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Abu Dhabi’s new virtual license for Non-Resident Foreign Investors

20 Nov 2021 09:24 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Virtual licensing incorporates a number of economic activities in thirteen (13) sectors, namely agriculture, industry, repair, works in procurement, maintenance and installation, retail, transport and service business, leasing services, health management and organization, entertainment and service business support, wholesale and import and export business, subject to local taxes not exceeding AED 1000, with all additional federal taxes payable based on the type of business and other legalities involved at the time of filing. The foreign investor can apply for a license in any of these economic sectors and have 100% ownership by choosing any of the two approved legal forms that is, Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Sole Proprietorship LLC.

Overall, this initiative contributes to the commercial and service competitiveness of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It improves the ease of doing business coupled with foreign capital and cash flows. In addition to this, the aforesaid objective is in consonance with the ten principles of the 50th plan of the UAE which focuses on building the most active and vibrant economy worldwide.

Virtual licensing does not require obtaining prior authorizations from relevant authorities and focuses on granting a business license to individuals or legal entities resident outside the country to encourage them to conduct business in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Further, Mr. Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development emphasized on the Government’s efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investments. This is reflected in the ease of licensing procedures for this new virtual license that is, facilitation of economic activity licensing procedures and requirements, regardless of investor’s location and non-residency requirements which shall be met before the issuance of this license.

The aforesaid initiative was announced by the ADDED during its participation in the Abu Dhabi Government pavilion for the 41st session of the GITEX Global held in Dubai this year, under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) as a part of its recent cross-border digital trade initiative has launched the “Virtual License” which allows non-resident foreign investors to obtain an economic license for conducting businesses in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, without any prior residence procedures and from anywhere outside the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi is the second emirate after Dubai to introduce such virtual license mechanism for foreign investors to reap benefits of a lucrative region with low fees and minimal overheads.

Steps to be taken to issue the virtual license:

  • The investor shall visit the online portal of the Abu Dhabi Business Centre, select “Virtual License”. 
  • The investor shall then choose a name in English, enter his contact details and identify the economic activity to be practiced, fill in the details and then attach a copy of the passport and pay the fees. The virtual license will be then issued.

Key takeaways from the new virtual license mechanism:

  • Virtual licensing promotes ease of doing business for non-UAE residents without restriction on the location.
  • Individuals or legal entities must not be registered residents of the UAE.
  • The desired business activity must fall under the pre-determined list of economic activities.
  • The type of company must be identified, whether LLC or sole proprietorship.

Get legal advice relating to Abu Dhabi’s virtual license for non-residential investors with the help of MBG. Their legal advisory team can help navigate you through the dynamic regulatory landscape so that you or your organization do not miss out on potential business opportunities. MBG’s expertise in local laws can ensure that you are in compliance with procedures and timely execution is a core principle that drives our professional delivery. 

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