Set in the heart of Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Free Zone is an ideal location for investors to set up a company in the financial sector, especially private banking, wealth management and asset management. The Abu Dhabi free zone provides an efficient and robust business environment for the firms operating in the financial service industry. Commenced in the year 2015, ADGM has made substantial progress in collaborating with the bigwigs, both domestically and internationally. They have collaborated with prominent authorities like the Economic Department in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s Central Bank, Insurance Authority, Abu Dhabi Municipality and the Financial Service Commission in Jersey.

The Abu Dhabi Global Market has 3 independent authorities providing a holistic environment by allowing companies to operate from the center. They are:

Registration Authorities

If an individual wants to establish a business in ADGM free zone, Registration Authorities are the first point of contact for the same. They support and guide you through the whole process of company formation, registration and licensing.

Financial Service Regulatory Authority (FSRA)

The main objective of FSRA is to establish a robust and well-regulated financial market with the high level of regulatory transparency and engagement.

ADGM Courts

They have a fully independent common law framework to adjudicate civil and commercial disputes.

Benefits of Setting Up a Business in ADGM Free Zone

Just like any other free zone in the UAE, ADGM also had its own advantages for setting up a business:

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 0% tax for 50 years
  • Zero restrictions on the repatriation of capital and profits
  • Common law jurisdiction
  • Simple and convenient business procedures
  • Availability of dedicated skilled professionals
  • No requirement to have corporate documents attested and legalized (in most cases)
  • No physical office space required in ADGM. As a registered agent, the Sovereign will provide registered addresses for special purpose vehicles (SPVs)
  • No restrictions on nationality for the purposes of share ownership

Types of Entities in ADGM Free Zone

There are mainly 4 types of entities investors can set up in ADGM free zone:

  • Company Limited by Shares
  • Branch of a Foreign Company
  • Company Limited by Guarantee
  • Partnership Firm

How to Set Up a Business in ADGM Free Zone?

For companies looking to set up a business in Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone, there are many options available. One can open a business limited by shares where the presence of at least 2 directors is mandatory, or you can open a branch of the company already established in the UAE or any foreign land. Now, coming to setting a business in Abu Dhabi’s financial market, each business is required to fill out the application forms online through ADGM online registry solutions. A paper based application is also acceptable, however extra fees are charged for the same. ADGM free zone has a business friendly 4-step registration process as follows:

Procedure to Set Up a Business in ADGM Free Zone

Business Development

A special business development team to discuss the requirements of your business is provided, after which you can complete the business application form through online registry solutions and submitting it after filling the same.

Registration and Incorporation

After you get an approval from the authorities for the business application, proceed to complete the online registration/incorporation form. You are also required to submit all the documents mentioned in the form.

Commercial License

Once you get the approval for the filled registration form, a commercial license will be issued within a few days. If all the documents are provided correctly then it will not require more than a week for the approval.

Government Services

Apply for a FAWRI account and Establishment Card. They are mainly required in order to apply for ADGM issued visas.

FAWRI Account: Every company needs to be registered in the Fawri’s system so that it can proceed with the visa processing.

Establishment Card: An Establishment Card is needed for all services related to the visas and is mandatory for all new companies in ADGM.

Documents Required to Set Up a Business in ADGM Free Zone

  • Copy of passport, visa page or immigration entry stamp and Emirates ID of director(s), secretary and shareholder(s)
  • Application form for reservation of the proposed name of the company
  • Copy of business plan
  • Statement of capital and initial shareholding, for companies limited by shares
  • Statement of guarantee, for companies limited by guarantee
  • Statement of proposed officers of the entity
  • Trade name reservation document
  • A statement with the intended address of the proposed company
  • Copy of Articles of Association (AOA) and resolution of the board of directors
  • A copy of lease agreement for the office space
  • Confirmation of restricted scope of the company
  • Duly filled and signed data protection form
  • Duly filled and signed beneficiary or ultimate owner form
  • Any other documents that may be required by the authorities, based on the scope of activities that the company would be undertaking

The cost of company formation in Abu Dhabi Global Market free zone is mentioned below:

Registration Service Cost in US Dollars
Business Application 375
Application for Reserving Company Name 250
Application for Registering the Company 1,875
Issuance of Commercial License 5,000
Business Activity Fee 4000-9000
Data Protection 375

Why Set Up a Business in ADGM Free Zone?

If the aforementioned benefits are not enough, there are many more reasons why you must set up your business in Abu Dhabi free zone. ADGM’s legal and operational platform is ideal for a wide range of professional and business services, not just financial services. They not only provide a hassle-free business platform for clients to operate from but also support the member institutions, providing them with the ideal regulatory framework, legal jurisdiction and appealing business environment they need to prosper. Apart from this, a few other reasons are:

  • Independent judicial system based on English Common Law
  • Modern infrastructure and global connectivity
  • Migration or continuity of existing corporate entities permitted
  • No liquidator required for wind-down process

The environment in ADGM free zone is business friendly, a lot of opportunities for start-ups are available and the business setup process is simplified. However, the specifics of this process largely depend on the type of license you are applying for. That’s why, before starting any of these steps, the first port of call should always be a company setup expert who can guide you through every part of the application, ultimately ensuring the entire process requires little more than a few hours of your time. If you are looking for a consultant for company formation in ADGM free zone, we at Commitbiz we offer not only the answer to your question of ‘how to start a business in Sharjah?’ but to also make it happen. Our staff will study your requirements and cater to your needs. Even more, we provide services that can assist you in having your business grow further. Contact us today, even it’s for a friendly advice.