Within Abu Dhabi

All companies setting up outside a free zone in Abu Dhabi must have a trade or business licence that determines which business activities you are permitted to practise. You must also have either:
  • sponsorship from a UAE national, who will have a 51% stake in your business (if setting up a limited liability company (LLC) or public/private shareholding company).
    OR
  • sponsorship from a local service agent (if setting up a branch company, sole proprietorship or civil business).
Trade licence 
There are three types of trade licence:
  • Commercial licences cover all kinds of trading activity.
  • Professional licences cover professions, services, craftsmen and artisans.
  • Industrial licences are for establishing industrial or manufacturing activities.
As part of the trade licence application, you will need to:
  • Select your business activity.
  • Select your legal form.
  • Register your trade name.
  • Apply for an Initial Approval Certificate.
  • Rent/buy commercial premises.
  • Obtain special licensing approvals (if required).
Only then can you be granted a full trade licence.
 
Selecting a business activity
A business can have a maximum of 10 activities per trade licence. Some business activities require a special approval from government bodies.
 
...And then
Once you have a trade licence you will need to:
  • Apply for an establishment immigration card.
  • Apply for an establishment labour card.
  • Apply for immigration and individual labour cards.
 

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