Facts About Abu Dhabi Mainland Company Formation

Facts About Abu Dhabi Mainland Company Formation

As one of the fastest growing and most attractive business hubs in the world, Abu Dhabi offers a wealth of opportunities that will enable you to reach your financial targets this year and beyond. Statistically, it accounts for 95% of the UAE’s total oil reserve and provides varied investment opportunities to all economic industries. Hence, it offers a great opportunity for success and growth to those who dream big.

Abu Dhabi Mainland Company Formation

Perks of Abu Dhabi Mainland Company Formation

  • Zero foreign exchange controls, trade barriers, and quotas
  • Full foreign ownership and exemption from personal and corporate 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, recreation, residences, healthcare, entertainment, and education

Steps on Setting Up a Company in Abu Dhabi

To get started with your venture, here are the procedures in establishing a company in Abu Dhabi mainland.

1. Choose a Type of Business Activity

Prior to initiating the steps, the first thing you need to do is gain an understanding of your preferred business activity as the legal procedures and fees may vary depending on the nature of your company.

2. Search for a Local Sponsor

In accordance with the jurisdiction of the UAE, foreign companies must have a local sponsor who will handle the required licenses for the branch office without bearing liability to losses or capital contribution.

3. Decide on the Legal Form of Your Business

Keep in mind that policies and regulations vary for different types of ownership and business establishments. Hence, selecting a type of legal entity to run your business under is necessary.

4. Trade Name Registration

A trade name sets your business apart from the competition and represents its legal form and nature.

5. Obtain Licensing Requirements

Among the different licenses issued by the Abu Dhabi licensing authority are the following:

  • Industrial license
  • Professional license
  • Agricultural license
  • Commercial license
  • Tourism license
  • Vocational license

6. Get Initial Approval

Prior to obtaining the initial approval, approval from General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Abu Dhabi (GDRFA) is mandatory. With an initial approval certificate, you will be able to continue with the business licensing formalities that allow foreign nationals to conduct their preferred business activity in the emirate.

7. Cost of Starting Up a Business in Abu Dhabi Mainland

Keep in mind that the cost of a mainland company formation will greatly vary based on the activity, structure, premises, and the number of visas. However, there are certain fees you need to be aware of.

  • One-time legal fees
  • Annual sponsor fees
  • Annual commercial premises
  • One-time incorporation fees for the arrangement of inspections and approvals as well as submission of documents
  • Visa per person which typically lasts for 2 years
  • New company registration with Immigration and Ministry of Labour (one-off, with establishment card renewal for every three years)
  • A mix of one-time and yearly fees for notary, trade license, typing centers, legal translations, and government department registrations

These are just some of the things you need to know about setting up a company in Abu Dhabi mainland. To experience ease and convenience with the entire process, seek help from an established and reputable business consultant.



A Guide to Hassle-free business setup in Abu Dhabi

A Guide to Hassle-free business setup in Abu Dhabi

business set up in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is known for having a steady economy that is conducive for a variety of businesses. The possibilities for growth in this capital are endless, as it has strong domestic and international ventures that are backed by strong support by the government, world-class infrastructures, and a positive fiscal outlook. If you’ve been thinking about setting up your business in Abu Dhabi, you have come to the right place. Here are some easy tips and steps to get you started:


1. Determining your type of business and activities

The first and most important step is to get your initial approval and licenses in order. But before you can do that, you need to specify the type of economic activity or activities you wish to undertake, because fees, requirements, and conditions differ per type of activity. You may refer to the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi’s “International Standard Industrial Classification” of all economic activities (ISIC4) issued by the United Nations.


2. Find an Emirati partner if you’re a foreign business owner

A sole proprietorship can only be done by locals, so most businesses work with local partners/ investors and arrange necessary agreements on liability and their extent of involvement in the company. Most common business entities apply as Limited Liability Company or LLC.


3. Register the trade name and obtain the initial approval

According to the nature of your business, you will need to determine the legal form that applies to it. The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development’s business center has e-services that can help you with this (check out the website: https://ded.abudhabi.ae). Aside from the type of business, the location is also considered as to what type of documents or certifications that will be required.


4. Registration of Trade Name

After the first two steps, a trade name must be chosen for the facility to distinguish it from other businesses, and it must appropriately suit the nature of the activity and its legal form.


