United Arab Emirates: Expatriates soon allowed to own property in Sharjah 

Expat news
  • Sharjah, UAE
Published on 2022-11-07 at 14:00 by Asaël Häzaq
The emirate of Sharjah has just enacted a law that modifies the conditions of access to real estate ownership for expatriates. What do these changes consist of, and what impact will they have on foreign residents? What objectives does the emirate aim to achieve? Does this mean a new opportunity for expatriates?

The new Sharjah home ownership law for expatriates

The law on the registration of property in the emirate of Sharjah is getting a makeover. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah and member of the Supreme Council, is now allowing expatriates to buy property as an exception, within a well-defined framework. The law states that only citizens of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and nationals of one of the member countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG) can buy property. The measure also extends, as an exception and under certain conditions, to expatriates.

Foreigners in the UAE will now be able to access property in the emirate of Sharjah, subject to 4 following specific conditions:

  • To have obtained the agreement of the ruler of Sharjah.
  • To benefit from a transfer by inheritance and to be able to prove it in writing.
  • To benefit from a transfer by the owner to one of his first-degree relatives, and according to the terms of the law.
  • To look for a property located in a real estate development area, in accordance with the regulations of the Supreme Council.

The new law also applies to legal entities that already own real estate in Sharjah. To be able to access property in the emirate, they will have to inform the Real Estate Registry of any change in their legal form, business name, transfer of ownership, and so on. Furthermore, they should ensure that they only add partners or transfer ownership to partners who have the right to own property in the Emirate of Sharjah.

The Emirate's ambitions with home ownership law 

Located, like Dubai, in the Persian Gulf, Sharjah is traditionally considered the cultural pillar of the UAE. It is a major feature on which the government is capitalizing to attract foreigners. The emirate is also an industrial pillar, with the industrial sector representing 25% of its GDP. Amidst the raging energy crisis, the discovery of large gas deposits in March 2020 has brought the emirate closer to energy self-sufficiency. This is a godsend for the government, which, unlike other UAE member states, had limited hydrocarbon reserves. The emirate not only sees this as a way to meet the growing energy demand of the population but also as a growth booster with industrial expansion as the main objective. More energy means more foreign companies and more investors, and in that sense, the new property law is designed to further attract wealthy foreigners, boost investment in Sharjah, and revitalize the country, especially the real estate development zones.

In October 2021, Sharjah Asset Management, a state-owned investment agency, launched the Al Saja'a Industrial Village. The aim was to create an economic hub and attract start-ups, businesses, and industrialists, particularly in logistics, oil and gas, transport, and new technologies. To achieve such, Sharjah can also rely on its infrastructural assets, namely 3 seaports and an international airport, and on the emirate's wealth. In 2021 and despite the pandemic, the emirate recorded a growth of +4.8%. This is one of the many good indicators that Sharjah puts forward to promote its economy. With this new law on homeownership for expatriates, the emirate hopes to win points in its race with Dubai. Sharjah has its sights set on the world and aims to become the new regional business and investment powerhouse.