Setting up a company trade licence in Abu Dhabi, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, is a tactical move. Abu Dhabi is the hot spot for creative industries. Its central location between Asia and Europe with direct flights to all major cities make it easily accessible and the ideal location for business.
As the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the government provides strong support for the business and media industries, invests intensively in innovation, and maintains a stable environment driven by economic opportunity. Abu Dhabi is the home of world-class cultural attractions, iconic landmarks, progressive architecture, stunning natural landscapes, year-round sunshine, and so much more.
benefits of an abu dhabi trade licence
Multi-cultural and English speaking
Makes up 65% of the UAE’s economy
Direct flights to the world’s major capitals
Covers a 24-hour business clock
SME and entrepreneur friendly business environment
Ranked no. 1 safest city in the world by Numbeo
Voted the 2nd happiest place in the world to live, visit and do business in the Ipsos Top Cities Index
Business registration and licence fees waived for the first two years
Abu Dhabi has a diverse and sustainable economy that facilitates success for innovative businesses both in the short- and long-term. The UAE capital offers unrivalled connectivity to the business world, boasting proximity to one of the world’s busiest ports and presenting a potential market of 80 per cent of the world’s population within an eight-hour flight. Abu Dhabi provides investment opportunities across diverse sectors and offers a offers bespoke Investor Care services and incentives through the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO).
Abu Dhabi has an exciting vision for the future, based on a thriving economy, unrivalled lifestyle and a world-class media industry. Come and be part of it!
FAQ on business setup in Abu Dhabi
You can set up a company and start the process of obtaining your trade license by registering your interest on the twofour54 website. One of our team members will then be in touch to guide you through the process.
Creative freelancers and media, entertainment and gaming companies who are wondering how to start a business in Abu Dhabi can register for their license through twofour54.
A commercial license is the same as a trade license. twofour54 is based on Yas Island in the UAE capital and you can obtain a commerical license through them by visiting the twofour54 website.
Tourist visa overstaying fees have been standardized at AED 50 per day from the first day after expiry. These fees should be settled before starting the residency process or leaving the country.
You can apply for renewal of your residency up to 30 days before its expiry date. Or, if you want to renew it earlier, you must first take special permission and approval from ICP. Failure to renew in time will result in fines. The ICP has standardized overstaying fines in the UAE. According to the new rules, visit, tourist and residence visa overstaying fees are now fixed at AED 50 per day.
Your company will be fined according to the immigration authority’s rules and procedures. Fines are AED 1,155 for the first month and AED 100 for each consecutive month, and you will also need to pay service charges to twofour54.
The Creative Media Authority has waived license and registration fees for new companies for the first two years. The first year alone would normally cost new businesses AED 15,000 in licence fees and AED 3,500 for registration, but currently there are no license fees to pay.
Tawasol will help you apply for your business license and establishment card and officially launch your company. You can also enlist the help of Tawasol when they need to be renewed. Application for your registration channel at the immigration authority must be made through Tawasol as well. This can be done as soon as your business is officially launched, and the Tawasol team will also help you renew it upon expiry.
No, in fact it is very simple.
If you are wondering how to open a business in the UAE, just get in touch with the team at twofour54 and they will guide you through the process.
How do I register a company in Abu Dhabi? To set up a business on Yas Island with twofour54, just follow the process below:
- Submit your business form and all the required documents
- Complete the process of obtaining your General Manager’s visa
- Wait for your business license and establishment card to be issued
- Access the self-service portal
- Finalize the visa application through the ICA portal
- Start the process of obtaining visas for your employees
You can complete your company registration for your new business online via the twofour54 website.
If your company is a registered partner of the twofour54 free zone, you can renew your Abu Dhabi trade license online by using our self-service portal.
How can I check my trade license online in Abu Dhabi? You can verify business licenses in Abu Dhabi by searching the database of the Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi for trade names or trade license details.
The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi issues a fine of AED 300 per month for individuals who are not subscribed to a valid health insurance scheme.
