Business setup in Abu Dhabi Mainland

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. As such, the national headquarters of all the major Government-run companies are located in Abu Dhabi. This means that it is easier to enter into lucrative Government contracts with a company in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi also has its own international airport as well as three major seaports. Khalifa Port serves the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, which is one of the largest industrial free trade zones in the Middle East. Port Musaffah was built to supplement Port Zayed and now serves the Musaffah Industrial Area. Port Zayed has a cruise terminal, with tourism gaining prominence in the emirate. Abu Dhabi also hosts the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, as well as a Formula 1 race every year.

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How to Register a Company in Abu Dhabi

The first step is to identify the exact business activities that your company will be into. It is indeed possible for a company to engage in more than one business activity, should it so desire. A single Business License is issued for all the business activities that the company proposes to undertake.

As of 2021, a Local Sponsor is no longer required for most business activities. However, certain business activities such as Construction and Defence do require a Local Sponsor. The Local Sponsor must be an Emirati (this is the term used to refer to citizens of the United Arab Emirates) who has attained the age of 21 or a company incorporated in the United Arab Emirates that is fully owned by Emiratis. The Local Sponsor is to own 51% of the company.

It is recommended that you get in touch with a business setup consultant who can advise you on whether a Local Sponsor is required for the commercial activity that you have in mind for your company. A good business setup consultant can put you in touch with the right Local Sponsor, who has experience with the laws and regulations concerning the business activity proposed.

This is not to say that the Local Sponsor takes an active interest in the running of your company. He/She can agree to a hands-off approach, entrusting the Power of Attorney to you so that you remain in full control over your own company. The Local Sponsor is to be paid a Local Sponsor Fee in return for his/her services, which includes legally representing your company before all Government agencies. The Local Sponsor helps arrange visas for yourself, your dependent family members, and your staff.

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List of Documents Required for Company Registration in Abu Dhabi

The copies of the passport, visa, Emirates ID, and/or proof of residency (as applicable accordingly) needs to be furnished for every individual shareholder. For setting up a Branch Office or Representative Office, the company formation documents of the parent company, duly translated if in a foreign language, also needs to be submitted as part of the process.

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Why Choose Us for
Opening a Company in Abu Dhabi?

We have years of experience helping open companies on the mainland in Abu Dhabi. We willingly go above and beyond the call of duty, such as by letting you know of the things you should be aware of. You can count on us to tell you beforehand that there are certain rules that pertain to company nomenclature, such as the names of countries not being allowed. Religious names are prohibited by law, and the name of your company cannot begin with terms like ‘Global’ or ‘International’.

Nationalities and the names of geographical regions are allowed. First names may be allowed as long as they are the first name of one of the shareholders. We can run a search to see if the name you have in mind is available, or whether it has already been registered by another business entity. We work closely with our in-house team of legal experts to ensure that everything is above board, as it should be.

For more details, get in touch.