Our FAQs

​​Who we are and what Abu Dhabi Chamber stands for?​

Contributing towards developing and organizing the commercial and trade activities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, increasing the competitiveness capabilities of the companies of the private sector and expanding their opportunities through providing high world-class services which would contribute to realizing a sustainable development in the emirate.​

How to start a new business in Abu Dhabi?
There are five steps for Starting Business in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi:

  1. Determining the New Activity
  2. Determining the Legal Form
  3. Registration of Trade Name
  4. Obtaining Approvals of Concerned Authorities
  5. Issuance of the License

First: Determining the New Activity

In order to start the procedures for issuing a business license, the type of activity/activities to be practiced must be specified. Requirements, conditions and fees differ according to the type and nature of activity, provided that some activities have special conditions and specifications related to the location (place and area), which means that they can only be practiced in some locations with special conditions. In line with international intents to standardize economic activities, the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi has adopted the "International Standard Industrial Classification" of all economic activities (ISIC4) issued by the United Nations, which has become an important tool in the comparison of statistical data on economic activities at the international level.

Second: Determining the Legal Form

There is a range of legal forms that commensurate with the needs of business activities in Abu Dhabi (such as an establishment, a limited liability company ... etc), where laws, requirements and conditions of the legal forms differ according to the nature of the business.

Third: Registration of Trade Name

After determining the activity and legal form, a trade name must be chosen for the facility to distinguish it from other facilities, and it must appropriately suit the nature of the activity and its legal form.

The trade name is considered as Initial approval that Authorized the customer to complete his other procedures prior to the license issuance, such as obtaining approvals, ratifying contracts, etc.​

Fourth: Obtaining Approvals of Concerned Authorities

Upon obtaining the Initial approval, you will be entitled to approach concerned authorities to get required approvals after fulfillment of terms and conditions. The issuing entity is determined depending on the type of activity to be practiced. Some governmental entities offer electronic services that allow you to follow up the application online. You can follow up your application online with the following entities:

  • Supreme Petroleum Council
  • epartment of Transport
  • Abu Dhabi Municipality – Public Health Division - Al Ain
  • General Authority of Youth Sports Welfare
  • Abu Dhabi Municipality – Public Health Division – Western Region
  • Abu Dhabi Municipality – Public Health Division – Abu Dhabi
  • Abu Dhabi Chamber
  • Abu Dhabi Sewerage Service Company
  • Waste Management Center
  • General Directorate of Civil Defense
  • Abu Dhabi Environment Health and Safety Center
  • Abu Dhabi Center for Technical and Vocational Education and Training
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Types of Licenses:

There are several entities, which issue licenses in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, according to the type of license:

Type of License DescriptionIssuing Entity
Commercial License

Issued to owners of companies or establishments for practicing business activities. Example: (general trading, construction, real estate, transportation, clinics, hospitals, etc ...)

Department of Economic Development
Agricultural License

Issued to the owners of agricultural farms, animal production or sea products

Department of Economic Development
Professional License

Issued to artisans who personally practice a profession or craft for his own account, relying on his physical effort, or aided by some tools and equipment. Example : (carpentry, typing, steel works... etc )

Department of Economic Development
Occupational License

Issued to professionals who rely on their abilities, mental and intellectual capabilities, talents and scientific capacities. Example: (consulting offices, law firms, audit offices ... etc)

Department of Economic Development

* Some commercial licenses in free zones are issued by governmental bodies such as "Masdar Company", "Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi" and Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp)

Fifth​: Issuance of Commercial License

The conditions and requirements of the issuance of commercial licenses depend on the legal form of the facility. The below table contains all the legal forms available. You can also review the Companies Law on the Department's website https://adbc.abudhabi.ae/Citizenaccess

Establishment

The establishment is a facility owned by one person only, (sole proprietorship) licensed for practicing an economic activity (commercial, professional, agricultural or occupational). The financial liability of the establishment lies with the owner, who bears all the financial obligations of the establishment. In case that the owner of the establishment in a non-citizen, there must be a UAE citizen who acts as a service agent for the establishment

Licensed business activities must have one of the following legal forms:

  • Sole Proprietorship (Owned by a UAE citizen)
  • Sole Proprietorship (Owned by a GCC citizen)
  • Sole Proprietorship (Owned by a foreign investor)
  • Sole Proprietorship (Mubdia'h Program)
Company

A facility existing by virtue of a contract concluded between two or more persons who undertake to contribute in a profit economic project, by an amount of money or work. The profits and losses resulting from the project shall be distributed among the partners

The company must take one of the following legal forms:

  • Limited liability Company (L.L.C.)
  • General Partnership
  • Commandite Company
  • Private Joint -Stock Company
  • Public Joint Stock Company
Branch

A branch of the local (Abu Dhabi) or foreign main facility (company or establishment), or a facility from another emirate, practices the same activity / activities of the main facility. The foreign companies and the companies from other emirates may practice their main activity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and have offices and branches only after issuing a license from the Department of Economic Development

A branch takes one of the following legal forms:

  • Branch of a local sole proprietorship establishment (from Abu Dhabi)
  • Branch of a sole proprietorship establishment (from another Emirate)
  • Branch of a local company (from Abu Dhabi)
  • Branch of a local company (from another Emirate)
  • Branch of a foreign company
  • Branch of a GCC company
  • Branch of a GCC company (with a foreign investor)
  • Branch of a local company (free zone)
  • Branch of a foreign company (free zone)
Cooperative Societies

Cooperative Societies: Independent group of persons cooperating willingly together in order to satisfy their economic needs through a collective ownership of the project, in accordance with Law No. 6 of 1974 concerning the cooperative societies and its amendments by Law No. 20 of 1981