ADGM – Abu Dhabi Global Market Free Zone

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About Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Free Zone offers a high-quality regulated environment to those in the financial sector and welcomes non-financial service providers as well.

Spanning much of Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, ADGM is well-connected by land, air and sea – within 15 minutes of the Zayed Port and 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Prices starting from AED 16,000

Average business setup time: 2 weeks

Benefits of setting up a company in: ADGM – Abu Dhabi Global Market Free Zone

100% BUSINESS OWNERSHIP AND CAPITAL REPATRIATION

As an expatriate, you can own 100% of the company and remit all profits to your home country.

QUICK AND EASY

In ADGM, company formation is quick and easy thanks to its fully digital application process.

LICENSING OPTIONS

ADGM welcomes a broad range of professional and business services, corporate headquarters and more.

STRATEGIC LOCATION

ADGM’s strategic location makes it a gateway for local, regional and international entities.

REGULATED ENVIRONMENT

ADGM is an independent jurisdiction that has its own independent courts and offers legal certainty.

FULLY SERVICED

ADGM offers a range of support services including government and visa assistance and post services.

Business Activities

ADGM – Abu Dhabi Global Market Free Zone welcomes a range of financial and professional business activities. Here are some of the most popular options:

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Associations

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Crypto Activities

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Professional Services

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Wealth and Asset Management

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Banking

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Family Business

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Retail

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Capital Markets

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FinTech

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Listing Authority and Products

Physical Presence Requirement

You do not have to be physically present to complete the setup process of your company.

Business Setup in the ADGM Free Zone

If you’re looking to set up a business in the Abu Dhabi Global Market Free Zone, you’re in luck!

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step. ADGM is one of the most business-friendly jurisdictions in the world.

Setting up a company here is easier than ever. With our help, you’ll be able to get your business off the ground quickly and easily.

Keep reading to learn more!

What Is a Free Zone?

A free zone is a special economic area that offers brilliant tax benefits to businesses located within its borders.

There are over 50 free zones in the UAE, and ADGM is one of them. They are all intended to promote economic development and attract foreign investment.

This free zone is a particularly good choice for businesses that want to set up in the Middle East. It offers an excellent business environment and top-notch infrastructure.

What Is the ADGM Free Zone?

Abu Dhabi Global Market is one of the most modern and business-friendly free zones in the region. It was established in 2015 by executive decree from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

It is an international financial centre with unique legislation, courts, and regulatory framework.

Why Choose ADGM?

There are many reasons to choose ADGM as your business base. Some of the key benefits include:

  • 100% foreign ownership allowed
  • No corporate or personal income taxes
  • It is a financial centre with unique courts, laws, and regulations
  • Offers visa options for investors, directors, employees, and dependents
  • Companies can conduct business globally, since the ADGM license covers both local and international markets

Successful Abu Dhabi Global Market Businesses

A wealth of global businesses across the UAE have decided to call ADGM their home. Some of the most common business types include:

  • Banks
  • Depository services
  • Fund management/administration
  • Insurance companies, captive insurance companies, and reinsurance companies
  • PE & VC firms (including incubators)
  • Investment advisors
  • Management consultants
  • Business process outsourcing (“BPO”) solutions providers
  • Fintech firms

Examples of globally recognised brands that are based there include:

  • Citibank
  • Credit Suisse
  • Allianz Securities

These are all examples of businesses that have found success in ADGM. If you’re looking for a thriving business environment with top-notch infrastructure, this free zone is the place for you!

Business Formation ADGM Free Zone

To form a business ADGM Free Zone, you’ll need to choose your entity type. There are four different  entity types:

  1. Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  2. Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ-LLC)
  3. Branch of a Foreign/UAE company
  4. Representative Office

For most businesses, ADGM offers two options: LLC and FZ-LLC.

What Is an ADGM LLC?

An ADGM Limited Liability Company (ADGM LLC) is a business that has been incorporated in ADGM by at least one founder.

