One of the key factors contributing to the success of businesses in Abu Dhabi is the range of companies with potential that are looking to set up business in the Abu Dhabi Free Zones in the city.
For such aspiring businesses, we will explore the process of company formation in Abu Dhabi free zones and the benefits and requirements of establishing a business in these specialized zones.
Starting a Free Zone Business in Abu Dhabi has numerous advantages for investors and companies. Abu Dhabi Free Zones provide a suitable environment for company formation and provide an entry for foreign investors.
From tax exemptions and 100% foreign ownership to streamlined business registration and access to cutting-edge infrastructure, Abu Dhabi free zones offer a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to establish and grow their businesses in the region.
Free Zones in Abu Dhabi are part of a drive for economic expansion to enhance the local economy and improve foreign investment. Free zone business setup comprises media companies, logistics companies, as well as medium and heavy industries. Business in the Abu Dhabi Free Zone has attractive benefits such as incentives and facilities for the shareholders.
Free Zones in Abu Dhabi
There are 8 Free Zones in Abu Dhabi and here is the list of Free Zones in Abu Dhabi you can opt to start a business in,
- Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)
- Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD)
- Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)
- Twofour54 Abu Dhabi Media Zone
- Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp)
- Masdar City Free Zone
- Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)
Legal entity types in Abu Dhabi Free Zones
A corporate or an individual establishment can register their business in any free zone in Abu Dhabi in one of these ways:
- Free Zone Limited Liability Company: An independent legal institution with individual shareholders, a corporate shareholder, or a combination of both
- Branch of a Foreign Company: Except those foreign companies with a license to conduct business in the UAE free zone, every foreign company carries out its business activities or establishes its branch or an office only after the Ministry of Economy and Commerce issues a license
- Branch of a UAE Company: A UAE-based company can also branch in free zones, mainland or offshore
- Freelance License: Freelance permit is granted to freelancers, to identify them as sole practitioners and helps them conduct a business
Documents Required for Business Set up in Abu Dhabi Free Zone
The list of documents required for registering a business in Abu Dhabi Free Zones are,
- Application form of the company
- Shareholders’ passport copies
- Passport-size photographs with white background
- Suggested names for the new company (2 or 3)
- Business activity specifications
- Required number of visas
- 2 proofs for address (dated within 3 months)
- Bank’s reference letter
- Curriculum Vitae for freelance license
Capital Requirements to Start a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zones
The Businesses need to possess a certain capital amount in order to be eligible for establishing a business in the dedicated Abu Dhabi Free Zones
- The capital requirement for the business registration fee for Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone is of AED 5,000 or AED 7,500 and the license fee ranges from AED 15,000 to AED 50,000.
- There is no minimum capital requirement in twofour54.
- For a private company in Abu Dhabi Global Market Free Zone (ADGM), the capital requirement is AED 183,647.
- Registering an LLC company in ZonesCorp requires an AED 250,000 capital requirement.
- An LLC company in KIZAD can be set up with a minimum capital of AED 150,000.
Steps to Start a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone
The UAE government develops company formation in free zone regions of Abu Dhabi to stimulate, and improve foreign investment. Hence the business setup procedure in Abu Dhabi free zones is simple, clear, quicker, and free from administrative restrictions.
Let us look at the setup procedure:
1. Determine the type of business activity
Every business activity has its own rules and regulations and hence you should identify the type of business before the company formation in Abu Dhabi Free Zones. In a free zone, the following five types of businesses can be established:
- Limited Liability Company in a Free Zone
- Branch of a UAE Business or a Foreign Business
- Freelance Business
- Free Zone Set up
2. Register the trade name
Following the selection of the legal entity type, the legal trade name of the company must be chosen. In some situations, it is necessary to first verify with the free zone authorities or the Department of Economic Development (DED) to determine if the proposed trade name is approved and available in the region.
Some of the most common Trade Name regulations are
- Does not violate the country's morality or public order
- Must be followed by the company's legal form, such as FZE, LLC, DMCC, etc.
