Abu Dhabi is one of the prime UAE states, with continuously growing prominence due to its business-friendly infrastructure. Entrepreneurs and foreign investors consider their business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland a gateway to exceptional growth opportunities.
UAE is known for its prominent GDP figure and contribution to the global economy. Your business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland can leverage the remarkable privileges of UAE’s growing economy.
If you are eager to learn about how company formation in Abu Dhabi Mainland works, from reserving a tradename to getting your trade license, you’ve landed at the right place. This blog post will discuss the entire process of creating a business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland.
Let’s start with the fundamentals.
What Is Abu Dhabi Mainland?
The capital and second-largest city of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, is a favorite destination for both domestic and foreign businesses looking for a secure and stable business climate. The Abu Dhabi Mainland is an excellent location for businesses and leisure activities.
In addition to three significant seaports, Abu Dhabi has its own international airport. One of the major industrial free trade zones in the Middle East, Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, is served by Khalifa Port.
Furthermore, for the majority of business activity, a Local Sponsor is no longer necessary as of 2021. However, some commercial ventures, like construction and defense, do need a local sponsor.
In Abu Dhabi Mainland, you can choose from over 1000 business activities and merge more than one activity under the same trade license.
If you want to create a business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland, your trade license approval and business registration authority will be the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED). With your business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland, you can enjoy 100% ownership of your overseas business and operate freely without any trade restrictions.
Benefits of Company Formation in Abu Dhabi Mainland
By laying the foundation of business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland, you can exercise the liberty to trade without geographical restrictions. Your company formation in Abu Dhabi Mainland is destined to get exceptional benefits that cannot be unseen. Some of these notable perks and opportunities include:
- No personal or corporate taxes
- No restrictions on employment visas and an easy hiring procedure
- Low import taxes
- A Mainland Company can be formed with no minimum capital requirement
- No yearly audits
- Profits and capital can be repatriated in full
- The availability of flexible office leasing and lease arrangements at fair prices
- Currency restrictions do not apply to businesses on the Mainland
- Government contracts are open to bids from Mainland-based businesses
- Simple registration process
These advantages are the main reason behind the increasing trend of business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland. UAE has revealed its inclination towards facilitating and encouraging entrepreneurs and foreign investors for company formation in Abu Dhabi Mainland by ensuring ease of doing business.
Facilities Available in Abu Dhabi Mainland
Some of the most attractive salient features of Abu Dhabi Mainland are its facilitating infrastructure and geolocation. By company formation in Abu Dhabi Mainland, you gain access to the following benefits.
- Modern highways, airports, and seaports for seamless logistics operations
- High-speed internet connection for enterprise-grade business activities and IT needs
- Well-equipped and spacious warehouses of all scales
- Furnished and unfurnished office locations available at budget-friendly prices for rent or purchase
- Safety of life and property due to UAE’s prominence as one the safest countries in the world
Best Businesses to Start in Abu Dhabi Mainland
Business setup on Abu Dhabi Mainland offers all the resources and facilities necessary to support all industries. Another plus point is Abu Dhabi’s high potential market and the influx of tourists into the country ensure promising growth opportunities for various businesses. Some of the most profitable industries and niches for your business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland include
- Architectural Engineering & Construction (AEC)
- Real Estate Business
- Healthcare Industry
- Handyman Services
- Consultancy firms
- Lifestyle and clothing
- eCommerce business
How to Setup Business in Abu Dhabi Mainland?
The journey that leads to your company formation in Abu Dhabi Mainland is pretty simple if you know the correct sequence of steps, relevant authorities, and documentation involved in the entire process. Let’s discuss each of these crucial steps one by one.
Step 01 – Choose your business activity
Choosing a suitable business activity for your business is the first and most vital step in the entire company formation process in Abu Dhabi Mainland. The business activity(s) you choose determines your company’s industry, scale, and legal structure. It also categorizes your business for the relevant trade license eligibility.
Some business activities in Abu Dhabi Mainland are not permitted. Similarly, you need extra approvals depending on the legal structure of your business. Therefore, it is recommended to opt for an experienced business formation services provider who can guide you throughout the process.
Step 02 – Reserve your trade name
After choosing your business activity, it’s time to finalize the tradename to give identity to your business. Your tradename differentiates your business from other companies in the UAE by giving it a unique identification. Once you select your business trade name after ensuring its availability, you must reserve it by registering your tradename with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.
To avoid rejection, ensure the following aspects before applying for a Trade name reservation with ADDED:
- The acronym of the proposed legal structure of your company follows your trade name. For instance, [Your Trade Name] LLC for Limited Liability Company.
- Your trade name must not contradict the Emirates’ religious, social, and moral values.
- Your trade name must be unique and not preoccupied with another business. (Ensure its availability at TAMM)
- It must not contain words or phrases reserved for government entities and departments.
