HQ: Floor 8 & 9, City Tower 2, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE

HQ: Floor 8 & 9, City Tower 2, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE

Business in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Business Basics: Know About The Complete Process

Renowned for a number of reasons, Abu Dhabi is one of the biggest cities in Dubai offering ample opportunities to the expatriates who are deciding to move, work, and start a business there.

We will explore some of the advantages of initiating a business in Abu Dhabi, as well as the steps you need to follow to set up your company.

What Business in Abu Dhabi to Start?

Business in Abu Dhabi

We are now discussing some businesses that an individual can start on moving to Abu Dhabi, UAE, such as:

  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Professional


At an industrial level, you can start manufacturing, assembling, processing, and repairing goods and products. You can produce furniture, clothing, or electronics under this business category


Commercial business ideas include contracting, trading, retailing, importing, and exporting goods and services. Also, you can also open a shop, a restaurant, or a construction company it comes under the commercial business


This includes providing consultancy, advisory, technical, or educational services. You can offer accounting, legal, or engineering services for your Abu Dhabi business.

The two business types are,

  1. Sole proprietorship
  2. Partnership

Understand Ownership Structure

Now it’s time to understand the ownership structure of your business. In general, there are two options:

  1. Local Sponsorship
  2. Free zone Company

Local sponsorship

A local sponsorship is:

  • To have a local partner who owns at least 51% of your business. The local partner can be a sole investor or also a corporate entity instead.
  • This option is suitable for businesses that require a commercial or industrial license.
  • The advantages of this option are that you can access the local market and benefit from the local partner’s connections and expertise.
  • The disadvantage is that you have to share your profits and decision-making power with the local partner.

Free Zone Company

A free zone company is:

  • Where you can have 100% foreign ownership of your business. However, you can only operate within the free zone area, where you obtain your license.
  • This option is suitable for businesses that require a professional or a service license. Under this option, you have more autonomy and flexibility to run your business as you wish. Also, you can enjoy various incentives and benefits from the free zone authority.
  • However, the disadvantages are that you may have limited access to the local market and face some restrictions on your business activities.

Investment Opportunities in Abu Dhabi

As the biggest producer and exporter, Abu Dhabi enjoys a market share. With abundant natural resources and advanced technology to support this sector.

Nuclear power,solar, and wind are developed renewable energy sources in Abu Dhabi which made him strong in regard to investment point of view. The Masdar City project has been also established and aims to be the world’s first carbon-neutral city.

Abu Dhabi is a popular tourist destination. Some of the prominent places include:

  • The Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum
  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
  • The Yas Island theme park,
  • The Formula One Grand Prix.

Abu Dhabi holds a strong banking system and a growing capital market. the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has been also established there. A range of services and products are offered in this international financial center.

Abu Dhabi is focused on:

  • Biotechnology
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Defense, and
  • Aerospace.

The Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KUST) is a leading research institution. It collaborates with global partners and has been also established there.

Starting a Business in Abu Dhabi (Advantages)

Business in Abu Dhabi

About to start a business in Abu Dhabi? It’s the right time to know its pros to help you make a decision:

  • A tax-free environment (free from income tax, corporate tax, or value-added tax)
  • A free trade zone (100% foreign ownership, no currency restrictions, no customs duties, and no minimum capital required)
  • A competitive labor market (a skilled and educated workforce, as well as flexible visa policies and labor laws, are entitled to provide to foreigners who move there to start some sort of work)
  • A high quality of life (a secure and safe environment, excellent education and healthcare facilities, and a rich cultural and social scene are some of the blessings for expatriates who opt to Abu Dhabi to do business).

Business Name Registration

1. Copy of passport or ID card: It is required to submit a copy of your ID card or passport.

2. Copy of passport: If necessary then you need to submit a copy of your local partner’s ID card or passport (Only if applicable)

3. Letter on business name: Letter from your local partner stating their consent to use their name as part of your business name (if applicable)

4. Letter from free zone: It may be required a letter from the free zone authority stating your approval to use their name as part of your business name (Only if applicable)

A Fee of 200 AED

  • Make sure to check the availability of your desired business in Abu Dhabi name on the DED website.

Avail Initial Approval

The fourth step is to avail the initial approval from the DED.

1. Copy of passport or ID: You are required to submit a copy of your ID card or passport or ID card

2. Copy of passport: You might be required to submit a copy of your local partner’s ID card or passport (Only if applicable)

3. Copy of business certificate: A copy of your business in Abu Dhabi name registration certificate

4. Business activity description: A detailed description of your business activity

5. Payment of fee: Fee of AED 100

Moreover, you will receive an initial approval certificate within one working day approximately.

Obtain Trade License

The fifth step is to obtain a trade license from the DED. To start operating your business legally, this is a final approval. The following documents need to be submitted for the application form:

  • Copy of your initial approval certificate
  • Copy of your memorandum of association (if applicable)
  • Copy of your lease agreement or tenancy contract for your office premises
  • Approvals or permit copies may be required for your specific business activity (such as health, environment, tourism, etc.)
  • There is a need to submit a fee of AED 500

You must have a bank account needed for your business or unless you can’t start operating a business


How to start a business in Abu Dhabi can be a rewarding and profitable venture. However, it requires careful planning and preparation. You need to understand the legal and regulatory requirements, as well as the market conditions and opportunities. You also need to seek professional advice from experts who can guide you through the process.

Furthermore, by following these steps, you can set up your business in Abu Dhabi successfully and efficiently. However, if you need more information on the market in the country, feel free of contacting us through our website.

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