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Abu Dhabi Instant License (LLC)

About the Abu Dhabi Instant License (LLC)

Abu Dhabi Instant Licenses are issued same working day for applications made during government working hours. The business setup formalities come after the license issuance, but must be completed within 90 days. Issued by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED), Abu Dhabi Instant Licenses are suitable for working with the UAE federal government, Abu Dhabi government and quasi government organisations such as ADNOC and Mubadala. Permitted to work throughout the emirate of Abu Dhabi, this license-type is ideal for companies needing a quick market entry, such as meeting tender obligations.


✔️ Quickest license issuance in Abu Dhabi

✔️ Can work with federal and Abu Dhabi government

✔️ Restricted business activities - just 67

✔️ Local sponsor required

✔️ Abu Dhabi mainland license, operate throughout Abu Dhabi emirate

✔️ Paid up share capital - waived

✔️ Unlimited number of visas

✔️ Corporate banking facilities

✔️ 12 months validity, renewable

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Who Can Apply

Who is this license suitable for?

✔️  Individuals

✔️  Entrepreneurs

✔️  Startups

✔️  Small businesses

✔️  SMEs

✔️  International organisations

Who is eligible for this license?

✔️   Applicants must be over 18.

✔️   UAE citizens

✔️   UAE residents

✔️   Non-residents (must have previously visited the UAE)

✔️   UAE companies

✔️   Non-UAE companies (proposed GM for the Abu Dhabi LLC must have previously visited the UAE)

100% Foreign Ownership

No local sponsor needed with some business activities

Mainland or Free Zone?

Abu Dhabi LLC Legal Structure & Ownership

The Abu Dhabi Limited Liability Company (LLC) license is a mainland license, issused by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), enabling the company to work throughout the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. This is not a free zone license.

Legal Form

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) means the owners contribute capital into the business in exchange for a percentage of the shares to become shareholders. Shareholders share the profit or loss of the company in proportion to the size of their shareholding. An LLC has it's own legal identity, separate from its owners, meaning the financial liability is limited to the value of the shareholder's respective shareholding. (In certain circumstances a shareholder can be held personally liable for the company's debts, e.g. if they have directly/knowingly contravened the law, committed fraud etc.)


An Abu Dhabi LLC requires a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 50 shareholders. In some instances, such as when activities allow 100% foreign ownership, one shareholder is permitted.

Share Capital

Minimum share capital is not defined

Local Sponsor?

There may be a requirement for an Emirati partner (local sponsor). This is determined by the business activity(ies) required for the license.

Exisiting Residence Visa

If an existing UAE resident becomes a company shareholder in their individual capacity; it is not mandatory to change their existing visa; however, they would be entitled to apply for an investor visa.

Abu Dhabi LLC License Visa

Individuals named as shareholders on the LLC license can apply for investor visas, if required. Once the trade license has been issued, it will be necessary to apply for an Establishment Card, before starting the visa application process; and to do this, it will be necessary to have a Tawtheeq contract for a commercial premise. Upon successfully obtaining their own visa, the license holder can then sponsor their family members, providing they meet the requirements.

Quickest Business License

Almost instant (same working day)

Abu Dhabi Instant License (LLC) Details

Instant License Application

Once the documents are ready for the Abu Dhabi Instant License application to be submitted, the license is usually issued the same day during government working hours on working days. Thereafter, the MOA must be notarized and Tawtheeq lease arranged and submitted within 90 days to complete the application.

Trade License Validity

The LLC license is issued for a period of 12 months.

Trade License Renewal

LLC licenses need to be renewed annually. Delays in renewing the license will incur fines for the company, which will increase each month the license is not renewed.

Trade License Cancellation

When the LLC license is no longer required, the company needs to arrange liquidation and cancellation of the license from the official registry. Failure to cancel the license will incur fines accruing and liabilities relating to non-filing of tax returns.

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Abu Dhabi LLC License Visa

Shareholder Individuals

Type of Visa

Investor Visa

Visa Validity

Two Years. To ensure it remains valid, you must not stay outside of the country for more than six months at a time.

Visa Renewal

The visa needs to be renewed every two years. Delays in renewing your visa will incur fines increase on a daily basis until the visa is either renewed or cancelled.

Visa Cancellation

When the visa is no longer required, it needs to be cancelled, any fines paid, and removed from the immigration system.


