Trade license in abu dhabiJuly 4, 2016
Trade license Guide in abu dhabi
Abu Dhabi Emirate is well known to be one of the major business centers in the Arab Gulf region. It acquired such a
prestigious position by means of many factors that can be summarized in the following points:
1. An outstanding location that helps the emirate to be in a position to perform its active trade-related role in linking
shipping routes and facilitating goods transportation between The East and the West;
2. Adoption of a free-market economy that encouraged national and foreign capitals to invest in all fields;
3. No income tax is levied on profits made by individuals, companies and foreign company branches;
4. Free transfer of capitals and profits abroad, without any restrictions, given the availability of branches of major
international banks operating in the Emirate;
5. Imports, including foodstuff, intermediary goods used in local industry and some other commodities, in addition to
all exports and re-exports, are exempted from any customs duties;
6. The maximum customs fees lately levied did not exceed (5%), a rate which is considered the lowest in the region
as a whole;
7. Free movement and travel is guaranteed for everybody whether inside or outside the Emirate and the country at large;
8. Free practice of economic activities plus investment incentives provided and ensured by prevailing laws and economic
rules and regulations;
9. Only minimal rent charges are applied to lease of lands allocated for industrial investment purposes;
10.Low water and electricity consumption rates for both domestic and institutional uses and such rates are lower than
those usually charged in any part of the world;
11.Abu Dhabi is noted for the existence of a modern and advanced infrastructure representing a strong and deeprooted
basis supporting a robustly stable economy. Such advanced infrastructure includes:
• Two modern international airports in both Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. They are both capable of receiving giant civil
and commercial aircraft,
• A streamlined and advanced telecommunication network built upon state-of-the-art technologies available, and
• Modern and well-equipped seaports with a huge capacity (run by the Transport Authority);
12.Abu Dhabi Emirate provides superior services and facilities in the field of education as the emirate developed many
public and private schools adopting numerous curricula, including Arabic, English, German, Hindu, French and the
like. This is in addition to the existence of several private institutes and universities availing the opportunity of
higher education for expatriates;
13.International exhibition halls and centers besides shopping malls and department stores are also widely spread;
14.Medical services are also rendered through many hospitals, medical centers and clinics, private and public alike;
15.Diversified, modern leisure, recreational and touristic places are also widely spread, along with silver sandy beaches,
sports foundations and clubs, luxurious hotels and restaurants. There is also a variety of state-of-the-art gardens
and public parks, public and private libraries, cinema houses, road networks and traffic regulations; and
16.A set of legislations such as Intellectual Property Law, Commercial Company Law, UAE Civil Code and Commercial
Procedures Law has been completely issued.
17.All these advantages have made Abu Dhabi a fantastic place of attraction for investors and businessmen from every
part of the world.
Types of Licences in Abu Dhabi Emirate & Required Documents
1 – National Proprietorship (100% National):
• Selection and approval of trade name (to be approved by the Department of Economic Development);
• Lease contract involving the headquarters through which the activity is intended to be practised;
• UAE national’s passport photocopy + personal photograph;
• Definition of activity (Commercial, professional or vocational);
• Acquiring competent authorities’ approval whenever required for certain activities; and
• Completed application forms prepared for the purpose by the Department of Economic Development,
Commercial Register and Chamber Membership.
2 – Commercial Companies (51% Minimum National Share):
• Getting the selected trade name approved (by the Department of Economic development) in accordance
with the requirements provided in the Commercial Company Law;
• Partnership agreement duly authenticated by the Notary Public (National(s) share should not be less than
51%) and without prejudice to other provisions and requirements provided in the Commercial Company
Law in respect of the company type;
• Lease contract involving the headquarters through which the activity is intended be practised;
• Passport photocopy + personal photograph of each partner;
• Definition of required activity and getting it approved by respective competent authorities whenever
required for certain types of activities;
• Bank certificate to the effect that the company capital has been already deposited at one of the banks
operating in the Emirate, along with a statement showing the cash shares of partners;
• Completed licence application-forms, Commercial Register and Chamber Membership; and
• Registration of the partnership agreement at the Ministry of Economy.
