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Define Business Activity/Structure
Before starting a business in Abu Dhabi, defining the business activity and structure is essential as the first step. This involves deciding on the type of business activity, such as trading, manufacturing, or services, and the business’s legal structure, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company.
The choice of business activity and structure will impact the company’s legal requirements, tax liabilities, and other regulatory considerations, making it a critical decision for any entrepreneur or business owner looking to establish a presence in Abu Dhabi.
Choose the type of license you need
Choosing the right license type is crucial in starting a business in Abu Dhabi. The type of license required will depend on the company’s business activity and legal structure. The three main types of licenses available in Abu Dhabi are:
Commercial License: This license is required for businesses engaged in trading or commercial activities such as buying and selling goods.
Industrial License: This license is required for businesses engaged in manufacturing, processing, or industrial activities.
Professional License: This license is required for businesses providing professional consulting, accounting, or legal services.
It is essential to choose the correct license as it will determine the company’s legal status, operational scope, and the permits required to conduct business in Abu Dhabi. Obtaining the right license ensures compliance with local laws and regulations, which is essential for any business in Abu Dhabi.
Obtain Free Zone Trade License
Obtaining a Free Zone Trade License is an essential step in starting a business in Abu Dhabi’s free zones. This license is issued by the relevant free zone authority and permits the company to conduct business within the designated free zone area.
To obtain a Free Zone Trade License, the company must first register with the chosen free zone authority and submit the necessary documentation, such as the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, passport copies of shareholders and directors, and a detailed business plan.
Then, the free zone authority will review the application and, if approved, issue the Free Zone Trade License. This license allows the company to conduct business activities as per the scope mentioned in the license without needing a local sponsor or partner, offering 100% foreign ownership of the company.
Submitting a Visa Application
Submitting a visa application is necessary to start a business in Abu Dhabi. After obtaining the necessary business licenses, visas must be obtained for the company’s owners, shareholders, and employees to reside and work in Abu Dhabi legally.
The visa application process involves submitting the required documents to the relevant authorities, such as passport copies, passport-size photographs, medical fitness certificates, and a valid Emirates ID.
The visa application process can be done through a local sponsor or through the company’s Free Zone authority. The visa application process varies depending on the individual’s nationality, the type of visa required, and the purpose of the stay in Abu Dhabi.
Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a visa services provider or immigration consultant for guidance on the visa application process to ensure that all requirements are met accurately and efficiently.
Apply for Free Zone Bank Account
Opening a Free Zone Bank Account is essential in starting a business in Abu Dhabi’s free zones. The Free Zone Bank Account allows the company to conduct financial transactions and receive payments in a secure and regulated environment.
To apply for a Free Zone Bank Account, the company must provide the necessary documentation, such as a valid trade license, passport copies of shareholders and directors, and proof of address. The application process varies depending on the chosen bank and the type of account required, and it can take a few days to a few weeks to complete.
Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a financial advisor or banking expert for guidance on the account opening process to ensure that all requirements are met accurately and efficiently.
Finalize Business Setup
Finalizing the Business Setup is the last step in starting a business in Abu Dhabi. It involves obtaining the necessary approvals, permits, and registrations to operate legally and officially launch the business. The finalization process includes the following:
- Obtaining a commercial lease agreement for a physical office or workspace.
- Registering for local taxes.
- Obtaining necessary permits and approvals from relevant authorities.
- Ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations.
The process can vary depending on the business activity and legal structure. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a legal or business advisor to ensure that all requirements are met accurately and efficiently. Once all the necessary approvals and registrations are obtained, the business is ready to start its operations in Abu Dhabi.