No need for lease agreement in Abu Dhabi

No need for lease agreement in Abu Dhabi

Many Abu Dhabi business activities do not require an office space for the company's first year of operations. Traditionally, businesses setting up in Abu Dhabi would be required to lease an office space immediately. However, there is now over 1,200 activities that are provided a lease exemption for a business in Abu Dhabi. This assists in reducing a businesses overall startup costs.

There is an increasing number of business activities in Abu Dhabi that do not require a lease agreement or office space for the first year of business operations. No need for lease agreement in Abu Dhabi exemption is valid for one year from the date of the issued business licence in Abu Dhabi.

By granting these business activities one-year exemption from having lease contracts for a work premises, the Emirate is enhancing their attractiveness for new business setup in Abu Dhabi.

Waiving the requirement for office space in Abu Dhabi for the first year of business can greatly assist new businesses with reducing their total costs. This is particularly helpful for small businesses and start-ups. The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has assisted to reduce costs and renewal fees for starting a business in Abu Dhabi by up to 71% in the last few years, making Abu Dhabi an increasingly more attractive hub for business.

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A Virtual Office in Abu Dhabi

A Virtual Office or Flexi Desk for opening a corporate bank account in the UAE:

To open a corporate bank account in the UAE, the bank will request a proof of address as part of the required documentation. This is where the lack of lease agreement in Abu Dhabi may prove difficult for companies to be able to open the account.

Therefore, it might be beneficial for the company to get a virtual office in Abu Dhabi. This is a very affordable option for businesses. It will assist the business with saving on costs but will resolve the issue of not being able to provide a company address for purposes such as bank account opening.

For PPG sponsored clients, PPG can offer our leasing space as an option for your business licence in Abu Dhabi. PPG can provide cost effective office space with Ejari/Tawtheeq, inspection and signage through our business centre services.

Which business activities are exempt from leasing a work premises?

The ADDED have a list of over 1,200 business activities that do not require leasing agreements for their first year of operations in Abu Dhabi. The list caters to many different business activities, many of which are wholesale, retail, events, research and trading.

Some examples include:

  • Retail Sale of office furniture
  • Wholesale of Electricity Equipment and Fitting Trading
  • E-commerce through social media
  • Car body trading
  • E-sports event management
  • Marketing passes festivals and art events

View the full list of ADDED exempt activities here

What other incentives are Abu Dhabi offering to businesses?

Abu Dhabi are launching many initiatives to attract foreign investors to the Emirate. Outside of majorly reducing the costs of business set up and renewal fees, there is a great network, supportive infrastructure, and incubator and acceleration programmes to help new businesses grow and flourish. Some of the named incubators and acceleration programmes include:

  • Hub71
  • Access Abi Dhabi – Marketing & Events
  • Start AD

How can PPG assist?

If you would like more information about the Abu Dhabi Incubator programmes or if you need assistance with company formation in Abu Dhabi or any other related onshore or offshore company setup, business centre services, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman, Qatar or Saudi Arabia, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Set up a business in Abu Dhabi

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