• Foreign investors are to obtain the approval of the Immigration & Naturalization Department (i.e. an
3- Foreign Company Branches:
• Adopting the same mother company’s name for the branch in Abu Dhabi (to be approved by the Department
of Economic Development);
• Detailed statement on the activity required to be practised by the branch and getting it approved by
respective competent authorities whenever required for certain activities, with consideration to that the
branch activity must be from among those practised by the mother company’s headquarters;
• Contract agreement concluded with a services agent holding the UAE nationality. The agreement must be
duly authenticated by the Notary public;
• Submission of a duly attested “Undertaking” issued by the mother company pledging to bear any financial
liabilities on behalf of its branches in the UAE;
• Duly attested decision taken by the concerned administrative body at the mother company confirming
willingness to open a branch in Abu Dhabi;
• Duly attested official certificate issued by the competent authorities at the country in which the foreign
company is registered. The certificate must state for the company registration, legal status, capital, along
with names, capacities and powers of its representatives;
• Duly attested facsimile of the mother company’s letter of incorporation or articles of association.
• Latest duly attested couple of balance sheets accredited by the mother company, along with auditor report,
profit/loss account and other balance sheet-related explanations;
• Statement showing main operations and activities practised by the foreign company outside the UAE, and
accounting for its previously accumulated experiences;
• Duly attested power of attorney in favor of the company’s representative in Abu Dhabi, along with his
passport photocopy and personal photograph;
• Passport photocopy and personal photograph of the national services agent if he is a natural person. In
case he is a legal entity, an official certificate confirming that all partners are UAE nationality holders
should be attached along with copies of issued licences;
• Statement showing the number of employees expected to be recruited in the company branch in Abu
• The branch capital amount must not be less than Dhs250,000 (Two hundred and fifty thousand dirhams); and
• All documents should be translated into Arabic by an authorized legal translator and duly attested by the
UAE Ministry of Justice.
4- Appointment of Commercial Agent (Exclusive Distributor):
*Foreign companies unwilling to acquire a licence but still interested in finding access to their products inside
the UAE or seeking to offer their services, may appoint a commercial agent in accordance with the provision
of Federal Law No. 18 of 1981 Regulating Commercial Agencies and amending laws thereof. Such agent may
promote the foreign company’s products and services through exclusive sales or distribution within the specified
UAE-based area covered by the agency. This can be done by virtue of a relevant agreement which should
be duly registered with the Ministry of Economy. However, foreign companies may have one agent to cover
the whole UAE territories or one agent in each emirate. The agency shall remain in place only as per the relevant
duration agreed upon in the contract.
5- Gulf Establishments and Companies:
GCC countries’ nationals shall be allowed to practise all economic activities and professions, barring the activities
listed in the Ministerial Resolution No. 26 of the year 2005.
General Procedures For Acquiring Trade Licences In Abu Dhabi,Dubai,UAE
1. Applicant may approach either the Department of Economic Development, the Higher Corporation for
Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp) or the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority – as per the type of requested
activity once the required trade name selected by the applicant for his own project has been duly approved –
for purposes of completing an application form for the licence, then attaching the same to other documents
as specified hereinbefore in respect of types of licences and required documents;
2. Applications are, thereafter, reviewed along with documents attached thereto in order to determine
whether the activity included in the submitted application requires approval of competent authorities. In
such a case, the application is referred to the respective competent authority for obtaining its approval of
allowing the applicant to engage in the requested activity. The applicant should approach the involved
competent authority to see whether further documents or certain explanations are still required;
3. Posterior to both the approval of the application and receiving the approval of respective competent
authorities, if required, the applicant is referred to the Abu Dhabi Chamber for obtaining its membership;
4. Having obtained the Chamber’s Membership, the applicant should refer to either the Department of
Economic Development or the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority for registration in the Commercial Register
and for having the licence which is not finally acquired unless upon field visit to the applicant premises and
fulfillment of all terms and conditions relating to advertising, safety and health requirements in accordance
with the rules and regulations applied by the Department of Economic Development;
5. In case of his being a commercial company, the applicant shall be referred to the Ministry of Economy
after acquiring the Chamber Membership Certificate. At the Ministry, relevant procedures required for
registration of the company’s incorporation are to be completed once / for one time;
6. In case the applicant is a foreign company branch, he shall have to submit an application enclosed with
all documents mentioned hereinbefore in respect of types of licences and required documents to Ministry
of Economy. The Ministry, in cooperation with the Department of Economic Development (DED) and the
Abu Dhabi Chamber, presents the application before the esteemed Executive Council in Abu Dhabi seeking
required approval. (This is also effective for Joint Stock Companies.);
7. DED’s licence should be annually renewed; and
8. Once the Licence has been issued, the applicant should approach the Ministry of Labour to open a special
“Company Card” and apply for required labour force. Then he has to approach the Department of
Naturalization & Residence to get permits.
