Best office space in abu dhabi



How and why to start business in Abu Dhabi

Many people forget that Abu Dhabi is the largest Emirate and this is the reason it is considered the capital of the UAE. Located on the south-eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, besides the Persian Gulf. The city constitutes more than three-quarters of the area of the country of UAE, Abu Dhabi is the second most crowded Emirate in the federation, second only to Dubai

Abu Dhabi is considered to have almost 10% of the world’s oil reserves and is also one of the biggest oil producers in the world but the government of UAE has understood that it cannot solely rely on the proceeds of the Oil and Natural Gas sector. Abu Dhabi has been investing in and funding new ventures in different sectors such as Real Estate, Manufacturing Industries, Retail, and Tourism etc. since the early 2009.

Abu Dhabi is one of the best locations for setting up a business as it has easier connections to markets in different countries and also it has its own fast-growing market. This makes it one of the best places for setting up a business for an up and coming entrepreneur. The process of setting up a company is fairly easy and simple and also it takes only a few days to set up a new business in Abu Dhabi, depending upon the type of business and the location.


Why Set Up New Business in Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi, being the administrative capital of the UAE, is one of the most sought-after offshoring places in the world. It accounts for 95% of the countrys total oil reserve and offers diverse investment occasions to almost all economic sectors.

Apart from the fact that it is prosperous and safe, setting up a business in Abu Dhabi is much preferred due to its transparent and flexible business setup procedures. Unlike in a few countries, it just takes a few days to set up a new company or open an offshore branch of your company in Abu Dhabi. For that, you must fulfill the required guidelines correctly.

Here are a few other advantages of setting up a business in Abu Dhabi:

--Abu Dhabi occupies a prominent location between Europe, Asia, and Africa – and thus has close access from the rest of the world

--The Emirate allows for 100% foreign ownership and provides an exemption from corporate and personal income tax

--There are no foreign exchange controls, quotas or trade barriers

--The living standards in Abu Dhabi are top-notch, with world-class facilities in healthcare, residences, recreation, education, and transportation.

Company Formation in Abu Dhabi

Mainland company in Abu Dhabi

Maxhome is conversant with the company formation laws and regulations in Abu Dhabi and can help you set up your business here, availing the required licenses. You can choose from among a free zone or a mainland company in Abu Dhabi.

Free Zone Company Abu Dhabi

Free Zone company formation offers single-window administration and is authorized as an independent jurisdiction that allows an expatriate businessperson to own a company wholly (100%). There is no requirement to appoint a UAE national as a service agent of a branch or as a partner if the business is set up in a free zone. Setting up a business in the UAE has certain restrictions, so, free zones act as a gateway to carry on international business trade. However, local (UAE) supply of goods has to be channeled through local distributors, and the business is supposed to pay a 5% customs duty for it. Abu Dhabi Free Zone authority provides a perfect gateway for smooth registration of companies in the Emirate.

Abu Dhabi is one of the best locations for setting up a business as it has easier connections to markets in different countries and also it has its own fast-growing market. This makes it one of the best places for setting up a business for an up and coming entrepreneur. The process of setting up a company is fairly easy and simple and also it takes only a few days to set up a new business in Abu Dhabi, depending upon the type of business and the location.

Free zones in Abu Dhabi issue licenses

Commercial Trading


Branch of a Foreign Company


Company Incorporation in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Economic Department is the licensing department that assigns licenses for all kinds of businesses in Abu Dhabi, except for the free zones. A company in Abu Dhabi can take one of the following legal forms:

Sole Proprietorship

An investor can set up a new business in Abu Dhabi as a sole trader. One needs to appoint a UAE national with 51% shares as a service agent. Doctors, lawyers, and engineers mostly use this type of corporate structure.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

LLC is one of the most common entities that an investor chooses for company setup Abu Dhabi. It is a separate legal entity, i.e., separate from its owner, shareholders, and the persons who run it, the directors. An LLC company formation in Abu Dhabi must appoint a minimum of one director and two shareholders.