Step 03 – Get initial approval
Getting initial approval doesn’t mean you can start your business operations with your business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland. It’s an initial approval to let you proceed further with trade license issuance, reservation of office space, etc. The initial approval starts with submitting an application to the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Corporation, which first recognizes and authorizes your debut in the UAE market as a legally accepted business entity.
Step 04 – Get additional approvals
As we have discussed earlier, apart from the mainstream roadmap, you need to take care of additional approvals and documentation depending on the legal form, trade license category, and business activities you choose for your business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland. For instance, you need additional approval from relevant authorities to register your business for financial services.
To get clear direction at this stage, consult Airzone to onboard with the right business formation service providers. Business formation services and consultancy firms in the UAE with proven experience in serving various businesses can make your entire journey hassle-free.
Step 05 – Get your trade license
Once you complete all the approvals, attestation, and documentation, the last step is to apply for your trade license. The Department of Economic Development of the concerned state governs the Mainland jurisdictions. For your business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland, your license approval and provisioning authority is the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.
Once you get your trade license, you can start your business activities and leverage the perks of the booming UAE economy. There is no shortcut to the process, and you must abide by all the rules and directions framed by the concerned authorities. After you get your trade license, you can apply to open a create a corporate bank account.
Abu Dhabi Mainland Company Formation Requirements
Apart from the documents required for additional approvals, you need the following documents to get your trade license.
- A photocopy of your passport
- If you’re already in the United Arab Emirates, a copy of your visa
- If you live in the United Arab Emirates, a copy of your Emirates ID
- If you are not a resident of the UAE, you must provide proof of residency in your home country
- Articles of Incorporation/Documents for Forming a Company
- A copy of the lease for the rented commercial space
- Any other documents as necessary
License Options & Cost in Abu Dhabi Mainland
You can apply for any of these 6 different trade licenses for your company formation in Abu Dhabi Mainland.
- Commercial license
- Crafts license
- Agricultural license
- Professional license
- Industrial license
- Tourism license
The cost of an Abu Dhabi trade license may change depending on the type of business you want to start. An estimation of what to expect from a general trading license can be found below.
- The fee for Local Sponsor MOA is around 12,000 AED
- The fee for Commercial License is anywhere between 8000–15000 AED
- The administrative fee is anywhere between 3000–45000 AED
- AED 5000 is required for an office space’s rental fee
- E-channel fee is around 2200 AED
The entire cost of the trading license in Abu Dhabi is AED 38,700. It is crucial to note that this is the first time the expenditure has been incurred. There are several aspects that you do not have to pay for, and the cost decreases dramatically in the second year.
Cost to Setup Business in Abu Dhabi Mainland
Apart from capital investment which is subjective to the scale and industry of your business, the cost of company formation in Abu Dhabi Mainland involves a trade license cost of up to AED 30,000. The trade license you get for Mainland company formation is valid for two years with a hassle-free license renewal process. To get the perfect estimate of your trade license and business setup cost, connect with Airzone to find the right business consultancy service provider.
Business Activities Allowed & Restricted in Abu Dhabi Mainland
You can choose from 1,105 business activities allowed with 100% foreign ownership in Abu Dhabi Mainland. The liberty to exercise 100% business ownership for foreign investors came after the UAE government’s step to amend the UAE corporate law in 2020.
The business activities strictly prohibited and illegal in Abu Dhabi Mainland include:
- Importing food products containing pork
- Publishing of pornographic content
- Sale or purchase of drugs
- Production and sales of alcoholic beverages
- Any sort of direct or facilitating services for gambling and casinos
How Airzone Can Help You Set up Business in Abu Dhabi Mainland?
If you are planning to start a new business, Airzone can be your ultimate business formation advisor, providing you with all the essential knowledge, insights, and connections to successfully set up a business in Abu Dhabi Mainland.
We can help you find the right business formation services provider for all the crucial stages of company formation in Abu Dhabi Mainland, including:
- Trade name registration
- Trade license approval
- Getting your establishment card
- Applying for a UAE residence visa
- Opening a corporate bank account, etc.
If you face any confusion in your company formation journey for your Mainland or Free Zone business setup, get in touch with Airzone today.
The UAE is growing in popularity among young entrepreneurs and overseas investors due to its business-friendly infrastructure. With neighboring GCC countries and quick access to the entire Asian market, UAE is undoubtedly an auspicious venue for businesses of all niches and scales.
Abu Dhabi, the capital and most modernized Emirate, attracts most of this limelight. If you want to significantly grow your overseas business with the freedom to operate your business on your terms, a business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland is a perfect choice.
To discover how Dubai can be another incredible option for your business setup, check out our separate guide about business setup in Dubai. Apart from Mailand Jurisdictions, you can also opt for various free zones UAE with additional benefits like 0% corporate tax and 0% customs duties.