Trade Licensing stages shall be as follows:
1. Trade name,
2. Immigration & Naturalization Department’s approval of an investor’s visa,
3. Specifying the type of activity and; accordingly, getting the approval of the concerned entity, if any,
4. Inspecting the premises of the business,
5. Issuing a preliminary approval,
6. Issuing a final approval,
7. Paying the fees,
8. Membership of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and
9. A card for the business shall be opened at both the Ministry of Labour and the Immigration & Naturalization
Obtainment of the approval given by the authorities mentioned herein below shall be a prerequisite for
practising the activities subsumed under each and every respective authority.
Travel & Tourism – General Services – Charter Trading – Ship & Maritime Agencies – Car Clubs – Charter Air
Transport – Foreign Company Branches.
MINISTRY OF INTERIOR
General transport – Driving Schools – Stamp Making Key Cutting & Stamp Making – Fire Equipment, Alarm
& Safety Systems – Used Car Dealers – Used Auto parts _ Car Painting & Denting – Rent -a–Car – Organizing
Festivals and Festivities.
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
Law Firms – Legal Translation – Legal Consulting.
MINISTRY OF LABOUR
Manpower Recruitment – Societies – Nurseries.
MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATION
Land Transport – Telecommunication Equipment and Maintenance (To be annually renewed).
MINISTRY OF ECONOMY
Insurance, Insurance Consultancy, Brokers, Inspection Experts, Damage / Loss Assessors.
MINISTRY OF CULTURE
Video & Cassette Library Shops – Software Import, Export, Distribution and Sales – Bookshops (Newspapers,
Books, Magazines) – Cinema Houses & Theaters – Radio / TV / Drama / Movie Production & Artistic Studios –
Exhibition Organization, Management and Marketing – Printing Presses – Press Service Offices – Publicity &
Advertising – Offices Sponsoring Art & Drama Troupes to Present Their Shows Inside the UAE – Issuing Publications
& Periodicals – Music, Lute and Ballet Teaching & Tuition – Printing Works – Visit & Greeting Cards – Logo
& Gift Items-Advertising Printing – Printing Service Offices (To be annually renewed)
SUPREME PETROLEUM COUNCIL
Onshore-Offshore Gas & Oil-field Services – Onshore-Offshore Oil Drilling Operations.
GENERAL AUTHORITY FOR HEALTHCARE
Medicines – Medicinal Stores – Pharmacies – Private Medical Clinics – Scientific Offices & Medical Laboratories
– Hospitals – Veterinarians’ Clinics – Veterinary Medicines – Requisites of Agricultural, Livestock & Fisheries
Production (To be annually renewed).
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Shipping – Maritime Services & Transport – Shipbuilding, Maintenance and Inspection – Forwarding & Clearing
– Air Freight & Transportation.
ABU DHABI MUNICIPALITY
Metropolitan / City Landscaping Dept., Places for Contract Leases.
DED & TOWN PLANNING DEPT.
Civil Engineering & Architectural Consultancy (To be annually renewed).
HIGHER CORPORATION FOR SPECILIZED ECONOMIC ZONES
Establishment of Industrial Plants (To be annually renewed).
UAE CENTRAL BANK
Banks, Stocks & Bonds, Financial Investments – Financial Consultancy – Money Exchange – Banking Representation
Offices (To be annually renewed).
GENERAL POSTAL AUTHORITY
Courier Services (To be annually renewed).
ABU DHABI TOURISM AUTHORITY
Travel, Tourism and Furnished Flats.
DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
General Trading – Representation of Companies- Trade Names – Public Joint-Stock Companies’ Licensing
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