ADGM - Abu Dhabi Global Market Freezone

British Common Law

Freezone with Independent Jurisdiction

The special feature of the ADGM Abu Dhabi Global Market Freezone is the fact that there are three independent authorities within the Free Trade Area, the Registration Authority, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and the ADGM Courts. This combination ensures that the Zone is in line with best practices and that a company within Abu Dhabi Global Market Square is recognized by all global financial centers.

Independent court system based on the British Common Law

The ADGM courts of first instance and of the appeals court are responsible for all civil and commercial disputes within the ADGM. The legal framework of this free trade area is based on the British Common Law so that the above-mentioned courts can access well-established precedent cases. This in turn ensures that ADGM provides its companies with the same level of security and flexibility in regulatory and legal terms as better-known centers like Hong Kong, Singapore and London.

Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA)

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), which operates at Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, guarantees a fair and efficient regulatory environment, both internationally and within the Emirates.

Abu Dhabi's aim with this Freezone is to create a well-regulated financial market that adapts to international standards and best practices of global financial centers such as London, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Process of company formation

The Abu Dhabi GLOBAL MARKET (ADGM) offers 2 types of licenses. for financial companies and other companies.


In essence, the first step in founding an operating company in ADGM is to file a business proposal and provide:

Business plan (no template is provided as each case is different), which contains a general description of the company, its operations, its financial projections and the management team. If it is a well-known company, the business plan can be more fundamental.

A business plan for an operating company should cover the following points:

  • Will the proposed company carry out financial business activities within the meaning of Annex 1 of the ADGM FSMR module?
  • What business activities do you intend to carry out?
  • Describe your relevant expertise and follow the suggested activities
  • Describe the opportunities, challenges and competitive conditions of the company
  • Describe the funding sources for the company
  • What is the expected number of employees for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years of operation?
  • Curriculum vitae and passport copies for each member of the executive board and the authorized signatories
  • Business Application Form


Upon receipt of the pre-approval, one can start with the second stage and submit the charter application to register the company and issue the commercial license.

  • Application for the integration of a private company
  • Fit & Proper shape
  • Commercial License / Memorandum
  • Company name reservation


One must note that every company is obliged to rent an office. There are 2 large business centers and you can rent fully equipped offices on an annual basis from a 1 room office to the entire floor. We are happy to take over this hurdle for you.

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Cots of setting up a company in ADGM

Starting a company in the ADGM is not cheap and you should not be fooled by tempting online offers. Only the prices of the license are mentioned and mostly the fact that an office is mandatory is being concealed.

A license in ADGM starts at US $10,300 (AED38,000) per year for non-financial corporations and requires a minimum of US$ 13,600 (AED50,000) in annual office rental. If one adds the fees of the Set Up Services, a minimum cost of US$ 28,000 (AED103,000) must be anticipated for the first year.

For financial institutions you have to expect at least US$ 40,000 (AED150,000) for the first year.

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Tech Startup License - from US$700

Currently the Freezone offers a very attractive so called Tech Startup License. This license allows new entrepreneurs to set up their new company in the Emirates cost effectively. Office space is not necessary with this license; so-called mailbox services or the address of an agent suffice.

However, this is only intended as a startup and is only valid for 2 years. After this period, the company must be converted into a full-fledged license.

Benefits of the Tech Startup License

The license offers many benefits, including:

  • An independent jurisdiction with an internationally recognized English common law framework
  • Full operational commercial license
  • Low cost annual license fee of $700
  • Possibility to receive up to 4 employee visa
  • No physical office space required
  • Access to the Entrepreneurship Support Program
  • Access to local and international experts

Who can apply?

  • Technology-oriented startups *
  • Product / market fit to support sustainable economic development
  • Tech start-ups geared to the national innovation focus sectors of the Emirates
  • Local, regional and international start-ups

* The ADGM Tech Start Up License cannot be applied for by technology service providers

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