Company Formation in Abu Dhabi

Complete Steps to Form a Company in Abu Dhabi

If you’re thinking of forming a company in Abu Dhabi, you aren’t alone. That’s because the city is one of the fastest-growing and wealthiest markets in the world. Abu Dhabi is one of the largest oil producers and is also huge in real estate, industrial development, and tourism. And if that wasn’t enough to get you interested in forming a company in the emirate, another benefit to starting a company in Abu Dhabi is the fast setup. It just takes a few days to setup a new company or open an offshore branch of your company.

6 Easy Steps for Company Formation in Abu Dhabi


Decide the economic activity

Determine the type of activity your company intends to do. This is important because the requirements and fees required to start your company will depend on the type of business activity you choose.


Determine the legal form of business

There are several legal forms and structures for your business. Different rules and regulations apply to each legal form and ownership type.


Register the trade name

The trade name will distinguish your business from others


Get initial approval

An initial approval certificate enables you to proceed with applying for a business license and gives permission for the business activity.


Obtaining approvals

After initial approval, you can approach the relevant authority to get the approval finalized.


Get Business License

After approval, you can apply to the Department of Economic Development (DED) and pay fees to get the license you need for your business.

Finding the Right Location for Your Company Formation in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Mainland

Abu Dhabi Mainland

Abu Dhabi’s business-friendly and crime-free environment attract entrepreneurs from all over the world. The Mainland is a popular spot for commercial and industry startups. And there are several reasons why the Mainland is so popular for business owners, for starters, there’s no limit on employment visas, you won’t have to pay personal or corporate tax, office spaces are affordable and flexible, and there’s no currency regulation. Mainland companies require a local sponsor who is a 51% shareholder of the company. Company formation on the Mainland can be a little hectic, but our experts at MSZ Consultancy are familiar with the laws and regulations on the Mainland and can have your company formed without any hassles.

Read More
Abu Dhabi Free Zone

Abu Dhabi Free Zone

Setting up a company in the Free Zone is relatively easier with minimum paperwork. There are eight Free Zones in Abu Dhabi that offer a favorable environment for company formation. With a company in the Free Zone, 100% foreign ownership is allowed, you are exempted from taxes, there’s a fast immigration process, and a pre-built infrastructure. Company formation in Abu Dhabi Free Zones needs comprehensive business planning and decision making to ensure all the necessary formalities are taken care of. The team at MSZ Consultancy will make sure you’re aware of all the legal procedures, registration requirements, and everything else you need to know for a smooth company formation.

Read More

Types of Business Licenses for Company Formation in Abu Dhabi

Starting a company in Abu Dhabi is a fairly quick and easy process. Entrepreneurs from all around the world are jumping on the chance to form a company in this thriving city. Before your company starts doing business, you will need to have a license. The business license will prove that you’ve met all the legal requirements needed to have your company operate in Abu Dhabi.

There are 5 types of licenses you can apply for depending on what type of business you will have.

Commercial License

This license is given to companies doing general trading. This also includes businesses like hospitals and clinics, contracting, real estate, and transporting.

Industrial License

Investors or manufacturers who want to open a factory in Abu Dhabi will need this license.  There are a couple of requirements – at least 51% of the company’s capital must be owned by a UAE national or the company must be 100% owned by a UAE national. Also, factories aren’t allowed to extract oil, gas, or minerals.

Professional License

A professional license is given to an artisan or other professional who personally engages in a particular craft. This includes carpentry, smithery, and steelwork. A person with this license can work alone or have up to five people work for them.

Tourism License

Hotels, travel agencies, boat rentals, and other tourism-related services all fall under this license. This license is issued by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority.

Occupational License

This license is issued to the businesses that run based on a person’s mental and intellectual capabilities, talents, and abilities. Doctors, lawyers, research firms, and accountants are examples of businesses that would need this license.

Occupational License

Steps for Getting a Trade License in Abu Dhabi

  • Reserve the name of your company
  • Get the Memorandum of Association notarized
  • Get the necessary documents filed
  • Apply for the Establishment card at the Ministry of Labor
  • Register workers with the Ministry of Labor
Occupational License

Advantages for Company Formation in Abu Dhabi

  • A commercial license is valid for 2 years in Abu Dhabi
  • There are no foreign exchange controls
  • Company formation is quick and cost-effective
  • The investor can become a partner in the firm
  • World-class facilities in healthcare, recreation, education, and transportation
  • No barriers to trade

Joint Liability Company

This company set up consists of two or more partners. This allows parties to share risks like paying back debt or covering a liability.

Simple Commandite Company

This type of company is only for UAE Nationals.  It is a simple partnership established between two or more partners.

Limited Liability Company

With this company, the liability of its shareholder is restricted only to the extent of their shares in the capital. This is the most common type of company set up.

Public Shareholding Company

This is also referred to as a Public Joint-Stock Company. With this company, the business capital is divided into equal parts. The Chairman and the majority of the directors must be UAE nationals.

Private Shareholding Company

A minimum number of three people are needed to incorporate this company, and its stocks are not allowed to be traded publicly.

Civil Society

This company set up is for professionals like doctors, accountants, and lawyers.

Local Business Branch

A branch office is an extension of a foreign parent company that is registered outside of the UAE. This is a fully functioning office that can conduct other activities in its license or may only do the type of business that the parent company does.

