Business setup in the Abu Dhabi: A Comprehensive Guide

Business setup in the Abu Dhabi

Somewhere in the Middle East in the Persian Gulf, lies a T-shaped island that is home to 1.5million people. The island is called Abu Dhabi which is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is the second most populous city in the UAE. Abu Dhabi is also the capital of Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is one of the seven emirates of the UAE.

Abu Dhabi is home to Abu Dhabi Emiri family and the president of the UAE who comes from the same family. There are large numbers of federal offices located in this city and it is the country’s center of political and industrial activities. Today this city has grown into a megacity and boasts of rapid urbanization which has made Abu Dhabi as major commercial and cultural center. Roughly, Abu Dhabi accounts for 2/3rds of the UAE economy.

Needless to say, business setup in Abu Dhabi is a viable option for business owners in the world over. It is due to a simple fact, to run a thriving business; you need to operate in thriving economy. Abu Dhabi offers flexible business setup opportunities to entrepreneurs who are eying a fertile economy to set base.

Before we get into details of procedures to be followed, it will be good idea to have a look into the types of companies that you can open in Abu Dhabi.

There are two categories of business setup in Abu Dhabi

  1. Abu Dhabi free zone
  2. Mainland companies

Based on business operations, business owners can choose which category they wish to work into.

Type of company formation in Abu Dhabi

  1. Limited liability company(LLC)
  2. Branch of local (UAE) company
  3. Branch of Foreign company
  4. Free zone
  5. Public joint stock company
  6. Establishment
  7. Private stock company

Each type of company has its own benefits and modus operandi. You can get in touch with business consultants in Abu Dhabi-Commitbiz to identify which kind of company formation suits you the best.

For ease and simplification, the Abu Dhabi business setup procedure is classified into 4 main steps.

  1. Determining the nature of the business
  2. Registration of company trade name
  3. Seeking appropriate approvals from authorizing authorities.
  4. Licensing procedures.
  1. Determining nature of business
    As a prospective business owner, you must be aware of the kind of business activity you would be indulging in. It is important to factor in local drivers like economy, culture and resources before finalization of a business trade. In addition to that you must ascertain the type of company formation in Abu Dhabi that you would form eg. Limited Liability Company, public joint stock company etc.

This is important because different business trades fall under administration of different authorities.

Here are some examples

  • For construction, real estate, clinics, transportation etc, you must go for commercial license which is provided by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED
  • For hotels, travel agency, tourist camp, boat rentals, you must apply for tourism license which is granted by Abu Dhabi culture authority (TCA)
  • For practice of any profession that involves intellectual abilities like writer, lawyer, consultant, you must apply for occupational license, which is granted by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED)
  • For agricultural farms, processor of animal and marine products, you must apply for agriculture license, also granted by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED)
  • For factories of all manufacturing units, you must apply for industrial license, which is granted by Zonescorp
  1. Registration of company trade name
    Choosing an appropriate trade is important, as it not only gives an identity to your business, but it also gives glimpse into the type of business activity. Like every country, there are certain guidelines that DED has provided that you must keep in mind while choosing trade name.

Here are a few

  • The name must be coherent with the type of legal activity and business trade
  • The name should not be in violation of public law and order
  • It should not have been previously registered under same activity of similar activity
  • It must not be misleading to the consumer
  • It should contain any mention of religion, denomination or governing authority, names of logos of any Arab, international body.

Additional trade name related information can be obtained from trade name registrations service

  1. Seeking appropriate approvals from authorizing authorities

Here comes the important part, once you are ready with your business idea, business type and trade name and licensing requirements, you must apply for approvals with respective authorities.

Business owners must apply for preliminary approvals from Department of Economic Development, after obtaining the trade name registration certificate. This preliminary approval comes in handy when you proceed with other approvals as it speeds up the process.

One important fact that you must be aware of is that this preliminary approval is valid only for a period of 3 months, post which you must obtain a new certificate.

Documents required for preliminary approval for Abu Dhabi Business setup

  • Approved trade name
  • For foreign investors: Approval from department of naturalization and residence
    valid passport copies
  • Copy of emirates ID, if applicable
  • No objection certificate
  1. Licensing approvals
    Upon submission of all documents, the license must be collected from the concerned authority. In additional of DED, there may be special approvals required from government bodies like
  • Abu Dhabi customs duty
  • Abu Dhabi Distribution Company
  • Ministry of civil aviation
  • Telecommunication regulatory authority
  • Supreme petroleum council.
  • Abu Dhabi education council
  • Medical council
  • Central bank

 

All in all, Business setup in Abu Dhabi involves interaction with many authorities and the licensing & registration procedures can become tedious for you. That’s where business management consultants Commitbiz come in.  We have in-depth local knowledge and business expertise to guide to smoothly to your business goal in Abu Dhabi. We take care of the formalities, while you focus on converting your business idea into a profitable business.

Write you us at info@commitbiz.com