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  • Writer's pictureJenny Hunt

Introducing The New Instant License In Abu Dhabi

15th July 2019 (Updated 13th September 2023)

New instant licenses have been announced in Abu Dhabi. The purpose of these is to speed up the business registration process and is part of the government's initiative to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Abu Dhabi, as well as make it as easy as possible to do business here. The UAE ranks 11th globally in the World Bank's annual Ease of Doing Business Report 2019 due to numerous reforms over the previous few years which have boosted the country's competitiveness.

(Updated 13th September 2023)

The UAE currently ranks 10th globally in the IMD World Competitiveness Booklet 2023 issued by the World Competitiveness Centre of the World Institute for Management Development (IMD); and 1st in MENA for the seventh consecutive year.

Instant License features in Abu Dhabi

Benefits: Instant licenses are exempt from local government fees for the first two years of operation (although federal fees still apply) and they are initially issued for two years (thereafter renewable annually).

(Updated 13th September 2023)

The initiative of new trade licenses in Abu Dhabi being issued for two years and exempt from local government fees was a temporary measure and has now concluded. New licenses are issued for one year and thereafter are renewable annually.

Abu Dhabi Mainland License: This means the company can work directly on government contracts and can apply for Supreme Petroleum Council approval (SPC approval) to work directly with ADNOC.

Instant License Business Activities: There are 67 activities available for instant licenses (however, at time of writing, these were yet to be confirmed).

Ownership: Individuals or companies.

Instant License Fees: Due upfront

Processing Time: Almost instant. Within minutes. Definitely the same day if the application is submitted during Abu Dhabi government working hours, Monday to Friday.

Commercial premises: An office, or other suitable premise, depending upon the activity, is required as Instant Licenses need a Tawtheeq (attested tenancy contract by the Department of Municipalities & Transport). It is required for the Tawtheeq to be submitted within 90 days of the license issue.

Employing Staff: A company with an instant license can't register in Immigration and Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE) to employ staff, until it has registered its Tawtheeq contract.

Instant licenses for energy, waste and recycling-related activities

On Sunday 14th July, the paper edition of the Khaleej Times featured an article informing the below energy, waste and recycling activities can have instant licenses:

  • Water production treatment and desalination

  • Electricity generation with a minimum 50kWp

  • Wastewater collection, treatment and recycling

  • Storage and distribution of electricity, waterSupply, sale and purchase of water tankers

  • Collection and disposal of wastewater

The launch of instant licenses follows the launch of Tajer Abu Dhabi licenses (renamed Trader License) for expats at the end of last year. These two new license types, combined with a host of other new initiatives, such as long term visas for expats and easier sponsorship for expatriate dependants are part of the Abu Dhabi government's AED50 billion Ghadan 21 initiative driving development through investment in people, business, and innovation.

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Written by Jenny Hunt

CEO, Gateway Group, Abu Dhabi & Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Gateway Group who we are and why we exist honesty trust integrity Jenny Hunt Nathan Hunt Abu Dhabi Dubai UAE


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