Free Zones in Abu Dhabi

by Zaara 27, Jan 2021

Free Zones in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the United Arab Emirates provincial capital and the fastest growing of the seven emirates, taking up over 80 percent of the nation’s total land. There are many free zones in Abu Dhabi that offer an attractive business set-up ecosystem in the Emirates, and provide a platform for foreign companies to exploit their full potential.

Abu Dhabi’s free zones are part of the Emirate’s strategy for economic diversification to improve the local economy and attract foreign investment. A business structure in free zones mainly comprises media and light businesses, distribution firms, and medium & heavy industries. There are many benefits and facilities shareholders obtain through the establishment of a company in Abu Dhabi free zones, which is the primary driving force behind the establishment of a company in Abu Dhabi.

List of Free Zones in Abu Dhabi

Most of the UAE Emirates has developed free zones to enhance the region's economy, encourage foreign investment, and stimulate growth. Free Zone Authority is the government agency regulating and grants business licenses in the UAE free zone to non-resident businesses. There are eight free zones in the Abu Dhabi:

  1. Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)
  2. Twofour54
  3. Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) Free Zone
  4. Abu Dhabi Global Markets Free Zone (ADGMFZ)
  5. Industrial City of Abu Dhabi
  6. Higher Corporations for Specialized Economic Zone (ZoneCorp)
  7. Masdar City Free Zone
  8. Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)

Types of Government Entities in Abu Dhabi Free Zone

In any of the following processes, a business or specific entity may register their company in Abu Dhabi free zone:

Free Zone Corporation with Limited Liability

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a distant government entity, with individual shareholders, organizational shareholders, or both. The essential requirement for capital depends on the size of the company operation.

Branch of a Global Business

Except for foreign firms allowed to operate from a free zone in the UAE, a foreign corporation may carry on its main operation or business in the UAE or set up an office or branch after a license is approved by the Ministry of Economy and Trade.

Branch of a UAE Business

A business founded in the UAE may also open a branch in free zones in continental or offshore areas.

Freelance Permission

A freelance license is given to freelancers, which recognizes one as a sole practitioner and allows him/her to operate a business under his / her birth name as opposed to a brand.

How to Establish Up Your Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zones?

The government supports free zones for company formation in Abu Dhabi to encourage foreign investment, so the business setup process is simple, straightforward, less time-consuming, and free of administrative barriers.

Free zones are classified as independent jurisdictions that act as the main-window administration and enable an expatriate business person to wholly own a business (100 percent shares), without the partnership with a UAE national. Abu Dhabi Free Zone Authority (FZA) is an autonomous government agency issuing free zone operating licenses, managing the non-resident company’s registration, and offering business assistance in developing their company.

The process of establishing a free zone business in Abu Dhabi isn't complex and challenging at all. It includes:

1. Determining the Form of Commercial Activity

Since each economic activity has its laws and regulations, you are expected to decide the operation you will perform, and then continue with it.

2. Register the Business Entity

Once you have completed the first step, the next one is to enroll your company's business entity. You can give the Abu Dhabi Free Zone Authority a list of your recommended names. If the name is not already enrolled in the UAE by the existing company, it will be authorized and duly registered by authorities.

3. Obtaining Authorization from the Authority for the Free Zone

Once initial authorization for your trade name has been obtained, and all conditions have been met, an applicant may seek approval for issuing the business license.

4. Obtain the License

Once the authorization of the authorities responsible has been obtained, the investor may proceed to the stage of fulfillment by the free zone authority of the legal obligations for the granting of business licenses.

Documents Required to Establish Up a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone

  • Business Application Form
  • Copies of shareholders' passports
  • Passport-sized images with a white backdrop
  • 2-3 Names proposed for the new firm
  • Requirements of the company’s activity
  • Numbers of visas needed
  • 2 x Address Proofs (issued within three months)
  • Bank or technical letter of reference
  • Attached resume (professional experience summary) for a freelance license.

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

Why Establish Up a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone?

Free trade zones offer businesses several opportunities to set up a company. One can also start a company with flexible-facility in any free-trade region. Therefore it is often easier to establish a business in a free zone. Various free zones can vary in price. Except these, there are certain other benefits for starting a company in Abu Dhabi free zones:

  • Global ownership at 100 percent
  • Profits and capital repatriation complete
  • Tax relief on personal or corporate income
  • Exemption from customs taxes on imports and exports for products and services
  • Pre-built sophisticated infrastructure
  • Business cluster environment where businesses falling under related sectors share a work campus. Which promotes friendly interaction and successful cooperation
  • A business environment with a simplified enterprise incorporation process
  • Enterprise friendly legal framework and corporate law
  • Substantial immigration and easy accessibility to the skilled professional
  • A one-window process for a wide variety of government services including visa paperwork, traffic, residential licenses, insurance, and postal services

With the international trade liberalization trend, Abu Dhabi Free Zone Authority is eager to leverage numerous challenges and opportunities, offering incredible support to firms developed within its free zones. Company development in Abu Dhabi free zones requires thorough business planning and decision-making to ensure that suitable infrastructure is selected and all required formalities are taken care. One should be aware of all legal processes, criteria for licensing and registration, potential types of ownership, funding sources and have every document in order along with the required amount of capital to be invested in the bank as per the specified free zone.

Commitbiz has a qualified team of professionals with thorough knowledge of all company-building laws and regulations in Abu Dhabi free zones. It can easily support you with Abu Dhabi’s business creation in the commercial region and ensure massive tax savings. By taking care of the essential requirements regarding visa, banking, licensing, registration, residential, and recruitment, we help you establish your company in the relevant free zone.

We understand the visions of your business growing in the Emirates and are striving to fulfill those with full pleasure. Contact us in Abu Dhabi free zone for company incorporation, and our consulting firms will assist you as quickly as possible.