Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is a financial free zone in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that offers a wide range of financial services, including banking, asset management, insurance and reinsurance. ADGM is also home to a number of legal services providers, including law firms, accountants and auditors.
ADGM’s Growth Strategy 2023-2027 aims to position Abu Dhabi as a leading global city, with the financial sector contributing significantly to its GDP.
The addition of Al Reem Island expands ADGM’s geographic area to approximately 1,438 hectares, making the financial district ten times larger than its current footprint. The expansion is a response to increased demand from international companies choosing Abu Dhabi as a preferred destination for business expansion.
ADGM provides a well-regulated financial ecosystem with a robust legal framework, aligned with international standards. Being within ADGM’s jurisdiction provides qualifying businesses with the benefit of a 0% corporate tax rate on their qualifying income.
ADGM has seen remarkable growth in just eight years, supporting 1,400 operating entities, 5,500 business licenses, and employing 11,000 people.
How to apply for the ADGM startup license
Despite being a financial free zone, ADGM welcomes applications from organizations interested in engaging in both financial and non-financial business activities.
- The ADGM Tech Startup License provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs of all nationalities to apply. To be eligible, the license requires the appointment of a signatory who either resides in the UAE or possesses a UAE entry stamp on their passport.
- This license is specifically designed for technology-driven startups, including in financial services, with innovative business concepts. Additionally, the startup should have current traction or be at least at the prototype stage, and the business should be deployable in the UAE.
- The license has an initial validity period of 12 months, which can be renewed for an additional 12 months. After the second year, it is expected that the company’s success will warrant a transition into an operating company. Alternatively, it can be converted into a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
- One advantage of this license is that it does not require physical office space. Instead, entrepreneurs can use a virtual office space provided by an ADGM registered service providers.
- With the ADGM Tech Startup License, you can also apply for up to 4 employee visas, allowing you to build your team as needed.
At Healy Consultants, we specialize in helping startups and entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of establishing and expanding their businesses worldwide. If you’re planning to set up a business and open a local bank account in the Abu Dhabi free zones, our experienced team can provide valuable insights and guidance to streamline the process.