ADGM Company Set-Up Cost: An In-Depth Look at ADGM Business License Costs

ADGM Company Set-Up Cost: An In-Depth Look at ADGM Business License Costs

ADGM Company Set Up | A Guide With Company Setup & License Cost

In this article, we will have an in-depth look at ADGM company set-up cost/business license costs.

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is an international financial center located in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. Established in 2013, it operates on Al Maryah Island and is a strategic business hub, attracting a broad spectrum of companies and institutions.

ADGM provides a dynamic environment that fosters innovation and growth. It’s home to various industries, including banking, wealth management, asset management, reinsurance, fintech, and more. ADGM also encourages the development of smaller businesses and startups with initiatives like the ADGM Tech Startup License and the ADGM Fintech Regulatory Sandbox, designed to nurture and regulate emerging technologies and industries.

3 Steps to ADGM Company Set up

Setting up a private company in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) involves a well-defined process that can be broadly categorized into three stages: pre-incorporation, incorporation, and post-incorporation. Each stage requires careful business plan and adherence to the prescribed rules and regulations set forth by ADGM. Let’s delve into the details of these stages.


Researching and Selecting a Business Activity: 

The first step is to identify the nature of your business and the specific activities you plan to undertake. ADGM offers a wide range of licenses across various sectors, including financial services, professional services, and commercial activities. It’s crucial to ensure that your proposed business activities align with the ADAM’s licensing framework.

Choosing a Suitable Company Name and Obtaining Initial Approvals:

Once you have determined your business activities, you will need to select a unique and suitable company name that complies with ADGM’s naming conventions. The proposed company name must be reserved and approved by the ADGM Authority before proceeding further.

Incorporation Process

Submission of Required Documents and Application Forms: 

After obtaining initial approvals, the next step is to prepare and submit the necessary documents and application forms for private company incorporation. These documents typically include the proposed company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, shareholders’ and directors’ details, and other relevant supporting documents as per the ADGM’s requirements.

Payment of Incorporation Fees and Issuance of the Commercial License: 

Once the application and supporting documents have been reviewed and approved, you will be required to pay the applicable incorporation fees. Upon successful payment, ADGM will issue the commercial license, officially recognizing your company’s legal status within the adgm free zone.


Opening a Corporate Bank Account: 

After obtaining the commercial license following the commercial licensing regulations, you will need to open a corporate bank account for your ADGM-registered company. This account will facilitate financial transactions and serve as a repository for your company’s funds. ADGM hosts branches of reputable international and local banks to cater to the banking needs of its registered entities.

Obtaining Necessary Visas for Shareholders and Employees: 

Depending on your company’s requirements, you may need to obtain visas for your shareholders, directors, and employees. ADGM offers a streamlined visa application process for companies registered within the Abu Dhabi free zone. This process ensures that you can legally employ and facilitate the entry of the necessary personnel to manage and operate your business effectively.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements and procedures for setting up a company in ADGM may be subject to updates and changes. Therefore, it is highly recommended to consult with professional consultancy firms like Business Setup Consultants (BSC), which possess expertise in ADGM company setups. BSC is offering business setup services in UAE.

What is an ADGM License?

An ADGM license serves as a formal authorization issued by the ADGM Registration Authority, granting a company the legal permission to conduct specific business activities within the free zone. It acts as a regulatory safeguard, ensuring businesses operate within the designated framework and contribute to the overall economic development of ADGM.

The Role of ADGM Licenses

  • Regulation: Licenses categorize business activities, ensuring adherence to industry-specific regulations and best practices.
  • Transparency: The licensing process fosters transparency by clearly defining the scope of permitted activities for each company.
  • Investor Confidence: A robust licensing system enhances investor confidence by establishing a framework for business legitimacy and responsible operation within ADGM.

Types of Companies in ADGM

The ADGM legal framework allows for the company registration of various company structures, each with its own advantages and limitations. Here’s a look at some common options:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): The most popular choice, offering flexibility and limited liability protection for shareholders.
  • Branch Office: Ideal for established companies seeking to expand their operations into ADGM while maintaining their primary place of business elsewhere.
  • Public Listed Company (PLC): Caters to companies seeking to raise capital through public offerings on the ADGM Stock Exchange.

