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How to Setup Business in Abu Dhabi Mainland

Located on a very strategic location on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Dhabi is one of the most important Emirate and the capital of the UAE. However, Abu Dhabi has expanded its economic activities outside of oil-exporting since the last decade. The city has more than ¾ of the UAE territory and has grown massively in retail, tourism, real estate and industrial development.

In this article, you will learn everything about Business Setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland and how you can take advantage of the city’s economic plans. Certainly, we will make sure you understand the benefits and what are the licenses available for this city. That is to say, learn what are the things you must know before registering your business in Abu Dhabi. Let’s observe:

  1. How to set up a business in Abu Dhabi Mainland?
  2. Documents required to set up a business in Abu Dhabi
  3. Business licenses available for Abu Dhabi Mainland
  4. Reasons to set up your business in Abu Dhabi Mainland
  5. Growing businesses in Abu Dhabi
  6. Things to know before registering a company in Abu Dhabi
  7. Eligible company structures for registration in Abu Dhabi
  8. FAQ (Frequently asked questions)
  9. How can Connect Group assist you to set up your business in Abu Dhabi Mainland?

How to Set up a Business in Abu Dhabi Mainland?

We made a detailed guide about the business setup process in Abu Dhabi Mainland.

  1. Evaluate your economic activities: it enables you to clearly understand your desired economic activities before starting the procedures. This is very important since some fees and legal procedures vary depending on your type of business.
  2. Find a Local Sponsor: this business jurisdiction mandates that all foreign companies need a local sponsor (company or service agent owned by UAE nationals) to establish in Abu Dhabi.
  3. Evaluate the legal form of business: local regulations and rules may vary for the different types of business establishments and ownership types. In other words, you must choose a type of legal entity in order to run your business.
  4. Register your trade name: the trade name states its nature and legal form and distinguishes it from other companies. In Connect Group we assist our clients in the process of Business Setup in Abu Dhabi and registering their trade name from the list of the Department of Economic Development (DED).
  5. Licensing requirements: some of the types of business licenses issued by the DED are:
  • Commercial license.
  • Industrial license.
  • Professional license.
  • Tourism License.
  • Agricultural License.
  • Occupational License.

However, we avail No-Objection Letters from their specific jurisdiction, we also assist them in getting the work permit and getting their legal documents translated into Arab.

  • Get special approvals: foreign investors and entrepreneurs must obtain approvals from:
  • Abu Dhabi educational council (ADEC).
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Health.
  • Abu Dhabi customs authority.
  • Their specific Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
  • Obtain the approval: you must obtain approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Abu Dhabi (GDRFA) before establishing in the city. However, you must obtain the approval certificate to continue with the business licensing formalities.

Documents required to set up a business in Abu Dhabi

  • Memorandum of Association (MOA).
  • Articles of Association.
  • Shareholders Agreement
  • Board resolution of the foreign company willing to open a representative or a branch office.
  • Attested documents.
  • Copy of all documents of the shared capital.      
  • Managers Appointment.
  • Deposit Slip.
  • Name Approval Certificate
  • Lease Agreement.

Business licenses available for Abu Dhabi Mainland

As we mentioned earlier, the process of Business Setup in Abu Dhabi establishes that you must acquire a business license. However, the DED issues these licenses depending on the type of business activity. Here is a list of the various type of business licenses:

  • Commercial License: this type of license is issued to businesses in general activities such as hospitals and clinics, business contractors, public trading companies, and business contractors.
  • Industrial License: this license is issued to companies who want to establish their manufacturing operations in Abu Dhabi. However, the government body in charge of issuing this type of license for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp) is The Higher Corporation.
  • Professional License: this type of license is issued to individuals and professionals who engage in a specific craft. These individuals can work up to 5 people. For instance, professionals in the areas of steelwork, smithery, carpentry, etc apply for this type of license.
  • Tourism License: the government body in charge of issuing this license is the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority (TCA). Likewise, all companies offering tourism-related services like travel agencies, boat rentals, hotels, etc; apply for this type of license.
  • Occupational License: this license is issued to individuals who use intellectual and mental capabilities, talents and abilities to serve their clients. For instance, businesses for this type of license are research and development firms, accounting and audit firms, and law firms.

Other important licenses are:

  • Dual License
  • Tajer License
  • E-Trader License

Read More About : What is the Cost of a Dubai Trade License?

