Abu Dhabi’s Virtual License to Boost Foreign Investment.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has recently announced the launch of a virtual license to enable non-resident foreigners to invest in the emirate prior residence procedures allowing them to conduct business from anywhere outside UAE. This launch is followed by Dubai’s launch of the region’s first virtual company license in 2019. 

In line with the UAE government’s strive to enable cross-border digital trade and their desire to enhance attractiveness and boost its competitiveness in the commercial and service sectors, the virtual license would target increased foreign direct investments (FDI). It will also aid in presenting the emirate as an international business destination raising the ease of conducting business and attracting FDIs and cashflows in line with the 10 principles of the next 50 years plan for the UAE primarily the second principle of building the best and most dynamic economy in the world. 

The virtual license covers 13 economic sectors that are considered the top strategic industries targeted by the Abu Dhabi government to attract more FDI and include agriculture, manufacturing, repair, contracting, maintenance, installations, retail, transport, services, leasing, health, and entertainment.

Foreign investors may apply in any of the specified sectors for a license to own the business 100% right away in any of the two approved legal forms as per the choice namely a limited liability company or a sole proprietorship LLC.

A local fee of a maximum of AED 1,000 is applicable for the license, provided all additional federal fees according to the type of activity selected and the legal form preferred to have been paid upon the completion of the remaining requirements.

The Acting Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Business Center, Mr. Rabie Al-Hajri, said that the virtual license does not require prior approvals from the concerned authorities and focuses on granting an economic license to a natural or legal person residing outside the UAE to encourage them to do business in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

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