5. Obtain the Initial Approval

The Initial approval is a certificate allows you to proceed ahead with the rest of the official procedures to start your business. After this step, you need to get the approval of concerned authorities depending on the nature of the business. There are different requirements for very specialized sectors such as health, electronics, transport, etc. and there are different licenses for each.

6. The Documents required to issue the initial approval

  • Obtaining the approved trade name.
  • Obtaining the approval of the Department of Naturalization and Residence for foreign investors.
  • Copies of valid passports.
  • Copies of valid Emirates ID.
  • Payment of prescribed fees
  • Collecting the Initial approval certificate.


7. Types of Licenses

The DED specifies types of licenses as follows:


Commercial License – Issued to owners of companies or establishments for practicing business activities. (e.h. general trading, construction, real estate, transportation, clinics, hospitals, etc.)

Agricultural License – Issued to the owners of agricultural farms, animal production or sea products.

Professional License – Issued to artisans who personally practice a profession or craft for his own account, relying on his physical effort, or aided by some tools and equipment. (e.g. carpentry,  typing, steel works… etc.)

Occupational License – Issued to professionals who rely on their abilities, mental and intellectual capabilities, talents and scientific capacities. (e.g. consulting offices, law firms, the audit office


8. Get an address/ office lease

You need to arrange for an office lease and get the necessary documentation or contract of tenancy for it.


9. Register the Company with Labor and Immigration

This is necessary for your hiring process. Once you are able to accomplish the requirements from the government entities, you may apply for employment visas. Access the e-services of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, as these will help you navigate the type of license, registration, and further information you may need:



Guidelines in Starting Up a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone

Guidelines in Starting Up a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone

Abu Dhabi Free Zone

The largest of all the seven emirates in the UAE occupying over 80% of the country’s land area, Abu Dhabi boasts a number of free zones that provide a great environment for the business startup to both locals and expatriates. These free zones are part of the capital’s initiative for economic diversification to bolster the local economy and foster overseas investment. If you are setting your sights in any of the Abu Dhabi free zones for your enterprise, there are essential things you need to be aware of.

1. What are the Free Zones in Abu Dhabi?

The following are the free zones that you can select from for your business setup in Abu Dhabi.

  • Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)
  • Masdar City Free Zone
  • Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp)
  • Industrial City of Abu Dhabi
  • Abu Dhabi Global Markets Free Zone (ADGMFZ)
  • Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) Free Zone
  • Twofour54
  • Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)

2. Reasons to Opt for Abu Dhabi Free Zone When Setting Up Your Business

  • The great thing about the business set up in Abu Dhabi Free Zone is that it offers several benefits. These include the following:
  • Full foreign ownership
  • Tax exemption on corporate or personal income
  • Full repatriation of capital and profits
  • Exemption from both export and import customs duty for services and goods
  • A business-friendly environment with the streamlined procedure of company incorporation
  • quick immigration process
  • Business-friendly company regulations and legal framework
  • Pre-built state-of-the-art infrastructure

3. Ways to Register Your Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone

After choosing an Abu Dhabi free zone to set up your business in, the next thing you need to think about is your preferred type of legal entity. Here they are:

  • Branch of an Overseas Company – With the exclusion of overseas companies licensed to operate from a free zone in the UAE, an overseas firm may still conduct its activities in the country or set up a branch or office after the issuance of a license by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.
  • Free Zone Limited Liability Company – This is an independent legal entity with corporate shareholder/s, individual shareholder/s, or a combination of both. In addition, the minimum capital requirement is determined by the type of business activity.
  • Freelance License – If you are a freelancer, you will be granted with a freelance permit which recognizes you as a single practitioner and enables you to do business in your birth name.
  • UAE Company Branch – A firm that is established in the UAE can also inaugurate a branch in offshore, mainland, or free zones.

4. Requirements in Establishing a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone

  • Company Application Form
  • Shareholders’ passport size pictures with white background
  • Shareholders’ passport copies
  • 2 to 3 suggested names for the business
  • Specifications of the company activity
  • Number of visas needed
  • 2 proofs of address which are dated within 3 months
  • CV for freelance license
  • Professional or bank reference letter

Planning to take your earning potential to the next level this 2019? Venture into a business setup in Abu Dhabi to experience the wonderful benefits it has in store for you!


5 Steps for a Successful Business Setup in Abu Dhabi

5 Steps for a Successful Business Setup in Abu Dhabi

business setup in abu dhabi

As the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is the hub of the country’s industrial, commercial and political activities. Its swift urbanization and development through the years combined with the high average income of its population also paved the way for it to become a highly advanced metropolis. No wonder, it is an ideal location to set up a business.

