In order to perform any sort of economic activity in Abu Dhabi, your company will have to obtain an economic licence.
Based on the place of incorporation and the types of economic activities you select, you may need to obtain one of the following licenses:
Standard economic licence
This licence is required for any entity willing to start any type of economic activity on the mainland or within a free zone.
If your company is incorporated on the mainland (including one of 20 industrial zones), the issuing body for the licence will be the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED).
In addition to the standard application submitted to ADDED, certain types of economic activities may require additional approvals or no objection certificates from other governmental agencies.
You can submit your application through Abu Dhabi Business Centre. The portal is user-friendly and will provide you with a four-step application process.
The forms can be submitted by yourself or by your legal representative in Abu Dhabi. If you are already in the UAE, you can apply at one of 14 ADDED and TAMM branches across the emirate.
For TAMM branches and service centre visit addata.gov.ae
If you are incorporating your business in one of the five free zones, your economic licence will be issued by the selected free zone on behalf of ADDED.
Free zones have streamlined processes and dedicated investor support teams that will help you to navigate through all the necessary procedures.
Instant economic licence
Instant licence is a fast-tracked economic licence issued by ADDED for certain economic activities not requiring other governmental approvals. The instant licence is currently available only to three types of legal forms:
Limited Liability Company
In addition to the Abu Dhabi Business Centre portal and ADDED branch, you can also apply for an instant licence through TAMM (tamm.abudhabi), which will guide you through each step of the process and provide you with additional information on the licensing process.
The dual licence initiative from ADDED allows free zone companies to have access to onshore project tenders without an onshore office or premise. An extended dual licence is also available and allows companies to engage with both local Abu Dhabi and federal UAE government entities.
While the exact document requirements will vary depending on application channel, below is a list of typical document requirements:
Trade name certificate
Copy of valid passport of any owner(s)
Copy of valid Emirates ID of any owner(s)
Power of Attorney – if applying as a representative
Copy of valid tenancy contract attested by a local municipality (applicable
to certain activities)
Copy of the memorandum of association attested by the notary public
Copy of the Directorate of Naturalisation and Residence’s approval if the investor is a foreigner
It is important to note that all the required documents must be in Arabic. Documents can be translated into Arabic and attested by legal translators. The licence application may only be submitted by you personally or your lawful attorney.
For more information about investing in Abu Dhabi, download the complete Abu Dhabi Investor Guide on ADIO's website, or through the download box below: