How to Start a Company in Abu Dhabi Free Zone; 7 Amazing Facts to Remember

Abu Dhabi Airport Freezone
Abu Dhabi Airport Freezone

Are you looking to start a company in a free zone which occupies an outstanding location between Asia, Europe, and Africa? Similarly, locating your business in an area with top-notch facilities in health care, recreation, transportation, and education might facilitate your business growth.

So, if you want a stable business environment for your company, look for no other free zone but Abu Dhabi. However, it is not easy to start a company in Abu Dhabi Free Zone if you are not well-versed with the basic rudiments needed for the whole process.

And so, starting a company in Abu Dhabi Free Zone might compel you to consider the following;

  • The genre of Economic activities
  • Local sponsor
  • The legal form of the business
  • Trade name registration
  • The licensing requirements
  • Approval from valid institutions
  • The initial approval.

Conversely, Abu Dhabi is the capital of UAE and the largest Emirates situated on the South-east of the Arabian Peninsula. Thus, after Dubai, this city seems to be the most crowded Emirates and is made up of more than ¾ of the area UAE country. Another great benefit of this zone is that is the largest free zone and an oil producer as well. That means; investing in Abu Dhabi will always lead to a return on investment.

Therefore, for investors who want to start a business in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi is the best zone to deem fit. So, for a successful business set up in Abu Dhabi, the following pointers must be put into consideration.

The Genre of Economic Activities

In every company formation, one of the first things to deem fit before starting a business is the type of economic activities for your business. Knowing the activities of your business will help you narrow down several things in your industry and company at large. For instance, business activities will determine the type of free zone to settle in.

Some zones prohibit certain business activities while others don’t offer the same. Therefore, the type of your business activity will help you to choose Abu Dhabi, unlike Ajman free zone. Similarly, from the get-go, the type of your business activities will help you select an appropriate business license that aligns with your company’s operation.

Local sponsor

Unlike other free zones, Abu Dhabi works differently when you’ve opted to start your company in this zone. Generally, as a business proprietor, you’ll be forced to find a local sponsor, so that you can be allowed to open a company in Abu Dhabi.

Therefore, as per the UAE government authority, most of the foreign companies are supposed to have local sponsors. That’s; a company that is owned by the UAE nationals or a service agent in UAE.

Thus, the local sponsor owned by UAE nationals will help you get the required license for your branch without bearing any losses or being liable to capital contribution.

The legal form of the business

When starting a business in any zone in UAE, it is prudent to know that each zone has different rules and regulations. Abu Dhabi might have different policies that govern their marketplace compared to the international free zone.

So, you’ll be required to determine the legal form of the business instituted in the Abu Dhabi Free Zone. That means; you have to determine which legal entity ought to run your business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone.

Trade name registration

Generally, a company without a trading name is like doing business without a purpose. Trade name in most cases determines the nature of your business and the model itself. And, so, whenever you’re building a company, your trade name ought to be taken with lots of gravity because it usually paints a picture of what your business entails.

Moreover, there are convections to be followed when choosing your company name until the registration process is due. For instance, your trade name displays the nature of your business. It will be wise if you use a simple, easy-to-pronounce, and short trade name for your company. In addition, your trade name must not be the same as other names used in your field of specialization.

The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the most popular department you can seek help in when registering your trade name in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Free Zone

The licensing requirements

Before you venture into company formation in Abu Dhabi, licensing requirements must be at your fingertips to ensure you are in tune with what the zone wants. This will ultimately help you decide on the authentic type of licensing for your company.

However, Abi Dhabi offers various types of license which include;

  • Vocational License
  • Agricultural License
  • Tourism License
  • Industrial License
  • Commercial License
  • Professional License

So, you can get licensed based on the company’s business activities.

Approval from valid institutions

Abu Dhabi Free Zone operates differently as opposed to the other free zones. In this zone, your business must get approval from a certain special body within the zone. So, you are not permitted to conduct your business before you get special approval from different bodies in Abu Dhabi. These bodies include;

  • Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
  • Medical Council
  • Abu Dhabi Customs Authority
  • Central Bank
  • Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC)
  • Supreme Petroleum Council
  • Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Health
  • Abu Dhabi Foo/d Control Authority
  • Ministry of Economy and more

The initial approval

As if that is not enough, you must get approval from Foreigners Affairs and General Directorate of Residency in Abu Dhabi, especially for the international investors before deciding on the initial approval.

Thus, the initial approval certificate is so important because it enhances the continuation of business license formalities that allows foreign nationals to execute their desired businesses in Abu Dhabi.


Starting a company in Abu Dhabi Free Zone is prolific and productive. This zone is characterized by lots of benefits such as competitive real estate costs, inexpensive and abundant energy supply; a businessperson can become a partner in the firm, and more. Therefore, it will be easy for investors to gain ROI fast.

Nonetheless, there are six pointers you must consider before starting a business in Abu Dhabi such as approval from valid institutions, the licensing requirements, and the legal form of the business among others.