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  • Types of business license ​

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  • Introduction

This guide explains the various types of business license in Abu Dhabi.

  • Business license types in Abu Dhabi

Before it actually begins operating, a commercial enterprise must obtain a license that allows it to carry out its chosen economic activity.
There are six types of license: commercial, agricultural, craftsmanship (or occupational), professional, industrial and tourism.
Such licenses are issued by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.
You can apply for a business license via the Department of Economic Development website or in person at a DED customer service center.
You may also need to get approval from other relevant authorities – this will depend on the nature of your economic activity.
For example:

  • if your business operates in the insurance industry, you may need to get approval from the Insurance Authority
  • if your business operates in the healthcare industry, you may need to get approval from the Ministry of Health
  • if your business operates in the hotel sector, you may need to get approval from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority​
  • Commercial licenses

Commercial licenses are issued to the owners of businesses practis​ing activities such as:

  • general trading
  • contracting
  • real estate
  • transportation
  • healthcare​
  • Agricultural licenses

Agricultural licenses are issued to the owners of arable and livestock farms, and fisheries

  • Craftsmanship licenses

Craftsmanship licenses are issued to any person who independently practices a craft for profit, and is dependent on their physical effort, or use of tools and equipment, such as:

  • carpentry
  • blacksmithing
  • printing​
  • Professional license

Professional licenses are issued to individuals whose work depends on their mental skills, intellectual abilities, academic achievement and scientific talents, such as:

  • consultants
  • lawyers
  • auditors​
  • Industrial licenses

Industrial licenses are issued to owners of factories, of whatever type, which manufacture products for the purpose of selling them for profit.

  • Tourism licenses

A tourism license is issued to owners of facilities that specialise in tourist activities, such as:

  • hotels
  • travel agencies
  • restaurants
  • cruise boat rental
  • tourist camps
  • floating restaurants​
  • Business license issuance

The procedures and documents needed for getting a business license vary according to the legal status of the enterprise and the economic activity it intends to carry out.
See our various guides on business licenses.

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