Trade License Abu Dhabi: Cost, Requirements, Benefits


Abu Dhabi is one of the best emirates to business and set up a company, but why exactly? This is also one of the wealthiest and fastest-growing markets in the country. Besides, it offers the best conditions for investors to develop their companies. The variety of types of business trade licenses in Abu Dhabi is one of the advantages of this emirate.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the business licenses in Abu Dhabi. For example, here you are going to discover the available types of licenses and the application process. Furthermore, you will learn some relevant information about how to set up your business in this emirate. Let’s observe:

What is a Business License and Why Do You Need it?

A business license is a legal document that the local authorities provide to investors and entrepreneurs in a certain location. The main function of this document is to allow these business people to build and operate their businesses legally. Therefore, acquiring a business license is essential during the business setup process.

And what could happen if an investor operates a business without a proper license? In that case, he/she would have to face certain difficulties, including additional fees and restrictions as penalties. The worst scenario could be that their company would be shut down for not meeting the requirements for running a business.

In order to have a business license in Abu Dhabi, it’s important to consider several factors before. For example, the investor must evaluate all types of business trade licenses in Abu Dhabi that are available. Besides, it’s also vital to consider the size of the company, the business activities, the selected jurisdictions, and more.

The size of your company is also important and that will depend on the budget you have at your disposal. In case you have a low budget, you can apply for a small business trade license in Abu Dhabi. This can provide you with a great advantage to make your business grow in a matter of time.

How Many types of Business Trade Licenses can you find in Abu Dhabi?

Before establishing your business, you should take a look at the available types of business licenses in Abu Dhabi. Besides, you will need to choose your business activities and the jurisdiction too. Once you have made your decision, you will be able to choose which license fits your business better.

Commercial license.

This is probably the most common license that investors can obtain in the emirate. The Abu Dhabi trade license activities list includes several activities that investors are allowed to carry out. For example, with this license, they can perform activities related to trading, contracts, real estate, healthcare, transport of goods and services, etc.

Professional license.

As for this license, it is a special document that allows individual professionals to carry out their activities. For instance, if you’re a doctor, engineer, accountant, lawyer, or any other kind of professional, you can get this license. Regardless of your nationality, you can obtain it; nonetheless, you must adhere to certain regulations and rules.

Industrial license.

On the other hand, if you desire to open a factory in this emirate, you should apply for this license. With this license, you will be able to carry out industrial-related activities, including importing raw materials to manufacture. Other allowed activities are assembling, packaging, and exporting finished products. Since the manufacturing sector has been growing in Abu Dhabi, this can be a great opportunity for you.

Tourism license.

Among the types of business licenses in Abu Dhabi, you can also find the tourism license. This one covers tourism-related activities, which is why it’s only valid for travel and tourism businesses. Most importantly, with this license, investors can make their businesses more efficient besides increasing their legitimacy.

Agricultural license.

As for the agricultural license, this license is only available for those who own arable and livestock farms and fisheries. In other words, if you are an owner of agricultural land, you’ll need this document to run your business. Make sure to meet the required conditions before applying for an agricultural license.

Craftsmanship license.

And lastly, you can apply for this type of license if you practice a craft for profit. Besides, this license is specially issued for those who use tools and equipment plus physical effort. For instance, companies related to carpentry, printing, and blacksmithing are the sort of businesses that need a craftsmanship license.

How Can You Apply for a Business license in the UAE

You must follow a few steps to obtain any of the types of business licenses in Abu Dhabi:

  • Approach the relevant authority that issues your selected type of license.
  • Submit the required documents along with the application form. In some cases, additional documents could be necessary.
  • Wait for the authorities to review your application. Once the review is done, you’ll be referred to the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce for membership.
  • The concerned authorities will do a field visit to make sure that you fulfill all terms conditions.
  • If they confirm that you in fact fulfill all terms and conditions, they will issue your license.

Where can investors obtain a Business License in Abu Dhabi?

obtain a Business License in Abu Dhabi

You can obtain a business license in any of the available business locations in Abu Dhabi. There are two main options that you can choose which are free zones and the mainland. Each of these alternatives offers different benefits, so you must evaluate each one before making a decision.

