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Abu Dhabi Trader License (Tajer License)

About the Abu Dhabi Trader License (Tajer License)

The Abu Dhabi Trader license, previously known as the Tajer license, allows startups, micro businesses and small businesses to practise a wide variety of activities - currently there are 1,200 to choose from. It's a incubator-style license enabling the license holder to setup in Abu Dhabi and test the market without needing to lease a commercial space for the first three years. This provides the flexibility for the license holder to work wherever they want, whilst removing the financial burden of a lease during the startup phase. A local sponsor is required.


✔️ Cost-effective license for startups in Abu Dhabi

✔️ Abu Dhabi mainland license, work throughout Abu Dhabi emirate

✔️ No commercial premises needed for the first three years

✔️ Suitable for e-commerce business

✔️ Suitable for friends to start a business together

✔️ A local sponsor is required

✔️ Visa - optional, but mandatory to employ staff

✔️ Ability to employ up to 3 staff

✔️ 12 months validity, renewable

✔️ Some banks may offer corporate banking facilities

✔️ Establish a side business whilst remaining in full-time employment

✔️ Individuals can be in control of their own residence visa

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Who Can Apply For The Abu Dhabi Trader License?

Who is this license suitable for?

✔️  Startups

✔️  Entrepreneurs

✔️  Micro businesses

✔️  Small businesses

✔️  Side-hustles

Who is eligible for this license?

✔️  Applicants must be over 18.

✔️  UAE citizens

✔️  UAE residents

Ideal Startup License

A Local Sponsor is required

Abu Dhabi Trader License Legal Structure & Ownership

Mainland or Free Zone?

The Abu Dhabi Trader License is a mainland license, issused by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), enabling the license holder to work throughout the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. This is not a free zone license.

Legal Form

The Abu Dhabi Tader License takes on the legal form of a Limited Liability Company (LLC). This 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 shareholders' 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, commited fraud etc.)


The Abu Dhabi Trader License requires a minimum of two shareholders and allows a maximum of 50. The shareholders must be individuals. An individual Emirati partner is required to hold 51% of the shares in an Abu Dhabi Trader License (see 'Local Sponsor / Local Service Agent' below).

Share Capital

Minimum share capital is not defined

Requirement for paid up share capital - waived

Local Sponsor?

The Abu Dhabi Trader License requires an Emirati partner to hold 51% of the shares. As the shareholders must be individuals - corporates aren't allowed - Gateway Group understands that expatriates may not have established reliable, trustworthy relationships which would be suitable for fulfiling this commitment. Trying to find the right Emirati partner can delay the business setup and add extra pressure and uncertainty. To remove this hurdle, Gateway Group is willing to provide access to our own Emirati partners, to give our clients confidence their investment, assets and interests in their Trader License are protected, whilst providing them with the freedom to manage the day-to-day operations of the company without interference. Scan the QR code to Whatsapp Gateway Group's business setup team in Abu Dhabi to find out about our Individiual Local Sponsor Service:

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Exisiting Residence Visa

If the Abu Dhabi Trader License holder has an existing residence visa, it is not necessary to make any changes to the visa status.

This license-type is ideal for individuals wanting to start a side business, whilst still in full-time employment. It enables the license holder to continue working under their existing employer's visa sponsorship, whilst building up sufficient regular income for themselves, before commiting to going 100% all-in and being fully self-employed. (The individual should check they won't be contravening any non-compete agreements they might have signed with their existing employer, if they will be providing the same/similar services, which would be in direct competition.)

Abu Dhabi Trader License Visa

Abu Dhabi Trader license holders can apply for a residence visa, 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. Upon successfully obtaining their own visa, the license holder can then sponsor their family members, providing they meet the requirements.

Quick & Easy to Set Up

3-5 Working Days

Abu Dhabi Trader License Details

Processing Time

Upon submission of the Abu Dhabi Trader License application, it is usually reviewed quickly, with the license issuance within 3-5 working days.

Economic License Validity

The Abu Dhabi Trader License is issued for a period of 12 months.


Economic License Renewal

The license needs to be renewed annually. Delays in renewing the license will incur fines for the license holder which will increase each month the license is not renewed.


Economic License Cancellation

When the license is no longer required, it needs to be cancelled and removed from the official registry. Failure to cancel the license will result in fines accruing, as well as liabilities relating to non-filing of tax returns.

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Abu Dhabi Trader License Visa

License Holder

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 Trader license is optional.

Who is the sponsor of the visa?

The Trader license (your new company) 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.


Abu Dhabi Trader License Only

✔️  Full name

✔️  Date of birth

✔️  Nationality

✔️  Residential address (inc. verification, e.g. utility bill)

✔️  Mobile number

✔️  Email address

✔️  Source of funds

✔️ Occupation, employer

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

✔️  Passport copy (minimum 6 months validity)

✔️  Visa copy

✔️  Emirates ID copy

✔️  Proof of expertise in the activity being applied for:

       University degree (Attested) or

       Certificate of experience or accredited accomplishments (Attested)

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

✔️  Purpose of the transation

Abu Dhabi Trader License & Visa

✔️  Everything in the Trader License list PLUS:

✔️  High resolution, passport size, studio photo, white       background (soft copy)

✔️  Health insurance

​✔️  Marital status

✔️  Mother’s name

✔️  Religion

✔️  Home country residential address

✔️  Home country telephone number

✔️  UAE residential address

✔️  Previous residence visa copy

✔️  Previous Emirates ID copy

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 you the best and easiest experience for setting up your business and applying for visas in Abu Dhabi.

Although this license setup isn't avilable to buy 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.

Thanks for reaching out to us.  One of our team will contact you shortly.

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Be your own boss

Ready to start your own business?

Delving into the Details: Helpful Information You Need To Know

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Business Activities

A wide selection of over 1,100 business activities are available for the Abu Dhabi Trader License.

Business Name

The license holder chooses the name for their business, called the trade name. The trade name must reflect the nature of the business (the activity(ies) being applied for on the license) and be unique in that it is not already in use.

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Work wherever your want

Currently, there is no requirement to lease an office or commercial space for the first three (3) years of operation. This has been increased from the standard two year grace period. This gives the Abu Dhabi Trader License holder flexibility to work wherever they want and frees up working capital in the early days whilst you get your business off the ground.


An Abu Dhabi Tawtheeq lease contract for suitable commercial premises, in line with the activities on the license, will be necessary thereafter.

Employing Staff

The Abu Dhabi Trader License allows up to three (3) employees.

To employ staff, the expat trader license holder is required to have their own visa under the license first.

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Work from home. Work from anywhere.

No commercial lease required for the first 3 years.

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Business Bank Account Opening

It is possible to open corporate bank accounts with the Abu Dhabi Trader License. However, not all banks offer this facility if there aren't any commercial premises associated with the company, so it will be necessary for the license holder to check if their preferred bank accommodates this. (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.) 

Exit Strategy

Abu Dhabi Trader Llicenses 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).

exit strategy share transfer sell ownership shareholder close liquidation license business

Ideal license for startups to setup and develop

Be legal and licensed

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?

We're here to help. Scan the QR code to Whatsapp us.

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Why Use Gateway Group

for your business setup in Abu Dhabi

✔️ We are highly experienced in setting up Abu Dhabi Trader 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 Trader 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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Abu Dhabi

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