Understanding ADGM License Types

The type of ADGM license your company requires depends on its intended business activity. Here are some key categories:

  • Commercial License: Grants permission for a broad range of commercial activities, including trading, consultancy, and general business services.
  • Financial Services License: Mandatory for companies offering financial business or corporate services such as banking, asset management, and insurance. These licenses are further categorized based on the specific financial activity.
  • Professional Services License: Required for professionals offering specialized services like accounting, legal advice, and engineering consultancy within ADGM.

ADGM Company Set-Up Cost:

Here is a general breakdown of the categories of costs involved:

1. ADGM Business Registration Cost :

This is the initial fee you would need to pay to register your business in ADGM. Registration costs are divided into categories. Each category represents the business activities of the applicant.

  • Category A: Financial Services
  • Category B: Non-Financial Services
  • Category C: Retail

Standard Cost for Registering Business in ADGMCategory A (Financial)$15,000Category B (Non-Financial)$10,300Category C (Retail)$6,000

2. Annual Abu Dhabi Global Market License Cost :

This is an ongoing yearly cost for maintaining the ADGM business license . The cost typically varies based on the type and nature of the business.

Standard Cost – ADGM Business License RenewalsCategory A (Financial)$13,000Category B (Non-Financial)$8,000Category C (Retail)$4,000

3. Additional Activity Cost for ADGM Company :

If your company is engaged in certain specialized activities, you may need to pay additional licensing fees. For instance, financial services or other regulated businesses may have additional costs associated with their specific licensing requirements.

4. Space Rental at Abu Dhabi Global Market:

ADGM requires businesses to have a physical presence within their jurisdiction. Therefore, you must consider the cost of leasing space in the ADGM area. The fees can vary significantly based on what you decide. For more information, please click on this link .

5. ADGM Service Charges:

There could be charges for various services the ADGM offers, like legal documentation, no objection certificates, etc.

Services offered by ADGMCostChange of Company Name$100Maintain Alternative Location of Company’s Records$100Appointment/Cessation of Authorized Signatories$100Maintain Details of Authorised Signatories$100Appointment/Cessation of Directors$100Maintain Details of Directors$100Appointment/Cessation of Secretary$100Maintain Details of the Secretary$100Increase of Amount of Authorised Share Capital$100Reduction of Amount of Authorised Share Capital$100Allotment of Shares$100Transfer of Shares$100Consolidation / Subdivision of Shares$100Change of Name of Share Class$100Maintain Variation of Rights Attached to Shares$100Purchase/Cancellation of Own Shares/Reduction of Shares$100Certified True Copy of Document$100Certificate of Good Standing$100Certificate of Incumbency$100Zero Tax Certificate$100Under Formation Certificate$100Adhoc Certificates (e.g. No Objection Certificates)$100Add a New Class of Shares$100

6. Visa Costs:

If you’re planning to hire foreign staff or are not a UAE citizen, you’ll need to account for visa-related costs.

ADGM VisaCostNew Employment Visa (Inside UAE) – 2 Years$1,021New Employment Visa (Outside UAE) – 2 Years$800New Employment Visa (Inside UAE) – 1 Year$750New Employment Visa (Outside UAE) – 1 Year$530Employment Visa Transfer$800

7. Additional Approvals:

If your business is related to certain regulated activities like finance, law, or healthcare, it might require other approvals from the relevant authorities, which could come with associated costs.

8. Data Protection Fees:

The Office of Data Protection (ODP) is the independent data protection body responsible for promoting data protection within ADGM. There is an annual cost that all entities must pay.

Standard Cost for Data ProtectionData Protection Initial Registration$300Data Protection Annual Renewal$300

ADGM Business License Cost

These are some general cost categories associated with obtaining a business license at ADGM. As costs may vary widely based on the type of business and other factors, getting the most accurate and up-to-date information directly from ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market) or a business consultant familiar with ADGM’s regulations is crucial.

You might be interested to read more about Family Office in ADGM , Category 4 License in ADGM , and Category 3c License in ADGM .

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