| 2 December 2021, Thursday |

Abu Dhabi unveils ‘virtual’ business licences to boost foreign direct investment

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added) revealed a virtual license for non-resident foreign investors as part of its efforts to attract new investments to the emirate.

The new license allows non-resident foreign investors to perform business in the emirate before receiving their residence permits, as well as allow them to conduct business from outside the UAE, Added said on Thursday.

Added chairman Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa said that this is an “unprecedented proactive initiative” targeting foreign direct investments.

It will ease the “economic activity licensing procedures and requirements, regardless of the location of the investor”, said Al Shorafa. He said that the initiative is in line with the directions of the UAE government to enable cross-border digital trade.

Abu Dhabi has been ratifying measures to support its economy and cut its reliance on hydrocarbons.

In August, Added said it was introducing a professional license that would allow foreigners to have full ownership of businesses related to 604 activities as the emirate seeks to attract more investors and boost its economy.

The virtual license allows applicants to gain a permit within 13 economic sectors that are considered the top strategic industries targeted by the Abu Dhabi government to attract FDI, said Rashid AbdulKarim Al Blooshi, undersecretary of Added.

These sectors include agriculture, manufacturing, repair, contracting, maintenance, installations, retail, transport, services, leasing, health and entertainment.

Foreign investors can apply for a license in any of these economic sectors and own the business outright by choosing one of two approved legal forms – a limited liability company and a sole proprietorship LLC.

The license is subject to local fees of a maximum of Dh1,000, provided all additional federal fees have been paid upon the completion of the remaining requirements.