Is the Visa Mandatory or Optional?

Applying for a visa under the Abu Dhabi LLC license is optional.

Who is the sponsor of the visa?

The LLC license sponsors your visa, which means you have full control, and that is why the license must be issued first. The license needs to be renewed and kept active all the time you want the visa.


Processing Time

Approx. 10-14 working days. However, during the process, it will be necessary for you to arrange your health insurance which may add extra days.

Visa Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for all visa holders. It is your responsibility to arrange your health insurance cover. It must be arranged via an Abu Dhabi registered insurance provider or broker. It can only be applied for during the visa application process, which is the time when some of the documents required are created. Delays in arranging or renewing your health insurance incurs fines issued by the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (HAAD). Whilst the insurance and visa systems are now linked, occasionally we are still requested to provide a copy of the insurance card (not the certificate of insurance) as proof of an active policy.


We strongly urge all applicants to seek out indicative health insurance costs in advance, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions. Insurance premiums are based upon the level of coverage required, age, sex, and pre existing conditions. Applicants are often shocked at how expensive health insurance is.

Visa Medical

All visa applications, new and renewal, require the applicant to have a visa medical, which includes a blood test, screening for HIV, and an Xray, screening for Pulmonary Tuberculosis. If you haven’t previously had an Emirates ID card, you’ll also need a biometrics appointment with the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, to provide your fingerprints and an eye scan. If this all sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry, our team will make all of the necessary arrangements and we’ll accompany you to the appointments with all of the paperwork you’ll need. You, literally, just have to turn up.


Shareholders - Individual

✔️  Full name

✔️  Residential address

✔️  Mobile number

✔️  Email address

✔️  Source of funds

✔️  UAE Pass App (download on your mobile phone and register)

✔️  UID Number (only for overseas applicants)

✔️  Passport copy (minimum 6 months validity)

✔️  Visa copy (only UAE citizen and resident applicants)

✔️  Emirates ID copy (only UAE citizen and resident applicants)

✔️  No Objection Certificate (NOC) in Arabic addressed to the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (only applicants who are currently working in the UAE).

General Manager (new Abu Dhabi LLC) Details & Documents

✔️  Full name

✔️  Residential address

✔️  Mobile number

✔️  Email address

✔️  Passport copy

✔️  Emirates ID Card copy (only if UAE citizen or resident)

✔️  UAE Pass App (download on your mobile phone and register)

✔️  UID Number (only if non-UAE citizen or resident)

Shareholders - Corporate

✔️  Company name

✔️  Registration number

✔️  Registered address

✔️  Phone number

✔️  Email address

✔️  Source of funds

✔️  Certificate of Incorporation 

✔️  Memorandum & Articles of Association

✔️  Board Resolution to establish the Abu Dhabi LLC

✔️  Power of Attorney for the general manager of the new LLC

✔️  Power of Attorney for Gateway Group to establish the LLC on your behalf

The above documents must be notarized; legalised at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and, legalised at the UAE Embassy in the company's home territory.

Signatory's Details & Documents 

✔️  Full name

✔️  Residential address

✔️  Power of attorney (POA)

✔️  Passport copy

✔️  Emirates ID Card copy (only if UAE citizen or resident)

✔️  UAE Pass App (download on your mobile phone and register)

Legal Documents for the new Abu Dhabi LLC

✔️  Memorandum and Articles of Association (MOA) 

✔️  Power of Attorney (POA) to the General Manager

✔️  Specimen signature of the General Manager

The above documents will be notarized by the Notary Public in Abu Dhabi during the company formation process.

We're making it easier to register your business in Abu Dhabi.

Our website is currently being upgraded.

We're adding all of our services onto our site to provide your the best and easiest experience for setting up your business and applying for visas in Abu Dhabi.

Although this license setup isn't available to purchase online yet, don't worry, we can still setup your company right away. Fill out the form below to let us know you want this service and one of our team will contact you.

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Financial peace of mind

Limited financial liability for shareholders 

Delving into the Details: Helpful Information You Need To Know

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Business Activities

Restricted activities - just 67 to choose from.

Business activities determine:

  • ownership restrictions. Some activities allow 100% foreign ownership, whilst others require an Emirati partner (local sponsor).

  • the type of commercial premises, and any specific fit-out required.

