Setting up in ADGM

Grow and scale in Abu Dhabi’s award-winning international financial centre, providing an international and supportive business environment.

service

Preparing your application

1. Select the nature of your business

Financial
Banking
Wealth and Asset Management
Capital Markets
Fintech / RegLab
Non-Financial
Professional and business services
Corporate Solutions
  • Head offices
  • Treasury
  • Holding Company
  • SPVs
  • Professional Associations
  • Foundations
  • Tech Startups
Retail
Retail and entertainment
Note

If you are unsure of the category of your business, you can search the permitted activities, or alternatively you can talk to our business development team.

For Financial Activities : Please view the authorisation process overview located here. This stage will need to be completed in advance of the Registration and Incorporation.

SPVs and Foundation Applications : You will need to firstly confirm if you will be exempt from appointing a Company Service Provider (CSP) to complete your application. To support you with identifying this, we have published a tool to provide indication as to whether you will need to appoint a CSP to submit the application on your behalf.

Note

You can use this tool to confirm if you will be exempt from appointing a Company Service Provider (CSP).

2. Select the legal structure

ADGM permits a wide range of business structures to use. Overview of permitted structures is located here

3. Check that your proposed name is available for use

ADGM has a set of specific rules around the words that can be used within a proposed company name.

  1. If the name is similar to an existing name in ADGM, you will be required to provide evidence that you have the right to use this name.
  2. If your name contains sensitive terms, you will also need to provide evidence that the use of these terms have been approved for use by the relevant authorities. Our portal will provide a warning if you have entered a sensitive term as part of your proposed name (e.g. Bank, Emirates, Abu Dhabi etc.)
Note

If you are using abbreviations as part of the name, the team may request that you submit the supplementary information to explain the meaning of the abbreviation. We recommend that if you are using an abbreviation, that you upload a supplementary document to avoid potential delays. Template of this supplementary document is located here

Note

Reserving the name is not required as it can be done as part of that application. However, this service is available should you wish to register the name in advance and can be done through the Online Registry Solution

4. Identify your office space and register your lease

Having a physical presence within the jurisdiction is a requirement for ADGM entities. The only exception to this rule is for Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), for more information on setting up an SPV and the requirements, particularly the appointment of a corporate service provider, please visit here.

Note

You will be asked for proof of lease / your lease registration as part of your registration / incorporation application.

Guide

A detailed guidance on how to register your lease can be accessed here

5. Documents and Information to support your application

The completeness of your application will determine the length of time it will take for your commercial licence to be issued.

You will note below that there are a number of supplementary documents that you will need to complete as part of your application. We are currently working to upgrade our platform.

Note

Any documentation such as proof of address, or source of wealth, should be dated within 3 months from the application submission.

Note

All required documents should be in English, and notarisation is not required, unless specifically requested by the Registrar.

Registration and Incorporation documents:

Financial Services Companies

You will need to have your In Principle Approval issued before you commence your application for Registration / Incorporation.

Articles of Association

Template is available on the ADGM website but this can be amended or bespoke articles uploaded, provided the applicant can confirm that these are compliant with the ADGM Companies Regulations that can be accessed here.

Resolutions

We have published a number of templates that can be used and can be accessed here (ADGM Registration and Incorporation)

Nominee Arrangement forms

You will need to confirm whether a role is being held on behalf of another person as part of the application, i.e. if you are appointing Nominees or confirm that you are not appointing nominees. Templates located here.

Economic Substance

The Registration Authority requires all new ADGM applicants to complete the application an Economic Substance Information Form and include it as part of their application form. You can locate the template here.

Identification documents for Authorised Signatories and Directors

Valid Passport copy and Emirates ID copies. If any of the role holders are dual passport holders, please upload copies of both passports.

Source of wealth

The Registrar can request to view documentation related to the source of wealth of individual shareholders, and individual UBOs (with ownership of more than 25%). Source of wealth can be bank statement, dated not more than 3 months from the application date. Declaration can be located here.

Do you need to complete the Pre-Registration form?

The pre-registration form is only required for Category B, operational company (not tech-start up) and operational holding company applications.

All other applicants can move directly to the registration and incorporation forms:

Financial Services applicants: Please locate the forms for the Registration of Financial Services
Tech Start up and Reglab: Select the Registration of Innovation License
SPVs: Register SPV Companies

Sections you will need to complete in your form

General Details
Addresses
Authorised Signatories
Director
Secretary
Shares Capital
Data Protection
Beneficial Owners
Review

Ready to apply?

Once you have your required documentation together
you can proceed to the Registration and Incorporation application.

Online Registry Solution

Fees

The fees below are indicative for the commercial license applications only, and are subject to change.

Registration Fees

Select from Standard Pricing

Select from Special Arrangements

Summary

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