Reasons to set up your business in Abu Dhabi Mainland

  • No corporate or personal tax: like Dubai, Abu Dhabi is a tax-free city where various international companies set up their branch or new entities. Similarly, Abu Dhabi is a city fully characterized by almost a complete absence of taxation policies with only a few exceptions.
  • No limit on employment visa: in Abu Dhabi is illegal to work on a visa other than a basic employment visa. Likewise, individuals may enter the city under a tourist visa and ONLY search for jobs. Recent legislation about these employment visas mandates that candidates hired by employers must exit the UAE while they await their employment visa.
  • Import duty is low: customs duties are imposed on physical goods leaving or entering by seaports, air, or land in any country. Commodities and goods imported to the city from countries outside the GGC are under 5% of the values of goods. There is a 100% and 50% imposed duty for cigarettes and alcohol respectively.
  • No minimum capital is required for establishing in the city: the UAE law does not mandate any minimum shared capital. However, the business must have adequate capital to cover the expenses of incorporating it in the country, and the capital must consist of an equal share in value. Their no actual requirement for depositing this capital into a bank of the UAE.
  • No yearly auditing: companies expect to be audited, it does not matter in what part of the world they are established. However, this also depends on the jurisdiction. However, local authorities often audit local Free Zones businesses.
  • 100% Repatriation of Profits: companies in Abu Dhabi mainland may take advantage of repatriation of 100% of profits by the business, as well as its capital, to the original country of its investors, without any imposed restrictions.

Growing Businesses in Abu Dhabi

Business Setup in Abu Dhabi gives entrepreneurs and investors various benefits. It provides the necessary infrastructure for business setups; it also has a growing number of tourists from all around the world. However, apart from the tourism sector, there are two business industries where they are growing massively. These industries are:

IT Sector

The UAE is a tech-savvy nation, specifically in Abu Dhabi, the city has put into practice various initiatives towards IT sectors. The Abu Dhabi Hyperloop wants to bring a big shift driven by automation and technology. In other words, the IT industries in Abu Dhabi are aiming to excel in the fields of innovation and technology to blend in all business sectors.

Hospitality Sector

In the hospitality sector; Abu Dhabi and Dubai companies are one of the top GCC’s cities in terms of development. However, the cities are not growing in terms of infrastructure and tourist but also in business and employment in the private and public sectors. Likewise, the Hospitality Sector has grown massively over the last years due to government initiatives, its strategic location, and for sure, it will continue its growth in this decade.

Things to know before registering a company in Abu Dhabi

There are some important things you must take care of as soon as you complete Business Setup process in Abu Dhabi:

  • Labor Card: every business established in the UAE must be registered under the Department of Immigration and the Ministry of Labor. Most importantly, without these company cards you cannot legally employ or sponsor staff. However, the Ministry of Labor is the government body in charge of issuing the Labor Cards.
  • Visa: workers from a different country must meet different requirements to get a valid visa to enter the UAE. However, workers must apply for different visas in case of what they require. Here is a list of the different types of visas available in the UAE:
  • Transit visa.
  • Travel visa.
  • Work visa.
  • Visit Visa.

Eligible company structures for registration in Abu Dhabi

Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

This is one most notable forms of business entity in the city. Certainly, the responsibility of the shareholders of this method of business is limited only to the number of shares. A maximum of 2 shareholders and a maximum of 50 are required to form this entity. However, to set up an LLC in the city a minimum of $40,000 is required.

Free Zone Company

Abu Dhabi has more than 8 free zones jurisdictions. When it comes to free zone companies, there is certain independence of foreign ownership of the business. There is no restriction about recruiting and hiring workers. Each free zone has separate laws and regulations. Therefore, a business registered in any of the free zones must comply with its local regulations.

Branch office

For Business Setup in Abu Dhabi, they need a local agent. In addition, this branch office would carry out the activities of the parent company. However, a branch office carries out operations in relation to the parent’s company marketing in the new country.

Representative Office

Foreign organizations establish representative offices to not carry local operations but to put in practice market research. However, the article (313) of Companies Law states that can establish a representative office in a foreign country.

FAQ (Frequently asked questions)

How long will it take to set up a business in Abu Dhabi?             

It takes 3 to 5 months to establish a company in the city.

What is the minimum capital for registering a company in Abu Dhabi?

LLCs must have a minimum capital of USD 40,000. However, companies determine their minimum capital requirements for other types of business entities.

How can Connect Group assist you to set up your business in Abu Dhabi Mainland?

Now that you are familiar with the things you must know before setting up your company in Abu Dhabi Mainland. Therefore, the next step you must take is to find a trustworthy business partner that can assist you in things process. This way you will settle rapidly in Abu Dhabi without any overwhelming steps.

With Connect Group working side-by-side with you and your company, you can establish anywhere in the UAE and start obtaining the benefits of this pro-business country.

In other words, we can also assist your HR in your recruiting process. It does not matter the type of business you want to establish; we will do the tedious process for you. Besides, with our PEO and EOR services you will have the next benefits:

  • Efficient HR management.
  • Staying in compliance with local laws.
  • Innovative ideas to incorporate into your organization.
  • Assist you in your recruiting process, provide you with the best professional services, and establish you in the UAE market.

After you have completed your business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland, you should also ask for some of our business services. For instance, you can use our hiring services to find highly skilled employees.

Would you like to contact Connect Group to receive more useful information and tips about Business Setup in Abu Dhabi?

 If you have any inquiries or if you want to learn more information, call us on +97143316688. And you will talk to one of our representatives.

The Complete Guide for LLC Company Formation in Dubai

Connect Group is here to help you at every step of your business journey in the UAE with ease.

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