A Comprehensive Guide on Registering your business in Abu Dhabi Mainland

by Zaara 02, Jul 2020

Over the past few years Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, has transformed itself into one of the fastest-growing economies worldwide. With strong support from the government, the city’s advancement and growth have made it an ideal location for business. Establishing a business in Abu Dhabi can be an excellent decision for any commercial entity. The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) aims to achieve a balanced and sustainable knowledge-based economy. Its mission isn’t just to enable sustainable economic development, but also to encourage competitiveness and ensure the welfare of the community.

Benefits of Business Set Up in Abu Dhabi Mainland

  • Zero foreign exchange controls, trade barriers, and quotas
  • Complete foreign ownership and exemption from corporate and personal income tax
  • Abu Dhabi is strategically located at the crossroads of the world, such as Asia, Africa, and Europe. Hence, it offers convenient access to and from the rest of the globe.
  • Experience upscale living standards with world-class amenities and facilities in transportation, healthcare, recreation, entertainment, residences, and education
  • Abundant and less expensive energy supply

Types of Business Licenses Available in Abu Dhabi

  • Commercial License – For activities like hospitals and clinics, business contractors, constructions, real estate, and public trading companies
  • Professional License – It is for individuals with specials skills and crafts like smothery, carpentry, steelwork, and much more.
  • Industrial License – This is for companies who wish to set up manufacturing operations in Abu Dhabi mainland.
  • Occupational License – This includes business activities like a law firm, research, and development, accounting and bookkeeping, etc.
  • Tourism License - This license is granted to companies offering tourism-related services like hotels, travel agencies, boat rentals, etc.

How to Start a Business in Abu Dhabi Mainland?

The ADDED is the regulatory authority that looks after the business registration and licensing activities in mainland Abu Dhabi. The steps to set up a business in mainland Abu Dhabi are –

  1. Choosing a Business Activity - The first step you need to do is gain an understanding of your preferred business activity as the legal processes and fees may vary depending on the nature of your company
  2. Get a Local Sponsor - Following the jurisdiction of the UAE, foreign companies must have a local sponsor who will own the maximum (51%) of shares in the business
  3. Choose a Corporate Structure for your Business - Keep in mind that rules and regulations change for different types of ownership and business establishments. Therefore, selecting a type of legal entity to run your business under is important
  4. Register your Trade Name - A trade name sets your business apart from the competition and represents its legal form and nature
  5. Get Initial Approval - Before obtaining the initial approval, get an approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Abu Dhabi (GDRFA). With a certificate of initial approval, you will be able to continue with the business licensing procedures that allow foreign nationals to operate their preferred business activity in the Emirate.
  6. Get the Chamber of Commerce Membership – The companies in Abu Dhabi must obtain membership from the Chamber of Commerce as a prerequisite to obtaining the business license in Abu Dhabi.
  7. Get the MOA/Agreement Notarized – Get the Memorandum, or Agreement of Association well-drafted and notarized
  8. Obtain the License from ADDED – Pay the required fees and obtain the license from DED Abu Dhabi to officially start your business.
  9. Get Additional Approvals – There are a few business activities that need additional approvals from different government departments in Abu Dhabi. This step is for the completion of those approvals.

How can we help you?

We at Commitbiz can help you establish your business in Abu Dhabi is a hassle-free manner. Our experts are well-versed with the legal guidelines of registering a business in the UAE and can provide you a cost-effective method. Get in touch with us today – we’d be glad to help you.