Business Setup in Abu Dhabi

New Company Register in Abu Dhabi

Business Setup in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is a dynamic and rapidly growing business hub. Known for its economic stability, modern infrastructure, and favorable business environment.

Register a New Company in Abu Dhabi

Starting a business in Abu Dhabi can be a rewarding venture, but it requires careful planning and adherence to specific legal and administrative procedures. Business Setup in Abu Dhabi is to identify the type of business activity you wish to engage in and determine the most suitable legal structure. Common legal structures include limited liability companies (LLCs), sole proprietorships, and partnerships. 

Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, is a hub for business and trade in the Middle East. With its strategic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and business-friendly environment, Abu Dhabi offers immense opportunities for entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses. Whether you are looking to start in the oil and gas industry, finance sector, or tourism market, Abu Dhabi has something to offer for every business.

Steps to Setup Your Business in Abu Dhabi

If you’re considering starting a new company setup in Abu Dhabi, it’s important to understand the step-by-step process and legal requirements involved. 

Step 1: Determine the Business Activity and Legal Structure

The first step in company formation in Abu Dhabi is to define the nature of your business activity and choose the most suitable legal structure. Common legal structures include limited liability companies (LLCs), sole proprietorships, partnerships, and branches of foreign companies. Each structure has specific advantages and requirements. Consulting with a business advisor or legal professional can help you select the most appropriate option for your company.

Step 2: Reserve the Company Name

After determining the legal structure, you need to reserve a unique name for your company. The name should align with the business activity and comply with the regulations set by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED). Conduct a thorough search to ensure that the chosen name is available and doesn’t conflict with existing trademarks or registered businesses.

Step 3: Prepare the Memorandum and Articles of Association

The Memorandum and Articles of Association (MOA and AOA) outline the company’s objectives, shareholding structure, and internal governance rules. Consult a legal professional to draft these documents in accordance with the laws and regulations of Abu Dhabi. The MOA and AOA need to be notarized by a notary public in the UAE.

Step 4: Obtain Initial Approval

Obtaining initial approval from the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) is a crucial step. This approval ensures that your proposed company name and activities comply with the required guidelines. Submit the necessary documents, including the MOA and AOA, along with the initial approval application.

Step 5: Lease a Business Premises

To establish a company in Abu Dhabi, you must have a physical business address. Lease an office space or commercial property that meets the requirements set by the ADDED and other relevant authorities. Ensure that the tenancy contract is attested by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).

Step 6: Finalize the Legal Documentation

Once you have obtained initial approval and secured a business premises, it’s time to finalize the legal documentation. This includes preparing all required forms and applications, such as the license application form, shareholder details form, and manager appointment form. Ensure that these documents are accurately filled out and signed.

Step 7: Register with Relevant Authorities

To ensure legal compliance, register your company with various authorities in Abu Dhabi. This includes the ADDED, the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), and other relevant bodies depending on your business activity. Registering with these authorities will enable you to obtain necessary permits and licenses.

Step 8: Obtain the Trade License

Acquiring a trade license is a fundamental requirement for operating a company in Abu Dhabi. The type of license you need will depend on your business activity. Apply for the relevant license through the ADDED, providing all required documents, forms, and fees. The ADDED will review your application and issue the trade license upon approval.

Step 9: Fulfill Visa and Labor Requirements

If you plan to hire employees, you must comply with the visa and labor regulations in Abu Dhabi. This involves obtaining work permits and visas for your employees through the MOHRE. Additionally, ensure that you adhere to labor laws, such as employment contracts, working hours, and employee benefits.

Step 10: Open a Corporate Bank Account

Finally, open a corporate bank account in Abu Dhabi to manage your company’s finances. Choose a reputable bank that suits your business requirements. Prepare the necessary documents, such as the trade license, MOA and AOA, and shareholder details, to complete the account opening process.

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Types of Business Entities in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi offers several types of business formations to suit different entrepreneurial needs and objectives. The following are the common types of business formations available in Abu Dhabi

1. Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is one of the most popular business formations in Abu Dhabi. It requires a minimum of two and a maximum of 50 shareholders. The liability of each shareholder is limited to their share in the company’s capital. An LLC provides flexibility in terms of ownership structure and is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses.

2. Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a business formation where a single individual owns and operates the business. The owner assumes all liabilities and responsibilities associated with the business. This formation is relatively easy to set up and is suitable for small-scale businesses or freelance professionals.

