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Opening a Company in Abu Dhabi

Opening a Company in Abu Dhabi

The United Arab Emirates encourages local and foreign investors to set up companies in all Emirates. Among the most successful Emirates in the UAE is Abu Dhabi. Company registration in Abu Dhabi is quite simple and fast if all the documents are correctly prepared and if all the necessary licenses are obtained. Foreign investors may also register companies in Abu Dhabi, if they partner with a local investor, or in one of Abu Dhabi’s free zones which allow 100% foreign ownership.

Our company formation agents in Dubai can also help you register a company in Abu Dhabi.

Main steps to register a company in Abu Dhabi

When opening a new business in Abu Dhabi, local and foreign investors must follow the next steps:

  • obtain a trade name approval from the Department of Planning and Economy,
  • conclude a tenancy agreement,
  • conclude a partnership agreement or a services agency agreement which must be notarized,
  • obtain a license with the competent authority.

All the above documents together with other relevant information must be submitted with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Abu Dhabi.

What are the types of companies to be registered in Abu Dhabi?

Foreign investors have two possibilities to incorporate a company in Abu Dhabi – a 100% foreign-owned company within a free zone or a company in which they must have a local partner. In the category of wholly foreign-owned companies, one may register:

The other types of companies available for registration in Abu Dhabi are:

  •  sole proprietorships,
  •  general and limited partnerships,
  •  private and public joint-stock companies,
  •  limited liability companies,
  •  subsidiaries,
  •  branch offices.

You can rely on our experts in Dubai for details about the Companies Law in the UAE. They can also help you open a business in any UAE emirate, such as Dubai. The conditions are almost identical and the registration can be completed in just a few days with the Company Register in Dubai. The Economic Department will approve your company and it will issue a license, according to the industry in which your company operates. 

What are the available types of business licenses in Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi provides six types of business licenses for investors setting up companies in the Emirate. These are:

  •  the commercial license for conducting trading activities,
  •  the agricultural license,
  •  the professional license for individuals carrying out physical activities such as carpentry or masonry,
  •  the occupational license for consultants, lawyers, journalists,
  •  the industrial license,
  •  the tourism license.

Establishing a branch in Abu Dhabi

International companies have the opportunity of expanding the business in the UAE and particularly in Abu Dhabi, the capital of this country, by establishing a branch. Foreign investors can have 100% ownership in the branch they want to register, if the incorporation is made in Abu Dhabi’s free trade zones, with the mention that such structure must develop the same activities as in the country of origin. All the operations of the branch must be reported to the parent company, due to its dependent status of such structure. It is important to know that the Ministry of Economy issues the approvals for opening a branch in Abu Dhabi. In matters of documents, The Articles of Association need to be drafted and submitted to the local Trade Register after the name verification and reservation are made. Finally, if all the documents are accepted, the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi will issue the Certificate of Incorporation. Instead of dealing with the formalities for establishing a branch in Abu Dhabi, we recommend you talk to one of our specialists in company formation in Dubai.

Establishing a subsidiary in Abu Dhabi

Subsidiaries are independent legal entities that can be easily established in Abu Dhabi by foreign company owners who want to develop their operations in the UAE. The private or public limited liability companies are the most common structures for establishing a subsidiary in Abu Dhabi, due to a series of advantages, like fast incorporation, a flexible structure, no personal liability of owners for the LLC obligations. Just like in the case of branches, the Articles of Association are the main documents of subsidiaries, with information about the owners, their nationality, the activities of the firm, voting rights, general rules and many more. International businessmen who want to set up subsidiaries in Abu Dhabi can get in touch with one of our company formation agents in Dubai for complete details and information.

VAT registration in Abu Dhabi

The VAT was introduced in the UAE in January 2018 and was set at a standard rate of 5% applied to specific goods and services available for sale purposes and paid by the final consumer. Foreign companies with establishments in Abu Dhabi must register for VAT if they intend to sell different products on the market. The same obligation for VAT registration is imposed for companies importing goods in Abu Dhabi if the value of such products exceed AED 187,500/year. Once the VAT is imposed and collected from the final consumers, this tax is then directed to the financial authorities in Abu Dhabi. For information about how you can register for VAT purposes, feel free to get in touch with one of our company formation agents in Dubai. They can help you with the preparation of documents and deal with the entitled authorities in Abu Dhabi.

Can I open a representative office in Abu Dhabi?

Yes, a representative office can be the choice of international entrepreneurs interested in the business market in Abu Dhabi. Such offices cannot have financial operations, but they can develop varied marketing and promo activities, in order to verify the business sector in which your company will activate and to create connections and partnerships with potential customers and collaborators. It is quite easy to set up a representative office in Abu Dhabi and present your business in this city, however, it is recommended to ask for the support of our consultants.

Making investments in Abu Dhabi

The UAE is a highly appreciated business destination for international players who want to thrive in this part of Asia and benefit from an appealing and solid climate for all sorts of activities. Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE is an important and solid financial center that hosts a wide range of businesses and companies activating in the financial and services sector, tourism, insurance, engineering, IT & communication, research & development, healthcare, etc. The UAE is one of the strongest financial centers in the Middle East that you might find it quite appealing for business and profits. Here are some facts and figures about the economy and business of UAE:

  1. Nearly USD 140,000 million was the total FDI stock registered by UAE in 2018;
  2. 378 was the total number of greenfield investments registered in the UAE in 2018;
  3. The World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report ranks UAE 16th out of 190 economies in the world;
  4. The diversified economy and the low energy costs are among the business benefits of UAE, very much appreciated by foreign investors.

For information about company licensing requirements in Abu Dhabi, please contact our Dubai company incorporation agents.