Abu Dhabi Free Zones

Abu Dhabi is the federal capital of the United Arab Emirates and the largest of the seven emirates, occupying more than 80% of the country’s total land. The idea of the Abu Dhabi business setup leads you to think about where to start the business, in the mainland or in the freezone.

Abu Dhabi offers you a few freezones with its own advantages and features. Continue reading this write-up to learn more about Abu Dhabi freezones. Let’s start with the difference between the mainland and freezone for your better understanding.

Difference between the Abu Dhabi Freezone and the Mainland




Foreign Ownership

51% UAE national ownership required

100% foreign ownership allowed

Applicable Regulation

Department of Economic Development (DED) or equivalent

Free zone authority

Permitted Area for Doing Business

Cannot conduct business anywhere

Abu Dhabi freezone license allows you to conduct business only in that particular Freezone

Note: A new development has brought the concept of ‘dual licensing’. With dual licenses, the activities registered in freezone can also do business on the mainland.

List of Abu Dhabi Freezones

Here is the list of Abu Dhabi Freezones:

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

ADGM is a mini country in Abu Dhabi for business. This freezone operates under clear English laws that also provide a reliable guidebook where investors and entrepreneurs can predict everything related to their business beforehand. 

If you are someone who is looking for a trustrworthy place, go for it; this can be your best option.

Permitted activities

Here are the permitted activities in this jurisdiction are: 

  • Financial - Banks, Financial advisors, investment advisors, fintech, etc.
  • Non-Financial  - Munufatuing, construction, hotels, real estate, accounting and legal, consulting, marketing,  social work and educational activities.
  • Retail - Jewellery, food products and beverages.

Permitted entities

Here are the permitted entities in ADGM:

  • Limited liability companies and some special-purpose vehicles.
  • Foundation companies.
  • Private companies limited by guarantee.
  • Public shareholding companies.
  • Branch companies
  • Limited liability partnership companies.
  • Cell companies.
  • Investment companies.

Masdar City Free Zone (Masdar City)

Masdar City was founded in 2006 and aims to establish global leaders in renewable and sustainable energy.

Permitted activity in Masdar City

Here are the permitted activities in Masdar City Abu Dhabi freezone:

  • Renewable energy.
  • Sustainable energy
  • Cleantech and ICT.
  • Oil and gas services.
  • Marketing.
  • Event management.
  • Human resources.
  • Healthcare sector.
  • Educational and medical sector.
  • /trading company.
  • Holding company.

Permitted entities

The permitted entities in Masdar City freezone are:

  • Limited liability companies
  • Branch companies
  • Associations like non-profit organisations can also get licenses here.

Khalifa Industrial Freezone in Abu dhabi (KIZAD)

KIZAD - Khalifa industrial freezone is the first integrated trade, logistics and industrial freezone:

Permitted activities in KIZAD

  • Manufacturing, processing and Assembling activities.
  • Import, export, distribution, and stocking activities.
  • Management and economic consulting services.
  • Marketing services.
  • Logistics support.
  • Catering services.
  • Travel agencies.

Permitted entities

The following are the legal entities you can choose in the KIZAD Abudhabi freezone

  • Limited Liability Companies.
  • Branch Companies.


Twofour54 is a freezone that aims at opening a gateway for creative and media clusters in Abu Dhabi. 

Permitted activities 

Here are the activities that can be chosen in Abu Dhabi freezone Twofour54:

  • Animation 
  • Advertising
  • Content creating
  • Gaming
  • Publishing
  • Graphic designing
  • Promotional activities
  • Branding
  • Content management, and monitoring services.
  • Broadcasting

Permitted entities

Following are the legal entities you can choose in twofour54 Abudhabi freezone

  • Limited liability companies. 
  • Branch companies.

Documents Required for Abu Dhabi Business Setup - Freezone

Below is the list of documents required for Abu Dhabi business setup:

  • Company Application Form
  • Passport copies of the shareholders
  • Passport-size photographs with white background
  • 2-3 suggested names for the new company
  • Specifications of the business activity
  • Number of visas required
  • 2 x Proofs of Address (dated within three months)
  • Bank or Professional Reference Letter
  • Curriculum Vitae (summary of professional history) for freelance license

There are some free zones where you will also need a copy of the proper business plan.

How to do Abu dhabi Business Setup?

Setting up a business in the Abu Dhabi free zone is not at all complicated. It includes:

  • Determining the Type of Business Activity

Since each business activity has its rules and regulations, you are required to determine the activity you will conduct, and then go forward with it.

  • Registering the Trade Name

After you are through with the first step, the next step is to register your company's trade name. You can give the list of your suggested names to the Abu Dhabi Free Zone Authority. 

If the existing company does not already register the name in the UAE, it shall be approved by the authorities and duly registered.

  • Obtaining Approvals from the Free Zone Authority

After getting initial approval for your trade name and fulfilling all the requirements, an investor must obtain approval for the issuance of the business license.

  • Issuance of License

Once the approval of the concerned authorities is obtained, the investor may proceed to the stage of fulfilling the legal requirements of receiving an Abu Dhabi free zone license from the free zone authority.

Abu Dhabi License Cost

Abu Dhabi license cost depends on the jurisdiction you choose. Almost every freezone offers you affordable prices comparatively. Contact our experts to get a clear knowledge of prices.

Choose us for your Abu Dhabi Company Formation

Commitbiz has a specialised team of professionals with extensive knowledge of all company formation rules and regulations in Abu Dhabi free zones and can help you with company formation.

We understand your company formation dreams in the Emirates and strive to fulfil those with complete enthusiasm.


What is the cost of business setup in Abu Dhabi free zones?

The cost of the Abu Dhabi free zone license depends on the free zone chosen to set up a business and the business license acquired.

What are the types of legal entities allowed in the Abu Dhabi free zone?

You can register it in the following ways

  • Free Zone Limited Liability Company
  • Branch of a Foreign Company
  • Branch of a UAE Company
  • Freelance License

Is a business plan required to incorporate a company in the free zone of Abu Dhabi?

Yes, in certain free zones.

What are the types of legal entities allowed in the Abu Dhabi free zone?

You can register it in the following ways

  • Free Zone Limited Liability Company
  • Branch of a Foreign Company
  • Branch of a UAE Company
  • Freelance License

What is the Abi Dhabi freezone license cost?

The cost of the Abu Dhabi free zone license depends on the free zone chosen to set up a business and the business license acquired.