3. Partnership

A partnership is a business formation where two or more individuals join together to carry out a business activity. In Abu Dhabi, there are two types of partnerships: general partnership and limited partnership. In a general partnership, all partners share equal rights and liabilities. In a limited partnership, there are general partners who have unlimited liability and limited partners who have liability limited to their investment in the partnership.

4. Branch of a Foreign Company

Foreign companies can establish a branch in Abu Dhabi to expand their operations in the region. The branch operates as an extension of the parent company and must adhere to the local regulations and requirements.

5. Free Zone Company

Abu Dhabi has designated free zones that offer attractive incentives and benefits for businesses. Free zone companies enjoy 100% foreign ownership, exemption from corporate and personal income taxes, and simplified import-export procedures. These zones cater to specific industries, such as technology, media, healthcare, and finance.

6. Public Joint Stock Company (PJSC)

A PJSC is a publicly traded company where shares are listed on the stock exchange. This formation is suitable for large-scale businesses seeking public investment and wider ownership.

Free Zone vs. Mainland Business Setup

Another important consideration when starting a new business setup in Abu Dhabi is whether to establish it in a free zone or on the mainland. Here are some key differences between the two:

Free Zone Business Setup

  • 100% Foreign Ownership: Free zones allow for 100% foreign ownership, making it an attractive option for expatriate entrepreneurs.
  • Tax Benefits: Companies in free zones are often exempt from corporate and personal income taxes for a certain period, depending on the free zone.
  • Ease of Doing Business: Free zones offer streamlined processes for company registration, making it quick and efficient to set up a business.

Mainland Business Setup

  • Access to Local Market: Setting up a business on the mainland allows you to tap into the local UAE market, which can be beneficial for certain industries.
  • No Restrictions on Activities: Mainland businesses have the flexibility to engage in any type of business activity, unlike free zone entities which are restricted to their designated activities.
  • More Flexibility: Mainland companies have more flexibility in terms of office location, staffing, and client base.

Business Licenses Available in Abu Dhabi

  1. Commercial License: This is the most common type of business license and is required for all commercial activities in Abu Dhabi Mainland. Whether you are a small shop owner or a large corporation, you will need to obtain a commercial license to operate legally.
  2. Professional License: This type of license is required for individuals who provide professional services such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and accountants. If you are starting a consultancy or freelance business, you will need to obtain a professional license.
  3. Industrial License: If your business involves manufacturing, production, or industrial activities, you will need to obtain an industrial license. This license is necessary to ensure that your business complies with all safety and environmental regulations.
  4. Tourism License: Businesses operating in the tourism sector, such as travel agencies, hotels, and tour operators, will need to obtain a tourism license.

Connect with Neeja Corporate Services

Are you looking to start your company in Dubai but feeling overcome by the registration process? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Setting up a business in a foreign country can be challenging, but with the right guidance and support, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Neeja’s business setup services offers complete support and serve as a one-stop shop for company setup in Dubai. We provide a wide range of value-added services, such as license applications and VAT registration. Over the years, we have successfully advised many new entrepreneurs to make their business dreams a reality.

To book a free consultation, call on +971 43243031. You can also send a WhatsApp message at +971 50 465 2843. To connect over email, send us your query at [email protected].

Why Choose Us

Neeja Corporate Services is one of the leading consultants and solution providers for licensing, business incorporation, and other related activities. With the right set of expertise and experience, we help entrepreneurs and business owners acquire licenses and registration in a short span of time.

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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions on Company Setup in Abu Dhabi

The specific requirements vary depending on the legal structure and business activity. Common requirements include obtaining initial approval, securing a trade license, registering with relevant authorities, leasing a business premises, fulfilling visa and labor requirements, and complying with applicable regulations.

Yes, foreigners can set up a business in Abu Dhabi. The government encourages foreign investment and offers various options for company formations. Depending on the legal structure and business activity, there may be restrictions or requirements for local sponsorship or shareholding.

Abu Dhabi offers a business-friendly environment with tax advantages, strategic location, access to a talented workforce, and robust infrastructure. It serves as a gateway to the Middle East, providing opportunities for regional and international expansion. The government supports various sectors and offers incentives to attract investments. Abu Dhabi’s diversification efforts have created a favorable investment landscape across industries.

The process and timeline for setting up a business in Abu Dhabi can vary depending on various factors, including the legal structure chosen, completeness of documentation, and efficiency of the registration process. On average, it can take several weeks to a few months to complete the setup process. Consulting with business setup professionals can help streamline the process and ensure timely completion.


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