The following are the five steps for successful business setup in Abu Dhabi.

1. Decide on Your Economic Activity

Just like any other business setups, company formation in Abu Dhabi requires careful thought and planning. The first step is to specify the type of business activity you will conduct. Given that certain activities come with special specifications and conditions, the fees and requirements may vary based on the nature and type of activity.

In accordance with the international goal to standardize economic activities in the region, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development has embraced the “International Standard Industrial Classification” of all economic activities (ISIC4) issued by the United Nations (UN). Through the years, it has become a crucial tool in comparing statistical data on economic activities at a global scale.

2. Decide on the Legal Form

When it comes to business setup in Abu Dhabi, there is a wide array of legal forms that correspond to the needs of business activities in the emirate. These include the following:

  • Civil Company
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Representative Offices
  • Branches
  • Public Share Holding Company
  • Private Share Holding Company

3. Trade Name Registration

Once you have determined the activity and legal form for your company formation in Abu Dhabi, proceed to choose a trade name. Keep in mind that this must suit the nature of the business activity and its legal form.

4. The Initial Approval Will Be Issued

Business setup in Abu Dhabi requires an initial approval, a certificate that gives the investor the green light to proceed ahead with the processes for acquiring the business license. It also serves as a ticket to obtain the necessary approvals of pertinent authorities in order to conduct economic activities.

The following are the steps to obtain the initial approval:

  • Get the approved trade name
  • Get the approval of the Department of Naturalization and Residence for foreign investors
  • Present copies of your valid passports
  • Present copies of valid Emirates ID
  • Pay the prescribed fees
  • Get the initial approval certificate

5. Getting Approvals of Concerned Entities and Authorities

Venturing into a business setup in Abu Dhabi is quick and easy. Thanks to some governmental entities and departments that enable you to follow up your application online via electronic services. These include the following:

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Abu Dhabi Center for Technical and Vocational Education and Training
  • Abu Dhabi Environment Health and Safety Center
  • General Directorate of Civil Defense
  • Waste Management Center
  • Abu Dhabi Chamber
  • Department of Transport
  • Supreme Petroleum Council

There you have it! By simply following these steps and providing the required documents and fees, you can ensure a glitch-free process when it comes to business setup in Abu Dhabi.


ADGM – Abu Dhabi Global Market is Open for Business

ADGM – Abu Dhabi Global Market is Open for Business


ADGM – Abu Dhabi Global Market, the international financial free zone of the UAE’s capital has announced that it is now open for business and its Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FRSA) will commence operations from October 21st, 2015.

Companies in Abu Dhabi can now apply for ADGM’s financial services that are trustworthy and internationally acknowledged by major financial centres across the globe. The ADGM also develops and aids member establishments with the regulatory framework, legal jurisdiction and the commercial environment they need for sustainable business development.

The ADGM has three independent authorities, namely – the Registration Authority, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and ADGM Courts. They ensure that the business operates in accordance with international practices that are recognised by major financial centres across the world. ADGM’s initial focus is on private banking and wealth and asset management

The ADGM is one of the first steps towards Abu Dhabi’s growth for financial service firms and the country’s economy. The Chairman of ADGM, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh said

Abu Dhabi Global Market is an essential pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision, acting as a catalyst for the growth of its dynamic financial services sector in the UAE. At the heart of Abu Dhabi Global Market is a premise of long-term partnership and collaboration – locally, regionally and internationally.

The ADGM is regarded as a significant element in Abu Dhabi’s enduring strategy of economic expansion, as set off in the Economic Vision 2030.

The ADGM Registration Authority has been operational and reviewing licence applications from non-financial services firms since June 15th, 2015 when the ADGM commercial regulations were published. However, an official from ADGM has said that the procedures involved in preparing and considering applications as well as granting membership to financial firms could take a few months. Its operations are likely to start during the first quarter of 2016 at the ADGM headquarters on Al Maryah Island, a business and luxury lifestyle destination in the country’s capital.

A number of large and reputable regional and international banks are expected to be considering the applications for ADGM membership.

GCC Solutions provides company formation services as an approved corporate service provider for the ADGM. GCC can provide government interface services, company secretary services and act as a nominee director for SPV’s in the ADGM therein.