Under this, foreigners are strictly prohibited from forming a partnership company in Abu Dhabi. This type of business structure is limited only to the UAE nationals.

Public Shareholding Company

PSC is also called as Joint Stock Company in Abu Dhabi. It is suitable for large projects or operations, involving a significant investment of funds or raising private or public capital. A PSC in Abu Dhabi can have a minimum of ten founders of which at least 51% must be owned by a UAE national

Joint Ventures

A joint venture is a contractual arrangement between a foreign party and a regional party licensed to engage in the desired business activity. The joint ventures in the UAE are established in the form of an LLC. In practice, joint partners are seen as allowing a suitable structure for companies working together on specific projects.

Branch of a Local (UAE) Company

Unlike a foreign company branch office, UAE registered companies having a chapter in the UAE can sell or distribute goods in the country.


Things to Know Before Company Registration in Abu Dhabi

Local Sponsor

Local Sponsor in general terms refers to the local service agents and the nominee shareholders in the Mainland companies in Abu Dhabi with foreign investment. A sponsor must be an Emirati (UAE national) with a family membership card. If an individual wants their business to start in Abu Dhabi mainland, then they must have a local sponsor. A local sponsor in Abu Dhabi is mandated to own 51% of shares in the business, while foreign investors will own the remaining 49%. While choosing a local sponsor, it is essential to understand what one wants from them.

Chamber Membership

Law No. (7) of 1998 requires all the nationals and foreigners, involved in any commercial, industrial, professional, or vocational activity within Abu Dhabi Emirate, whether they are individuals, branches or companies, must join the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and obtain its membership as a prerequisite to acquiring a business license in Abu Dhabi.

PRO Services

Every company in Abu Dhabi requires the services of a Government Liaison Officer, otherwise known as a Public Relations Office or PRO. Abu Dhabi PRO services refer to all activities related to processing governmental documents and paperwork, such as visa applications, company trade licensing documentation and approvals, and labor cards.

PRO services in Abu Dhabi include

Document attestation

Visa renewals and cancellation

Trade license

Regulatory approvals

General document clearance

UAE certified legal translation


What is the Procedure for Business Setup in Abu Dhabi?

1. Determine the Type of Economic Activities

It behaves you to gain a clear understanding of your intended business activity before initiating the procedures, since legal proceedings and fee may vary depending on the character of your business.

2. Find a Local Sponsor

As per the UAE jurisdiction, foreign companies need a local sponsor (a service agent or a company owned by UAE nationals) to open a branch office in Abu Dhabi. A local sponsor will facilitate the necessary licenses for the branch office without bearing any liability to capital contribution or losses.

3. Determine the Legal Form of Business

Rules and regulations are different for different ownership types and business establishments. You need to select a legal entity type to run your business.

4. Register Your Trade Name

A trade name distinguishes a company and describes its nature and legal form. We help our clients in not only setting up a business in Abu Dhabi but also in registering a trading name from the list of registered trade names provided by the Department of Economic Development (DED).

5. Fulfill Licensing Requirements

The various types of licenses issued by the Abu Dhabi licensing authority are:

Agricultural License

Commercial License

Industrial License

Professional License

Tourism License

Vocational License

6. Get Special Approvals

A foreign investor is required to obtain approvals from the following authorities:

Abu Dhabi Customs Authority

Abu Dhabi Distribution Company

Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC)

Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority

Central Bank

Medical Council

Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Health

Ministry of Civil Aviation

Ministry of Economy

Supreme Petroleum Council

Telecommunications Regulatory Authority

7. Obtain the Initial Approval

An approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs - Abu Dhabi (GDRFA) is necessary for international investors before making the initial approval. An initial approval certificate is expected to continue with the business licensing formalities that permit foreign nationals to practice their desired business activity in Abu Dhabi. We help our clients get all the necessary approvals from the concerned officials, including the DED, and help them pay legal the fee for getting a business license issued.