Starting a business in Abu Dhabi involves steering through specific legal requirements and procedures to ensure compliance with local regulations and establish a legitimate entity. Here are the essential legal requirements to consider:

Determine the legal structure:

When it comes to starting a business in Abu Dhabi, must determine the legal structure suitable for your business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or branch of a foreign company. Most businesses opt for LLCs due to the flexibility it offers in terms of ownership and liability. LLCs require a minimum of two shareholders and must specify their business activities clearly.

Commercial license:

Obtaining a commercial license is mandatory for conducting business activities in Abu Dhabi. The type of license depends on the nature of your business, whether it’s trading, manufacturing, or providing services. The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Abu Dhabi oversees the issuance of commercial licenses and ensures compliance with local regulations.

Trade name registration:

Choose a unique trade name for your business that complies with the guidelines set by the DED. The trade name should reflect the nature of your business and must not violate any trademarks or intellectual property rights. Reserve the trade name through the DED’s online portal and ensure it is approved before proceeding with further registration steps.

Location and premises:

Select an appropriate location for your business operations. Depending on your business activities, zoning regulations may apply, specifying permissible locations for certain types of businesses. Ensure that the premises meet health, safety, and environmental standards as per local regulations.

Share capital requirements:

LLCs in Abu Dhabi typically require a minimum share capital contribution. The amount varies depending on the business activities and is specified in the company’s Memorandum of Association (MOA). The share capital must be deposited in a UAE bank account in the company’s name before obtaining the trade license.

Memorandum of association (MOA):

Draft a Memorandum of Association outlining the company’s objectives, shareholder details, share capital, and management structure. The MOA must be notarized by a public notary in Abu Dhabi and submitted along with other required documents for company registration.

Submit the necessary documents, including the MOA, lease agreement for premises, passport copies of shareholders and managers, and other relevant paperwork to the DED for approval. Once approved, the DED issues the commercial license, allowing you to legally commence business activities in Abu Dhabi.