Once your Emirates ID has expired, you have a 30-day grace period in which you can renew it without incurring any fines. After that, an AED 20 daily fine will be applied, up to a maximum of AED 1,000. You will also need to pay twofour54 service charges to renew it.
You will be given access details during the onboarding process.
As long as you have a trade license, an establishment card and a valid registration channel at the immigration authority, you can sponsor your employees and secure visas for them. twofour54 will support you and guide you through this process.
Yes. Although license and registration fees have been waived for the first two years, you will still have to pay the following fees:
|1||Manager pre-approval fee||AED 500|
|2||Licensing renewal cost after the first 2 years||AED 12,500 per year|
|3||General Manager Residency Cost||AED 3,300 – 3,700 (Depending on the residency period, renewed upon expiration)|
|4||PO Box fee||AED 1,312.5 per year|
|5||Establishment card fee||AED 854.55|
|6||Access to the New Company electronic channel registration at Abu Dhabi immigration office||AED 2,180|
|7||Health insurance||Cost varies according to gender, age, chosen plan and coverage required|
Depending on the type of business you launch, you may decide to lease an office for yourself and your employees.
twofour54 offers various different types of office spaces at Yas Creative Hub.
Subject to availability, this includes the following:
- Hot desk (1 activity + 1 visa)
- Serviced desk (2 activities + 2 visas)
- Fitted offices (up to 5 activities, number of visas depends on the office area)
No, if you obtain an Abu Dhabi trade license then you must be based inside the Abu Dhabi free zone. The twofour54 team can help you find the right office space that is perfect for you and the new Yas Creative Hub campus on Yas Island offers an array of flexible working spaces that are available for rent. This includes fully-furnished offices for companies of all sizes and vibrant co-working spaces. Yas Creative Hub also boasts an array of production facilities, sound studies and event spaces, and its found just a short walk away from Yas Island’s vast array of restaurants, bars and leisure faciltiies and a 15 minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Do all employees, including the general manager, have to have a visa issued by the Abu Dhabi free zone?
Yes they do. If you are sponsoring your staff, then it’s your responsibility to secure visas for them from the Creative Media Authority. The criteria that your employees have to meet for each visa is dependent upon their home country. The Tawasol team at twofour54 can help you obtain residents visas, Emirates IDs and health insurance for yourself and all your staff. Tawasol offers end-to-end business support services for all twofour54 partners.
Yes, the PO Box fee is AED 1,312.5 per year and this fee must be paid during the business set up process.
Yes, as long as you can provide all the required documents and information, you can setup a company in Abu Dhabi from anywhere in the world. However, in order to obtain a visa for your General Manager, the General Manager must be inside the country to complete his medical screening appointment.
Within 14 days of their visa activation, or within 14 days from when their status was changed from tourist or visitor to resident of the UAE.
Setting up a company comes with a lot of different tasks. For instance, before you apply for your license, you will need to create a business plan, and start thinking about your unique selling point, business strategy, logo and brand guidelines.
However, the twofour54 team make the process of applying for your business license quick and easy. First we will ask you for a number of documents and your business form and business plan, and then, once you have paid all the required fees, the set up process can be completed.
There is no minimum amount needed to open a company in Abu Dhabi.
Yes, you can. The bank may ask to see your Establishment Card and business license when you open a bank account.
Yes, subject to approval.
No, you can choose any UAE bank.
Yes they do. You can obtain visas for your employees through our Tawasol business support department.
Created to offer end-to-end business services for all twofour54 partners, Tawasol makes it easy to apply for visas, permits and residencies.
Offering a fully digitalised, seamless experience, Tawasol is an efficient way of receiving business support, government liaison and travel agency services.
The e-portal allows you to submit all your visa requests online, track the status of your requests, and pay any required fees within minutes. The Tawasol team will also be there to offer help and support throughout every step of the visa application process.
Yes, subject to availability and approval.
No, only the General Manager and employees must reside in UAE.
Yes, if you have the correct DED license. Please get in touch for more information and for help with obtaining this license.
Yes, once you have officially set up and registered your company.