• Jenny Hunt

Entrepreneurs & Freelancers: Start Your Abu Dhabi Business Without An Office

Updated: Oct 2, 2019

17th December 2018, Updated 6th March 2019

Entrepreneurs and freelancers can now start a business in Abu Dhabi and a commercial premise is not required! This is part of the Abu Dhabi government's commitment to helping entrepreneurs and boosting the economy. This means entrepreneurs and freelancers can now start a business without needing to spend on leasing an office space just to meet the requirements of obtaining their trade license. More information about the government's initiatives to boost the Abu Dhabi economy can be found here.


Until recently, it was mandatory for all companies to lease a physical commercial premise in relation to their trade license. This was a financial burden for entrepreneurs and freelancers which didn't have the requirement for such premises from the outset. Contrary, a licensing system called Tajer, has been available for Emiratis which enables them to open up a new business and a premise is not required in Abu Dhabi.


The government has now opened up its Tajer licensing system to expatriates. This enables Expat entrepreneurs and freelancers to register for a trade license and a premise is not required in Abu Dhabi.


Restrictions of Tajer Abu Dhabi licensing

  • Only applicable to UAE residents with a valid Emirates ID.

  • Only applicable to certain trade license activities. (We recommend checking if your preferred license activity is exempt prior to commencing the business setup.)

  • Premises exemption only applicable for the first two years of operation.

  • Employing staff is restricted to just three people.

  • A local sponsor is still required. (Gateway can assist with secure nominee local sponsor packages to remove unnecessary risk.)


Opening corporate bank accounts

Banks recognise the Tajer license and do not insist on companies with such commercial licenses supplying a Tawtheeq contract as part of the documents required to open a new bank account. All that is required is the passport and Emirates ID cards of the shareholders and a copy of the trade license.


Given that premises are not required in Abu Dhabi, combined with the Abu Dhabi government's recent abolishing of local government fees for new companies for the first two years of operation, this makes starting a company in Abu Dhabi now much more cost effective and attractive for entrepreneurs and freelancers. These new initiatives enable startups to invest in developing their businesses rather than paying out fees. Cashflow can be spent in the wider economy and hopefully this will result in a win-win situation for everyone in Abu Dhabi.


For assistance with your Abu Dhabi company formation, arrange a consultation with Gateway Group. We will assess your current position and future plans to guide you to the most appropriate location and legal structure for your new business. We provide a a unique selection of nominee local sponsor packages so that you can choose the level of service that is right for your business and its corporate governance requirements. We also manage the whole commercial registration from start to finish. Our on the ground experience and expertise means we can take care of the company formation whilst you focus on developing your business. To discuss your Abu Dhabi company formation, please email us: Info@GatewayToUAE.com


Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO

Gateway Group of Companies, Abu Dhabi & Dubai UAE

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Gateway Group of Companies

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