Abu Dhabi free zone
Abu Dhabi free zone license | Abu Dhabi Free Zone
When establishing a new Abu Dhabi Business License, one of the first decisions one makes is whether to do so on the mainland (sometimes referred to as ‘onshore’) or in a free zone (sometimes referred to as ‘offshore’).
Abu Dhabi’s free zone license has five free zones that cover multiple industries and sectors. This article aims to give a broad overview of the different free zone options available in Abu Dhabi. We will also briefly describe the differences between mainland and free zone companies.
Abu Dhabi’s free zone license is the federal capital of the United Arab Emirates and the largest of the 7 emirates, occupying more than 80% of the country’s total land. There are several free zones in Abu Dhabi, which offer a favorable environment for business setup in the Emirates and provide a gateway for foreign investors to tap its full potential.
LIST OF FREE ABI ZONES IN ABU DHABI
Whether it’s logistics, media, or small businesses, the free zones in Abu Dhabi cover various industries. Currently, business owners and entrepreneurs can choose to set up their company in any of the following zones:
- Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)
- Masdar City Free Zone
- Twofour54 Abu Dhabi (Media Free Zone Authority)
- Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)
- Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD)
- Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)
- Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp)
- Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone (KPIZ)
Types of Legal Entities in Abu Dhabi Free Zone
A corporate or individual entity can register their venture in Abu Dhabi free zones, in any one of the following ways:
1. Free Zone Limited Liability Company
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is an independent legal entity, with individual shareholder(s), corporate shareholder(s), or a mixture of both. The minimum capital requirement depends on the type of business activity.
2. Branch of a Foreign Company
With the exception of foreign companies licensed to operate from a free zone in the UAE, a foreign company may carry on its main activity or business in the UAE or establish an office or branch after a license is issued by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.
3. Branch of a UAE Company
A company set up in the UAE can also open a branch in free zones, mainland or offshore.
4. Freelance License
Freelancers are granted a freelance permit, which identifies them as a sole practitioner and enables him/her to conduct a business in one’s birth name, as opposed to a brand name.
Process in Abu Dhabi Free Zone License?
The government promotes company formation in Abu Dhabi free zones to facilitate and promote foreign investment, therefore the procedure for business setup is simple, straightforward, less time-consuming, and free from bureaucratic barriers.
The process of setting up a business in the Abu Dhabi free zone is not at all complicated. It includes:
1. Determining the Type of Business Activity
Since each business activity has its own rules and regulations, you are required to determine the activity that you are going to conduct, and then go forward with it.
2. Registering the Trade Name
After you are through with the first step, the next one is to register the trade name of your company. You can give the list of your suggested names to the Abu Dhabi Free Zone Authority, and if the name is not already registered by the existing company in the UAE, it shall be approved by the authorities and duly registered.
3. Obtaining Approvals from the Free Zone Authority
After getting initial approval for your trade name and fulfilling all the requirements, an investor must obtain approval for the issuance of the business license.
4. Issuance of License
Once the approval of the concerned authorities is obtained, the investor may proceed to the stage of fulfilling the legal requirements of obtaining an Abu Dhabi free zone license from the free zone authority.
Documents Required for Abu Dhabi Free Zone License
- Company Application Form
- Passport copies of the shareholders
- Passport size photographs with white background
- 2-3 suggested names for the new company
- Specifications of the business activity
- Number of visas required
- 2 x Proofs of Address (dated within 3 months)
- Bank or Professional Reference Letter
- Curriculum Vitae (summary of professional history), for freelance license
There are a few free zones where a copy of the proper business plan is also required.
Abu Dhabi Free Zone License Cost
The Abu Dhabi free zone license cost depends on the free zone chosen to set up a business and the business license acquired. One can also take the help of a business set up consultant in Abu Dhabi to break-down the cost.
WHY SET UP A BUSINESS IN ABU DHABI Free zone?
Free zones are special economic zones that provide a conducive business environment to support local entrepreneurs and encourage foreign trade and investments in the emirate.
Setting up a business in Abu Dhabi’s free zones provides a number of incentives for local and overseas companies looking to operate businesses within the UAE. Some of the advantages of operating in a free zone in Abu Dhabi include:
- 100% foreign ownership of companies
- Low-cost operational environment
- Complete repatriation of capital and profits
- Full exemption from import, export, corporate and personal taxes
- Comprehensive support services for obtaining necessary permits, licenses, approvals, and clearances from the relevant authorities and finding skilled manpower and suitable accommodation.
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