related transactions. Instead, he may appoint you to act on his behalf by issuing a power of attorney (PoA).
Your friend may engage a law firm in Dubai to draft the PoA and thereafter approach a notary public in his country for its due execution and attestation. Thereafter, the notarised PoA needs to be either apostilled or attested by his country’s foreign ministry and then by the UAE Embassy/Consulate in his country. Upon completion of these procedures, your friend may then send you the original PoA.
Once received, you must get it attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation in the UAE. If the PoA is not in Arabic, it must be legally translated by an approved legal translator and stamped by him/her. Thereupon, the legal translation of the PoA must be attested by the Ministry of Justice, UAE, by applying through its web portal.
Upon completion of all these formalities, you may use the PoA to purchase and complete a transaction to purchase a property on behalf of your friend.