• Jenny Hunt

Introducing The New Instant License In Abu Dhabi

15th July 2019

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 currently 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.


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).


Onshore License: This means the company can work directly on government contracts and can apply for Supreme Petroleum Council approval to work directly with ADNOC.


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


Ownership: Individuals or companies.


Legal Form: Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Establishment.


License Cost: LLC approx. AED6,500-7,500 and Establishment approx. AED500-3,000. This is an upfront fee payable to the government and covers the initial license period of two years.


Processing Time: License issue is the same day.


Commercial premises: An office, or other suitable premise depending upon the activity, is required as Instant Licenses need a Tawtheeq (attested tenancy contract issued by the Municipality). It should be noted that whilst in most instances, the Tawtheeq is required to be submitted within 90 days of the license issue, for some activities, such as medical and education, it is necessary to have a Tawtheeq when submitting for the instant license.


Employing Staff: A company with an instant license can register in Immigration and Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE) to employ staff.


Instant licenses for energy, waste and recycling-related activities

On Sunday 14th July, the paper edition of the Khaleej Times featured an article informing six energy, waste and recycling activities which 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 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 Ghadan 21 initiative which is a AED50bn investment project, covering 50 initiatives focusing on: business and investment; society; knowledge and innovation; and, lifestyle with the aim of encouraging investment, stimulating innovation and improving quality of life for Abu Dhabi's citizens.


If you are planning to expand your business to Abu Dhabi and the new instant license looks attractive for you to set up and get going quickly, speak to Gateway about how we can help navigate the business set up formalities and structure your business so you have full operational and financial control of your business by engaging one of Gateway's unique nominee local sponsor packages. To get started with your Abu Dhabi business set up, email Gateway: info@GatewayToUAE.com


Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO

Gateway Group of Companies, Abu Dhabi & Dubai UAE

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