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Can a foreigner buy property in Dubai?

Can a foreigner buy property in Dubai?

Buying a property in Dubai is easier than you think as a foreigner. As long as you invest in a freehold area, that is.

Words by Ankita Bhowmick in The Guides · May 1st, 2018

Till the year 2002, there was no provision in Dubai that would allow the expats, who constitute 70% of the country's population, to own properties and therefore a large number of them who were residents of Dubai would have no option but to choose other countries for investment opportunities. 

However, things started changing slowly when in 2001, when the government of Dubai introduced provisions, according to which expats could enjoy 99-year lease of properties in around designated areas of the city. In 2002, when the government issued the Freehold Decree, which allowed foreign nationals, who are minimum 21 years of age, to buy, sell, lease and rent properties in specially designated areas around the city. 

Following the decree, Dubai witnessed a lot of international investments and thus became not just a Middle Eastern hotspot but also the entire globe. 

The process of buying a property in is Dubai known for being simple and hassle-free and are quite profitable for expats. One does not require to seek special permission to own a property and is specially chosen by a large number of expats as a profitable mode of investment. 

Let us have a look at the primary aspects that a foreigner needs to take into consideration while deciding to buy a property in Dubai. 

Type Of Property

Before buying a property, it is important that a buyer determines that the property he intends to buy is a villa, a townhouse or an apartment. Based on their choice, they will have to make a search in the respective community that features the type of property they are looking for. 

Most of the freehold properties in Dubai are located in gated communities that offer a number of amenities and leisure facilities. Some of the upscale and most luxurious communities of Dubai where foreigners can own properties are Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills, Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, amongst others. 


To find out information regarding available properties around the city, an online search works best.  The different options that the market generally has on offer include brand new properties, pre-owned properties and off planned ones. 

A buyer can choose to get in touch with a reputed real estate agent who lists their properties on the internet. Getting assistance from an agent helps in completion of the entire buying process in a seamless manner as they have in-depth knowledge of the property market  


The process to buy a property in Dubai is quite simple and therefore, only a valid passport of the buyer in order to determine his identity is all that he has to present. He does not necessarily need to have a residency permit in order to attain the eligibility. 

In case a buyer needs to stay in the country to complete the buying process, he can opt for a six-month visa called the Property Holders Visa, which has been introduced by the government of UAE especially for property buyers. In order to qualify for the visa, the property being bought should be of a minimum value of 1 million dirhams.