Also, it is important to mention that each of them allows different types of entities or company formations. For example, free zones usually accept free zone companies and branches only, while the mainland accepts LLCs mostly. In any case, let’s take a look at some relevant information about them to help you understand their conditions better.

Abu Dhabi Free Zones.

The main authority that issues business licenses in the Abu Dhabi free zones is the Free Zone Authority. Among the advantages that you can have here, there is 100% ownership of your company. Besides, you can also enjoy several tax exemptions to boost your business even more. You can find 8 free zones in this emirate, which are the following ones:

  • Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ).
  • The Industrial City of Abu Dhabi.
  • Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD).
  • Abu Dhabi Ports Company Free Zone (ADPC).
  • Masdar City Free Zone.
  • Abu Dhabi Global Markets Free Zone (ADGMFZ).
  • Twofour54.
  • Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp).

Abu Dhabi Mainland.

The mainland is another commercial location that helps investors and entrepreneurs to make their companies grow exponentially. Due to its legal guidelines and regularized policies, Abu Dhabi is one of the most developed cities in the UAE. If you want to set up your business here, you should analyze the allowed entities.

The most common business structure in this location is the LLC structure. In other words, the owner of the company can have 49% of shares. Meanwhile, the remaining 51% of shares are held by a local sponsor. Therefore, you should also find a reliable local sponsor to operate your business in Abu Dhabi Mainland.

Abu Dhabi business license: What Documents are Needed?

In order to get any of the available types of business licenses in Abu Dhabi, you need to submit your paperwork. Among the required documents, you will have to gather and submit the following ones:

  • Copies of the shareholders’ passports.
  • A copy of your residence permit.
  • The certificate of trade name.
  • A copy of the tenancy contract.
  • Copy of the Memorandum of Association.
  • A letter in which the authorities approve the business activities of the company.
  • A copy of the letter from your selected bank that authenticates the claimed finances of the company.

Additional documents may be necessary depending on several factors, like the selected jurisdiction or type of business license.

What is the Process for Setting Up a Company in an Abu Dhabi Free Zone?

Setting Up a Company in an Abu Dhabi Free Zone

Opening a company in a free zone is a simple process that involves a few steps to follow. For instance, these are some general steps of the business setup process:

  • Firstly, you need to determine your business activities and the free zone you want to settle in.
  • Secondly, register your trade name and apply for the business license that your business requires.
  • And lastly, you must obtain the required approvals and receive your license. After completing this easy process, you can start operating your company in Abu Dhabi.

UAE Company Formation Costs

Besides considering the cost of a business license, there are some other costs that you must consider. Since setting up a company can involve different elements according to the location, let’s analyze each option. If you’ll choose a free zone, you must be aware of the following factors:

  • The registration fee.
  • The name reservation fee.
  • Annual license fee.
  • The share capital.
  • The annual rental for premises.
  • Visa per person.

On the other hand, if you choose to set up on the mainland, you must consider these costs:

  • The incorporation fees.
  • The sponsor fees.
  • Legal fees.
  • The government and third-party taxes (including trade license, legal translation, notary fees, and other details).
  • Visa per person.

8. How can Connectfz help you Obtain a Business license in Abu Dhabi?

If you want to set up your business in an Abu Dhabi free zone, you need to get a license. The application process for obtaining one of the many types of business licenses in Abu Dhabi is simple. But it can be easier with Connectfz as your business setup partner.

Choosing our team means making the setup process more efficient and having more resources and services. Besides, you will have many available options to choose from when selecting a free zone or a business license. Also, we offer different affordable packages that include several elements, such as licenses, facilities, visas, and many others.

Moreover, you can make some improvements to your company once it’s set up in your chosen location. All you have to do is to contact us and request our different support services. Among our available services, you can find banking services, recruitment, staff outsourcing, payroll, and many other useful services.

Would you like to contact Connectfz to obtain more information about the process to open a corporate bank account in Dubai? If you have any questions, call us on +97143316688. You can email us at, and you will talk to one of our representatives who will answer your questions.

Riju Karappurath

Avatar photoRiju KarappurathHe is an accomplished Business Development Executive with a strong background in driving revenue growth and fostering strategic partnerships. Known for his proactive approach and keen market insight, he excels in identifying new business opportunities, developing innovative strategies, and building long-lasting client relationships.

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