- There is no other firm that has registered the trade name.
- It is consistent with the legal status and the sort of action required.
- It should not include any names of governing authorities, religions, logos, or foreign organizations.
Read more about the trade name regulations by DED
3. Choose the Business License
As you have the trade name approved and registered, you need to get approval for the issuance of your business license. Depending on your business activity in Abu Dhabi Free Zone, you must choose any of the following Business licenses.
- Warehousing license
- Consultancy or services license
- Industrial license
- Offshore license
- Educational license
- Manufacturing license
- Freelancer license
- Commercial or trade license
- Media license
- E-commerce license
4. Choose an Office space in Abu Dhabi Free Zone
In the process of Company formation in the Abu Dhabi Free Zone, having a dedicated office space is necessary. Office space in Abu Dhabi Free Zone can be either purchased or leased.
The need for office space is determined by the number of employees in a company as well as the selected business activity. Licenses in Abu Dhabi Free Zones or any other region of the UAE are awarded based on the amount of office space used. You can opt for multiple licenses if the office space is much larger.
5. Approval from Abu Dhabi Free Zone Authority
The laws and regulations of the relevant free zone authorities regulate Abu Dhabi Free Zone registered businesses. To set up a company in an Abu Dhabi Free Zone, pre-approval is necessary, and to receive such pre-approvals, an application must be submitted along with the required documents.
6. Registration and Issuance of License
The following stage of Business Setup in Abu Dhabi Free Zones is to register the company. Once the approval has been obtained, proceed to company registration and payment of license fees. The fees for obtaining a license vary depending on the type of license requested.
The following things should be ensured before the Abu Dhabi Free Zone business registration:
- A board resolution appointing the new company's manager or director (notarized and attested).
- A passport-sized photo of the new company's management or director on a white backdrop
- Share capital information.
- Power of Attorney granted to the management or director of the new firm
- Specimen signature of the manager or director of the new company
- Articles of Association and Memorandum (Notarized and Attested)
Abu Dhabi Free Zone Company Formation
BMS Corporate has the most knowledgeable and experienced business consultants who have been assisting clients through Company Formation in the UAE, and Middle East countries. We help many UAE businesses and foreign investors in establishing businesses in Free Zones in Abu Dhabi.
You can start an LLC company or any entity throughout the UAE using our Business setup Services which consist of
Our team is always at your service for any assistance, from gathering required documents, getting them attested, obtaining a business license from the Free Zone authority and establishing your business successfully in the Abu Dhabi Free Zone.
Need assistance with business setup in Abu Dhabi Free Zone? Call BMS.
1. What is the Time limit for Abu Dhabi Free Zone Company Formation?
The process of setting up a company in Abu Dhabi free zones usually takes between 2-4 weeks, depending on the type of business and the specific free zone chosen. However, the process may take longer if there are any delays in approvals or documentation requirements.
2. Can Foreign Investors have 100% Ownership in Abu Dhabi Free Zone Company?
Yes, foreign investors can own 100% of a company registered in Abu Dhabi's free zones. The UAE government allows 100% foreign ownership in free zone companies as part of its efforts to attract foreign investment and promote economic growth in the region.
3. Can I change the Business Activity after getting License for Free Zone company in Abu Dhabi?
Yes, it is possible to change the business activity after obtaining a license in Abu Dhabi's free zones, but the process and requirements for doing so may vary depending on the free zone and the specific activity to be added or changed.
4. Can I transfer my existing company to a free zone in Abu Dhabi?
Transferring an existing company to a free zone in Abu Dhabi is possible but is a complex process that involves legal and administrative procedures, which may vary depending on the type of company and the free zone selected.
5. What is the minimum cost for Business setup in Abu Dhabi Free Zones?
The minimum cost to establish a business in Abu Dhabi free zones may vary depending on the type of business and the specific free zone chosen. However, in general, the cost can range from AED 10,000 to AED 50,000 or more. This cost typically includes license fees, registration fees, and other administrative costs.