Starting a Business in Abu Dhabi: A Guide

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Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is a thriving hub of commerce and industry, offering numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses. With its strong economy, modern infrastructure, and favorable business environment, Abu Dhabi is a popular destination for foreign investors and entrepreneurs looking to start a business.

In this guide, we will provide an overview of the steps involved in setting up a business in Abu Dhabi and what you need to know to get started.

  1. Choose a Business Structure

The first step in setting up a business in Abu Dhabi is to choose a business structure. The most common types of business structures in the UAE are sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), and free zone company.

Sole proprietorship is a simple business structure suitable for small businesses and individuals. LLCs are popular for their limited liability protection and ease of management, while free zone companies are tax-free and offer additional benefits, such as 100% foreign ownership.

  1. Register Your Business

Once you have chosen a business structure, the next step is to register your business with the Department of Economic Development (DED). You will need to provide proof of your business identity, such as your passport and visa, as well as complete the necessary paperwork and pay the required fees.

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  1. Obtain Licenses and Permits

Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may need to obtain licenses and permits from various government departments and agencies. For example, businesses in the food, healthcare, and education sectors will need to obtain specific licenses and permits.

  1. Rent Office Space

Once your business is registered and licensed, you will need to find suitable office space. Abu Dhabi offers a range of options, from serviced offices to co-working spaces, as well as traditional office buildings.

  1. Hire Employees

Once you have established your business and secured office space, you can start hiring employees. To do so, you will need to apply for a labor card and register with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).

  1. Open a Bank Account

Finally, you will need to open a bank account for your business. Most banks in Abu Dhabi require that you provide proof of business registration, your visa, and a commercial license.


Starting a business in Abu Dhabi is a straightforward process, with plenty of support and resources available to help you get started. Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, Abu Dhabi is a great place to build a business and grow your brand. With its favorable business environment, modern infrastructure, and strong economy, Abu Dhabi is a hub of opportunity for businesses of all sizes and sectors.


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