It must have at least one shareholder, who may be an individual or corporate entity of any nationality. ADGM LLCs are the most common type of company in ADGM.

What Are the Benefits of an ADGM LLC?

ADGM LLCs have many benefits, including:

  • 100% foreign ownership allowed
  • No corporate or personal income taxes
  • Protected by ADGM’s world-class legal system
  • Can issue debt and equity securities

If you’re interested in building a trading platform or a crypto-currency business this might be the right business format for you.

What Is An ADGM FZ-LLC?

An ADGM free zone limited liability company (ADGM FZ-LLC) is a special type of LLC that has been set up for businesses operating in the ADGM Free Zone. ADGM FZ-LLCs are usually 100% foreign-owned and ADGM does not impose any corporate or personal taxes on them.

Like the ADGM LLCs, they offer all the benefits of ADGM LLCs with a few added extras, including:

  • No currency restrictions
  • A simplified setup process that takes less than 24 hours

However, it’s important to note that there is a minimum capital requirement of AED 300,000 for ADGM FZ-LLCs.

How to Form an LLC or FZ-LLC?

If you’re considering founding an FZ-LLC as your business base, it’s important to understand the steps involved in setting up an ADGM company.

The process is as follows:

  1. Contact us here at Virtuzone.
  2. Decide on your business type ( LLC or FZ-LLC).
  3. Choose a name for your ADGM company that doesn’t conflict with any existing businesses.
  4. Apply to the registry, either by yourself or through an authorized agent such as Virtuzone.
  5. Sign the company formation contracts and pay ADGM registration fees.
  6. Apply for business licenses, either by yourself or through an authorized agent.
  7. If you’re still unsure about which entity type to choose for your business, feel free to contact us.

Please take care when choosing your business type. ADGM offers a wide range of benefits for businesses, so it’s important to choose the right entity type. We can also assist and advise on compliance with regulatory standards in the region.

ADGM Free Zone Business Setup

We have over a decade of experience helping businesses set up and form in ADGM.

We can help you with every stage of the process, from choosing your entity type to applying for Abu Dhabi Global Market business licenses. We also offer a full range of support services, including mail management, accounting, legal, and bank account opening services.

How Is ADGM Free Zone Different from Other Free Zones?

Abu Dhabi Global Market is a unique and innovative financial centre located in the heart of Abu Dhabi. The main ways it differs from other free zones are legal, regulatory, location-based, and through operational advantages.

Legal

Abu Dhabi Global Market is the only free zone in the region with unique dedicated legislation. The ADGM Commercial Companies Law (CCL) is very special. This law provides a modern and flexible legal framework for companies operating in ADGM.

In addition, it operates under English Common Law, which is well understood and respected around the world. These legal systems make it an ideal place to set up a business.

Virtuzone can assist with our legal services.

Regulatory

ADGM is the only free zone in Abu Dhabi with its very own financial services regulator, ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

The FSRA regulates ADGM’s world-class suite of regulatory regimes that are robust and comparable to those in major global financial centres. Abu Dhabi Global Market also adopts best international practices and standards for all its regulatory regimes.

Location

ADGM is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, minutes away from the central business district, key government entities and other free zones.

This makes it easy for businesses to access a wide range of service providers and government departments, as well as all the other facilities. Abu Dhabi Global Market enjoys easy access to the whole UAE via its strategic location between mainland Abu Dhabi and Yas Island.

Operational Benefits

Businesses that are based in Abu Dhabi Global Market can take advantage of global advantages. ADGM offers a wide range of attractive benefits to investors, including:

  • It is not VAT liable (except for certain supplies)
  • It offers tax transparency to help companies optimise their tax planning
  • It has no foreign exchange controls or restrictions on the remittance of profits, dividends, and capital

ADGM Free Zone Yearly Fees

There is an annual paperwork filing fee for companies registered in the Abu Dhabi Global Market. This is surprisingly only USD 100 for some companies who file online. You can see a full list of fees on the ADGM schedule of fees page.

