10 Things You Need to Know About Business Setup in AbuDhabi

10 Things You Need to Know About Business Setup in AbuDhabi

Are you looking to start a business in Abu Dhabi? Have you been told that the process is complicated and difficult? This article will outline 10 things you need to know about doing business in Abu Dhabi. By following these tips, your new company will be off to a smooth start.

1) Government registration:

Registering your new company can be done at the Department of Economic Development (DED). Registration fees are only AED 50 with no annual renewal fee. To register a branch office, there is an additional AED 100 charge per branch office location with no annual renewal fee for each additional location. The standard time period from submission until approval is four working days but it may take longer depending on what type of license or permit is needed by the company.

2) Business Licensing:

There are numerous licenses and permits that may be required depending on what type of business is being started by the company and where it is located within Abu Dhabi (i.e., Capital District, Al Ain, etc.). All companies must have a General Trading License from DED to conduct any business transactions within Abu Dhabi. This license is free and can be obtained after your business is registered with DED.

3) Market Research:

The market research department of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), located in central Abu Dhabi, may require a fee to conduct market research but it will save you money in the long run by providing you with valuable market information to increase your profit margin.

4) All companies are required to have three local national employees. This requirement is waived for companies in the free zones but it might be helpful to include nationals in management positions since they are more likely to understand the culture and customs of the country which will help your business succeed in the region.

5) Banks in Abu Dhabi look to one thing when determining whether or not to grant a business loan: Credit Score. A company’s credit score is determined based on its own financial statements and those of its owners (or shareholders). Thus, it is important that you set up your company in such a way that you will be able to obtain a favorable credit score.

Starting a business: company formation in the UAE

6) Abu Dhabi has no value-added tax (VAT). All companies that conduct business in the UAE are subject to federal sales tax, currently 5%. However, the local governments also levy additional tariffs for certain goods. Be sure to check with DED or CCI before importing any items of significant value as it is possible that an import license is required.

7) Abu Dhabi is a destination country and not a source of goods or services. This means that all businesses within Abu Dhabi must be either service-oriented (i.e., reta.). If you are planning to import goods into the UAE, contact the Business Registration Department at DED or CCI before beginning your operation.

8) Abu Dhabi’s GDP is projected to be $331 billion USD in 2015. The emirate accounted for nearly 29% of all economic activities within the UAE in 2009 and ranked third among Arab countries, consulting, etc.) or produce goods for export (i.e., aluminum, steel, etc in GDP per capita.

9) It is permissible for a company to have foreign ownership of 100%. There are no limitations on the number of shareholders that can own a percentage of your company. However, there are significant restrictions on the nationality of non-Emirati employees. In general, companies employing more than 20% non-nationals will be considered a “foreign-owned company” and will be subject to more stringent requirements that may include obtaining an import license for certain goods.

10) All companies that employ non-nationals are required to pay the employees’ visa fees, work permit fees, health insurance, salary compensation according to the UAE’s minimum wage scale (currently $202.50 per month), and all other fees associated with the employment of non-national employees.


10 Things You Need to Know About Business Setup in AbuDhabi. To set up a company in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, you need to obtain at least one trade license and register your business with the Department of Economic Development (DED). These two steps will allow you to legally operate as a company within UAE law. In addition, you should also get an Emirates ID card from DHA for any employee that needs it-this is required by Ministry of Labour Law No 12 on the employment relationship. If this sounds overwhelming, leave all these tasks to us!