7 Step Guide of Starting a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zones

by Zaara 06, Mar 2020

7 Step Guide of Starting a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zones

Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest Emirate of the UAE in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and per capita income. More than $1 trillion is invested globally in this city alone. The Emirate houses principal offices of the federal government and is the seat for the government of the UAE and the home for the Abu Dhabi Emiri Family and the President of the UAE from this family. Abu Dhabi has developed to be a cosmopolitan metropolis. Its rapid growth and urbanisation, together with the relatively high average income of its citizens, has changed Abu Dhabi to a more significant and progressive metropolis. Today the city is the UAE’s centre of industrial, political activities and dominant culture, and retail centre because of its position as the capital.

Abu Dhabi has one of the most steady and fastest-growing markets in the Middle-East, which is ideal to launch a prosperous business, as the processes are highly flexible and transparent. Before setting up a business in Abu Dhabi, you must decide the jurisdiction where you want to launch your business.

Free Zones in the UAE are much preferred by foreign investors and expatriate business people. Each free zone in Abu Dhabi is dedicated to industry and help the investors in incorporating a dream venture there.

How to Register a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone?

Here are the steps needed to form a company in any of the Abu Dhabi free zones.

1.Determine the Business Activity

Before initiating the business setup procedures for issuing the business license, it is essential to determine the activities of the intended business as the legal requirements and fees vary according to the nature of the company. The businessperson can visit the concerned department to enquire about the activities available for licensing. Apart from this, they can use the convenient electronic services such as the Economic Consultation provided by the Chamber of Commerce of Abu Dhabi.

2.Determine the Legal Form of Business

There are many types of legal entities and structures that are suitable to the needs and nature of your industry. Different rules and guidelines apply to each corporate entity and ownership type which are –

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Partnership Company
  • Limited Partnership Company
  • Private Shareholding Company
  • Public Shareholding Company
  • Establishment
  • Branch

3.Register a Trade Name

After selecting a business activity and corporate entity, the next step is to register a trading name. It distinguishes the business from others and conforms to the nature of the activity, and legal form should be selected.

4.Obtain an Initial Approval

Once you obtain the trade name certificate, the entrepreneur can start the procedure for issuing the initial approval. It is a certificate that enables an investor to proceed with the formalities to grant a business license and to approach the relevant department for getting their approval for practising the necessary business activity. For foreign investors, getting the approval of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) is compulsory.

5.Obtain Additional Approval from Concerned Authorities

If your business activity is such that you need to take additional approvals from other authorities, then under this step you need to complete that procedure. For example – if you need to set up a transport company, later Department of Transport must be cited to get the approval.

6.Issuing Business License

After receiving the approval of the government authorities, if any, the investor can visit the Department of Economic Development (DED) and fulfil all legal requirements and pay fees for issuing the business license. The licenses granted by various licensing authorities in Abu Dhabi include Commercial License, Agricultural License, Vocational License, Professional License, Industrial License and Tourism License.

7.Get the Chamber Membership

Law No. (7) of 1998 requires that all nationals and foreigners, engaged in any industrial, commercial, professional or vocational activity within Emirate of Abu Dhabi, whether they are individuals, businesses or branches, should join Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and get its membership as a prerequisite to acquiring a business license.

Benefits of Incorporating a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • Full repatriation of profits and capital
  • Exemption from import and export taxes
  • Exemption from personal income tax, and corporation taxes
  • Enabling the acquisition of permits and licenses required
  • Access to suitable workforce accommodation

We at Commitbiz can assist you to start a business in the free zones of Abu Dhabi. Our services include business incorporation, business license, accounting and bookkeeping, corporate secretarial services and many more. Contact us today for more information.