  • if any special approvals are required from any government departments.

Business Name

The owners of the LLC choose the company name, called the trade name. The trade name must reflect the nature of the business activity(ies) being applied for on the license and be unique in that it is not already in use. The approved name will automatically have the suffix 'LLC' added to reflect the legal status.

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Commercial Premises

Upon issuance of the Abu Dhabi Instant License, an Abu Dhabi Tawtheeq lease contract for commercial premise needs to be arranged and submitted to the  DED within 90 days. (A Tawtheeq contract means the lease is officially registered with the Department of Municipalities & Transport. Without a Tawtheeq lease, a lessee can't open a dispute or claim against the landlord if ever needed.)

Commercial space must be:

  • suitable for the activities on the license, e.g. retail activities need to have a shop or warehouse; whilst consultancy activities need office space

  • large enough to accommodate the anticipated number of visas

Some business activities have specific fit-out requirements, e.g. training activities require a training centre of 100sqm as a minimum, and have special fit-out instructions which must be adhered to.

Employing Staff

An Abu Dhabi Instant License (LLC) can't register in Immigration and Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) to start processing either shareholder or employee visas until a Tawtheeq lease contract has been obtained.


There are no restrictions on the number of visas an LLC can apply for. However, the LLC should have a genuine need for the employees and be able to provide a suitable working environment.

  • Abu Dhabi LLC employment visas are issued for two years

  • Companies must pay their employee salaries via the UAE's federal payroll system, the Wage Protection System (WPS).

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  State-of-the-art commercial premises throughout Abu Dhabi

Offices, Retail, Industrial, Hospitality

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Business Bank Account Opening

Abu Dhabi LLCs can open business bank accounts and avail business banking facilities. However, it is likely that the banks will require the Tawtheeq lease to be arranged first. Bear in mind, banks regularly update their account features and conditions to be competitive, reflect their current appetite for risk and to comply with industry regulations.

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Exit Strategy

Abu Dhabi LLCs are suitable for these types of exit:

If the company simply intends to stop operations and close. When the time comes, it is simply a case of liquidating the business and cancelling the license.

If the intention is to create a saleable business. When the time comes to sell the company, the sale is conducted by way of a share transfer to the new owner(s).

Corporate Credibility

Robust legal structure

UAE Tax Compliance


All businesses in the UAE need to record their financial transactions and ensure their financial records are up to date.

Mandatory VAT registration - when taxable supplies and imports exceed AED375,000. Voluntary VAT registration - when taxable supplies and imports reach AED187,500. New businesses can register voluntarily if their expenses exceed the voluntary registration threshold.

Corporation Tax

Corporate tax is levied at 9% on taxable income exceeding AED375,000, whilst taxable income below this rate is subject to 0% rate. All businesses are required to register for corporation tax, whether or not their taxable income meets the threshold.

Economic Substance Regulations

The UAE's Economic Substance Regulations (ESR) require UAE mainland and free zone companies, and certain other business forms, that carry out any of the defined 'Relevant Activities'  (listed below), to maintain and demonstrate adequate economic presence in the UAE relative to the activities they undertake, and to comply with notification and return filing obligations.

ESR Relevant Activities

  • Banking

  • Insurance

  • Investment Fund Management

  • Lease - Finance

  • Headquarters

  • Shipping

  • Holding Company

  • Intellectual Property (IP)

  • Distribution and Service Centre.

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Still have questions?

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Why Use Gateway Group

for your business setup in Abu Dhabi

✔️ We are highly experienced in setting up Abu Dhabi Instant Licences. Our Abu Dhabi business start-up team are here to help you - from application through to the issuance of your license.

✔️ We have the ability to setup your Abu Dhabi Instant License electronically - eliminating the need to complete any paperwork.

✔️ Upon completion of your license registration, you will receive an electronic copy of your Commercial Registration Certificate and your Economic License, confirming the existence and validity of your new business.

Strategic Partnership with Abu Dhabi government preferred partner Business Setup Gatewaytouae

Strategic Partnership

with Abu Dhabi government

Gateway Group was chosen as preferred partner for business setups by Abu Dhabi Residents Office, part of the Department of Economic Development (DED). This strategic partnership is committed to attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Abu Dhabi and supporting foreign companies entering the market to promote the ease of doing business in the emirate.


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