Be sure to keep in mind that while you may not have to pay corporate taxes or income tax, there will still be business administration fees associated with managing a company in the UAE.

How Can I Get Started?

The first steps to ADGM business formation are simple.

Do you have a company name? Because it has strict guidelines on company names.

Company names should be in English or Arabic and must not contain any numbers. ADGM does not accept trademarks that contain offensive language or religious connotations, as well as registered trademarks or acronyms.

Company names cannot be similar to other registered businesses. ADGM has a list of restricted words that are commonly used in the UAE such as oil, bank, insurance and financial services.

Once you have selected a business name and registered with ADGM, you will need to open a corporate bank account. 

Business Plans Are Vital For ADGM Businesses

Do you have a business plan? Abu Dhabi Global Market requires companies applying for business registration to submit a business plan. ADGM has several guidelines for preparing your registration application, which includes the following details:

  • The nature of your business activities
  • A list of key personnel and directors
  • Cash flow forecasts and projected profit margins
  • Details about shareholders, including their share capital shares and voting rights

There’s no need to disclose where your VC funding comes from though. ADGM does not require companies to disclose their sources of initial capital.

Contact Virtuzone for Help with Your Application

Of all the Free Zones in the UAE, ADGM is perhaps the most strict when it comes to business registration. Perhaps this is because where most of the law firms, professional membership bodies, and financial regulators are based.

That’s why ADGM company formation is best handled by the experts at Virtuzone. We have helped thousands of clients incorporate their companies in ADGM and our team has many years of experience guiding businesses through ADGM’s process for ADGM Free Zone paperwork.

Other UAE Free Zone Options

ADGM isn’t the only free zone in the UAE. If you’re looking for other options, Virtuzone also offers company formation services in:

  • DMCC Free Zone
  • JAFZA 
  • DIC Free Zone
  • Ajman Free Zone
  • RAKEZ
  • Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone)

For more information about free zone company formation, contact our company formation specialists today!

Living in the ADGM Free Zone

When you set up a business in this free zone you want to be assured that your lifestyle that of your employees will be wonderful.

Dining

High-class restaurants can be found all around ADGM, with cuisines from all over the world on offer. From steak houses to sushi bars, you’ll never go hungry. Famous restaurants include The Ritz-Carlton, Emirates Palace, and Gordon Ramsay at the Conrad.

Shopping

If you’re looking for some retail therapy, ADGM has got you covered. Luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Tiffany can be found alongside local favourites like Virgin Megastore and Centrepoint. It also has an IKEA, so you can take care of your home furnishings too.

Nightlife

After a long day at work, ADGM is the perfect place to unwind with friends over drinks or dancing. The nightlife mainly consists of hotel bars and nightclubs within hotels such as Cavalli Club, Buddha-Bar, and 360°.

Sports

If you’re into your sports, Global Market has a lot to offer. There are several world-class golf courses in the area as well as tennis courts and swimming pools. You can also take part in more extreme sports like skiing, paragliding, and windsurfing.

Real Estate

Abu Dhabi Global Market is home to some of the most luxurious real estate in the world. Whether you’re looking for a penthouse overlooking the waterfront or a villa in the desert, It has something to suit your needs. Popular developments include Al Reem Island, West Yas, and the ADGM Square.

Education

Will you or your employees move to ADGM Free Zone with family? No problem. It has some top-rated schools, both private and public. It also offers a range of higher education institutions, including the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

Virtuzone Can Assist With Business Formation at ADGM

ADGM is one of the most popular free zones in Dubai for good reason. It offers a great lifestyle, top-class infrastructure, and world-renowned institutions.

If you’re looking to set up a business in the UAE, ADGM should be at the top of your list. For more information about company formation, contact Virtuzone today!

Start your business today