Success tips when doing business in Abu Dhabi
- Not all UAE women are comfortable shaking hands with foreign men. You need to wait for the woman to put her hand out first before putting forth your own hand;
- It is also not acceptable to touch a woman even in a friendly manner on the shoulder or other places at any time in the office;
- It is common for men and women to sit at different areas of the office. What this means is that you need to designate part of your office where all the men would sit and another part of your office where the women would sit.
Interesting facts about Abu Dhabi
- Abu Dhabi comprises almost 87% of the UAE’s total land area. The population is 2.2 million. Expatriates make up 81% of the population. Arabic is the official language and English is the dominant language in business;
- Proven oil reserves 92.2 billion barrels. Proven gas reserves 212 trillion cubic feet. Abu Dhabi generates 60% of the GDP of the United Arab Emirates;
- Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), currently estimated at US$875 billion, is the world’s wealthiest sovereign fund in terms of total asset value;
- Foreign companies or individuals cannot own land in Abu Dhabi. All land in the Emirate is owned by the Ruler, HH Sheikh Zayed, except that which he has gifted to individual citizens, government departments or companies. All sales of land require the consent of the Ruler. Generally only Abu Dhabi nationals can own land in the Emirate;
- Oil and gas producing companies pay corporation tax at a flat rate of 50% on their taxable income. Foreign banks pay a 20% tax on profits;
- Cigarettes are subject to a 100% customs tax and the alcohol a 50% customs tax;
- The UAE became a member of the United Nations and the Arab league in 1971. It is a member of the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, World Trade Organization and other international and Arab organizations;
- In 2010, Brazil emerged as Abu Dhabi’s biggest export destination while the US topped the list of major import sources;
- To live in Abu Dhabi, an expatriate must possess i) a residency visa ii) accommodation lease agreement iii) a personal bank account iv) obtain a labour card and v) an alcohol license;
- A valid UAE driving license is required to drive a private car. If awaiting your visa, a temporary license can be issued. An international license will allow you to drive a rental car.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to incorporate a company?Healy Consultants can legally complete company registration within four weeks.
What is the minimum number of directors/shareholders required for an Abu Dhabi business?In order to set up an Abu Dhabi LLC, a minimum of 2 shareholders and 1 director is required. However, the director does not need to be a resident.
Are there any restrictions on ownership of company?For a limited liability company (LLC), the foreign investor cannot currently hold more than 49% of the shares. At least one or more UAE nationals must hold 51% of the share capital of the company. However, plans are being considered to allow for higher % foreign ownership.
Does an Abu Dhabi business require a company secretary?Yes, a company secretary is required.
Is the company’s register available for public viewing?Yes, the public can view the company’s register at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce.
Is an Abu Dhabi company subject to an annual audit?All business entities are required to submit annual audited accounts to the UAE authorities. However, an annual return is not required.
What are the requirements for setting up a limited liability company (LLC)?Abu Dhabi LLC needs a trade/commercial license (as well as other licenses and registrations) to enable them to carry on business in Abu Dhabi. In addition, the company should be registered with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The minimum required capital should be deposited into a bank account, prior to company incorporation.
Are there any restrictions on the business a company can purse?Abu Dhabi LLC is not permitted to carry on the business of insurance, banking, or the investment of money for third parties.
What are the tax implications of an Abu Dhabi company formation?Abu Dhabi company is not subject to tax.
Is there customs tariff when trading with other Gulf countries?As a legal entity incorporated in a member state of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an Abu Dhabi LLC is not subject to customs tariffs when trading with other GCC states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia).