How to Set up Business in Abu Dhabi: – Abu Dhabi is the capital city of UAE. It is also the largest emirate in the UAE. It is also the second most populous emirate in the whole of UAE after Dubai. Not only that, it is also responsible for around 10% of the world’s total oil production. Since 2009 the city of Abu Dhabi has been heavily expanding its economy apart from oil exports. Abu Dhabi is also considered to be safe and prosperous for any new business set up. The city of Abu Dhabi has been majorly investing in industries like real estate, industrial development, retail and tourism.
Abu Dhabi, being the administrative capital of the UAE, is one of the most sought after places in the world for all kinds of business setup. Abu Dhabi is also said to be one of the fastest-growing and wealthy markets in the world. For any business person who wishes to set up a business in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi is the most viable location. The business procedures and corporate norms are also very conducive for any new business set up in Abu Dhabi. That is why it is comparatively easier to set up business in Abu Dhabi than in other countries. It takes only a few days to set up a new business in Abu Dhabi if all the guidelines are followed properly. Some of the key guidelines to be followed while setting up a business in Abu Dhabi are listed below.
- Abu Dhabi Mainland Business Set-Up:
Being the capital of UAE and the second largest emirate after Dubai, Abu Dhabi is considered to be the most sought after locations for any new business set up. There have many regions in Abu Dhabi that has been divided into zones. These zones are commercialized geographical areas that fall under the UAE government and its authorities. They have policies and legal guidelines that make the city one of the most economically developed regions in the UAE. Besides that, it also considered one of the safest and wealthiest regions of UAE. Due to its rapid economic development, many international organizations have already set up companies over here. Some of the crucial requirements of setting up business in mainland Abu Dhabi are:
- Business Trade License is required.
- A Local Service Agent of UAE nationality has to be appointed. This is mandatory.
- Leasing Agreement has to be shown.
- Approval from concerned authorities like Ministry Of Labour, Department Of Economic Development and Ministry Of Interior has to be taken.
- Memorandum of Association (MOA) for Abu Dhabi Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) has to be shown.
- Bank account from a nationalised UAE bank is a must.
- A visa for foreign shareholders, directors and management personnel has to be obtained.
- Business Set up In off Shore Abu Dhabi:
If someone wants to enjoy fewer regulations on their businesses; then offshore business set up in Abu Dhabi is the most viable option for them. Companies can also legitimately set up businesses in offshore Abu Dhabi to avoid heavy taxes. Abu Dhabi offshore companies are non-resident companies. This means that its shareholders don’t have a physical office. It also means that its shareholders also don’t get a visa. Furthermore, the offshore business setups in Abu Dhabi are also not issued with an operating license. That is they can only get an official Certificate of Incorporation. It is because of this reason that these companies cannot conduct manufacturing, trading or any kind of business within the Emirates.
- Abu Dhabi Free Zone Business Set-Up:
One of the most sought after zones in Abu Dhabi is the Free Zone. This is the most ideal places for any new business set up in Abu Dhabi. Free Zones are one of those zones which have an independent jurisdiction with its administration. In Free Zones, there is no requirement to appoint a Local Service Agent of UAE nationality for a branch or as a partner. One of the major advantages of setting up business in Free Zone (More useful resources: Business setup in UAE free zone) is that foreign businessmen are 100% owners of their businesses. Another important advantage in operating out of Free Zone is that it provides a perfect gateway for smooth registration of companies in the Emirates. Some of the licenses issued in Free Zones in Abu Dhabi are:
- Commercial Trading
- Branch of a Foreign Company.
- What are the Advantages of Setting up a Business in Abu Dhabi:
Some of the important advantages of setting up a business in Abu Dhabi are listed below:
- Abu Dhabi occupies a strategic location in the UAE gulf region. Due to its location, it is far better connected with Europe, Asia & Africa and thus has better access.
- Abu Dhabi provides 100% foreign ownership of companies.
- It also provides exemption from corporate and personal income tax.
- There are no foreign exchange controls, quotas or trade barriers in Abu Dhabi.
- The living standards are of very high standards; especially in healthcare, residence, education, recreation and transport.
- Abundant and inexpensive supply of energy
- Competitive real estate costs.
- Easy to open global corporate bank accounts
- Competitive freight charges
- Process of Company Formation in Abu Dhabi:
Abu Dhabi has become one of the most sought after locations for any new business set up by businessmen all across the world. This is because of its transparent and flexible business set up procedures. Some of the important steps for formation of a company in Abu Dhabi are listed below:
- Determine the Type of Business Activity: It is important to know the type of business activity that one has to follow before initiating the legal procedures involved along with it. As different types of business activities have different kinds of procedures attached to it.
- Finding a Local Sponsor: As per UAE jurisdiction, foreign companies must have a local sponsor of UAE nationality to open a business in Abu Dhabi. This local sponsor can be instrumental in facilitating in the acquiring of licenses or permits from the government authorities.
- Determine the Legal Form of Business: It is one of the most important steps in the formation of a company in Abu Dhabi. As rules and regulations vary for different ownership types and business establishments. Therefore the selection of a legal entity is very important for any new business set up.
- Registration of Trade Name: This is also a very important step in setting up a business in Abu Dhabi. A Trade name helps distinguish a company and describe its legal and natural form. List of Trade Names can be obtained from the Department of Economic Development.
- Licensing Requirements: The various types of licenses issued by Abu Dhabi licensing authority are: Agricultural License, Commercial License, Industrial License, Professional License, Tourism License and Vocational License.
- Various Government Departments and Authorities for Approvals and Permits:
Any application to set up any kind of new business in Abu Dhabi requires permissions and approvals from various governmental departments and authorities. Some government departments and authorities are listed below:
- Abu Dhabi Customs Authority
- Abu Dhabi Distribution Company
- Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC)
- Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority
- Central Bank
- Medical Council
- Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Health
- Ministry of Civil Aviation
- Ministry of Economy
- Supreme Petroleum Council
- Telecommunication Regulatory Authority
- Obtaining Initial Approval:
Before setting up a business, approval is required from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) for any foreign businessman. An initial approval certificate is also expected to continue with business licensing formalities. This approval allows foreign nationals to practise their desired business activity in Abu Dhabi.
- What are the Documents required to start a Business in Abu Dhabi:
Some of the important documents that are required for a business set up in Abu Dhabi are:
- Approved Trade Name
- Approval from the Department of Naturalization and Residence in the case of international investors.
- Copies of valid passport
- Copy of Emirate Id, if applicable
- No Objection Certificate
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
- Employee Contracts and Offer Letters
- Trademark Registration Certificate
- Establishment Cards
- What are the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs?):
Some of the most frequently asked questions are listed below:
- How to start a small business in Abu Dhabi
- How to apply for a freelance visa in Abu Dhabi
- What are the documents required to obtain a freelance visa in Abu Dhabi
- What is the cost of setting up a business in Abu Dhabi?
- What is minimum capital required for registering a company in Abu Dhabi
- How to obtain a Trade Licence in Abu Dhabi
- What are the various kinds of business licenses available in Abu Dhabi
- What are the various types of business entities available in Abu Dhabi?