Foreign Company Branch

A local UAE agent will be appointed to sponsor visas and licenses for this type of company. This type of company will be allowed to invoice UAE customers, sign local sales contracts, and receive income from customers.

GCC Company Branch

A Gulf Cooperation Council company is a company with a non-GCC investor. This company type must have a service agent that is either an Emirati citizen or the company must be solely owned by an Emirati citizen.

Company Formation Costs in Abu Dhabi

The cost of setting up a company in Abu Dhabi will depend on the type of company you want to have and where you want it located. Here are some fees to keep in mind when planning your company

Fees for Company on Abu Dhabi Mainland

  • Incorporation fees
  • Sponsor fees
  • Legal fees
  • Government fees
  • The cost of each visa per person

Fees for Company on Abu Dhabi Free Zone

  • Registration fee
  • Name reservation fee
  • Annual license fee
  • Share capital
  • Rental fee
  • The cost of each visa per person

Company Formation in Abu Dhabi with MSZ Consultancy

Abu Dhabi may have been big in the oil industry, but for years the economy has grown and expanded into other business areas bringing entrepreneurs from around the world. There’s no sign of this thriving economy slowing down. If you plan to form a company in Abu Dhabi, we want to be by your side to help. MSZ Consultancy is experienced and educated with all the tools you need to get a company formed in Abu Dhabi and to be by your side after your company is up and running. Let our expert consultants help your company become a reality in Abu DhabiCall today on +971 52 544 1248 for a free consultation!


We are your one-stop for everything you need for forming a company in Abu Dhabi. We have been facilitating international business and corporate solutions to help passionate entrepreneurs across the globe for over 15-years.  We provide company incorporation and business setup services in Abu Dhabi.  Our team of experts has in-depth knowledge in the field of consultancy and will guide you through the best options suited for your company.


At MSZ Consultancy, we do all of the hard work for you. We will guide you through the administrative, financial, and legal processes that you will need to start a company in Abu Dhabi. We help with everything you need from company formation, securing a space and a sponsor, answering any financial questions you have, and making sure you have all the legal paperwork you need for your company formation in Abu Dhabi.


We provide customizable services for you and your company to ensure that you get everything you need at an affordable price. We won’t just be around for your company to get started, but we will stick by your side for your corporate needs down the road, like PRO services, product registration, company liquidation, and more. We are more than just a service provider; we want you to consider us a long-term partner.

Our Success Stories

Learn How Companies Have Used the Experts at MSZ Consultancy to Form a Company in Abu Dhabi

Mr. Mujeeb has been very helpful since the beginning. He was not only focused on the procurement process of the license alone. He took his time to explain to me what are my best options for various activities. He took time to listen and understand his client’s needs. The entire process was a breeze! Thank you, Mr. Mujeeb and to MSZ!

Liz Cardona

I dealt with Mujeeb, who was very prompt at responding to my initial enquiry.

He listened to what I wanted, he did not presume anything or try to sell me something I didn't require or would not fit my purposes and always responded to my emails swiftly.

I am extremely satisfied with the service received from MSZ Consultancy and would definitely recommend them.

Charl Breytenbach

As MSZ consultancy has guided me to get my business license last month, I found it to have both a professional and friendly environment simultaneously, I recommend to everyone who is looking for business setup consultants in Dubai. Mr. Zubair was really understanding, cooperative and helpful throughout the process.

Nasreen Gulam

As easy as it could be, MSZ helped me setup my business and everything has just been uphill from there. The staff and the Employees were all so easy to talk to and friendly, 100% would recommend MSZ to everyone looking to setup their business.

Mariam George

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the business licenses available in Abu Dhabi?

Commercial license, occupational license, professional license, industrial license, and a tourism license are the options for a business license for your company.

What are the types of business entities available in Abu Dhabi?

Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, Partnership, Public Shareholding Company, Joint Ventures, Branch of a Local or Foreign Company, and a Representative Office

How to obtain a trade license in Abu Dhabi?

First, decide on your business activity, then file an application, become a Chamber of Commerce member, get a visit from the DED or Abu Dhabi Commercial Register for your permit.

What is the minimum capital required for registering an Abu Dhabi company?

There is no minimum capital required.

How many directors are required for company formation in Abu Dhabi?

On the Mainland, you will need two directors. You will need one director for company formation on a Free Zone.

What is the cost of company formation in Abu Dhabi?

The cost to start a company in Abu Dhabi will depend on your business activity and location. However, incorporation fees, sponsor fees, legal fees, government and third-party taxes, and visa fees are standard fees.

What are ‘baqalas’ in Abu Dhabi?

These are small grocery stores.

What are the documents required to obtain a freelance visa in Abu Dhabi?

The documents will depend on what Free Zone you choose to do business in, but these documents are standard for all Free Zones – a business plan, a copy of your passport and visa, a reference letter from the bank, a sponsor, portfolio, other business credentials and certificates.

How to apply for a freelance visa in Abu Dhabi?

A Freelance Visa is issued in an Abu Dhabi Free Zone. The process will vary depending on the type of Free Zone you want to open your company in. So, follow the rules according to the Free Zone, or let MSZ Consultancy guide you through the process.

How to start a company in Abu Dhabi?

First, determine what type of business activity you want to have, then find a local sponsor.  Register the business name, get initial approval, and get a Certificate of Incorporation and Business License. Finally, register your company with the Chamber of Commerce and get external approvals.

Translate »
WhatsApp WhatsApp us