The Department of Economic Development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi plays an important role in the advancement of investment and commercial opportunities for citizens and residents, and encourages the establishment of businesses through quick and easy processes.
Steps to Establish a Business (online/traditional)
- Determine the legal form.
- The nature of work and economic activity.
- Trade name registration.
- Initial approval.
- Memorandum of association and agreement with the local service agent.
- Site identification and selection.
- Governmental approval.
- Issuance and receipt of the trade license.
Establishing a Business Online
The UAE has made it possible for the investor to establish his business through traditional methods or via the Internet. Should the investor choose to establish a business online, the process is quick and easy, taking no longer than fifteen minutes.
In the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Business Center provides another electronic service that allows the investor to extract his commercial license online, and without having to visit a service center.
In Dubai, the Dubai Virtual District Program was launched by the Department of Economic Development in partnership with other local government agencies, which provided the opportunity for professionals, investors and entrepreneurs, to establish their virtual commercial companies in Dubai and obtain the necessary trade license, without this being resident in the country.
Types of Commercial Licenses
There are six types of commercial licenses that may be applied for through the website of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development or directly from the Department’s offices, namely, commercial, agricultural, craft, professional, industrial, and tourism licenses.
These licenses are issued to owners of companies or establishments that conduct business, such as:
• Public Commerce
• Real Estate
These licenses are issued to owners of the plant, animal or marine production farms.
These licenses are issued to craftsmen, such as:
These licenses are issued to professionals, such as:
• Law Firms
• Auditing Firms
These licenses are issued to the owners of factories of all kinds, and those who engage in manufacturing activities where products are sold for profit.
These licenses are issued to owners of establishments that specialize in tourism activities, such as:
• Travel Agents
• Excursion Boat rental companies
• Tourist Camps
Steps for issuing a Commercial License in Abu Dhabi
The following simple steps have been established by the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi to obtain a trade license:
- Determine the name of the business.
- Service agent agreement for expatriate investors.
- Presentation of the lease contract authenticated by the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities.
- Approval of the General Administration of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs for Security.
- Approval of external parties, where necessary.
- Pay the prescribed fees for commercial activity.
The following documentation must be provided to obtain a trade license:
- Initial approval.
- A copy of the rental contract authentication certificate.
- The Articles of Incorporation, duly certified.
- Approval of other government agencies for the activity, where required.
- A duly attested contract for appointing a service agent/company agent.
- Proof of payment of prescribed fees.
The value of the fees for registering commercial activities varies from one commercial activity to another. Thus, since there are no fixed fees specified for all types of commercial licenses, the public may view the fees on the website of the Abu Dhabi Business Center. The investor may also reserve and apply for the trade name and enquire about its availability through the same website.
After completing the above-mentioned steps, the customer can obtain the commercial license through the service delivery centers of the economic departments and through the electronic services platforms of the department.
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