Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) License Types for Company Formation

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Alright, you’re eyeing the sun-kissed desert metropolis of Abu Dhabi to kick off or extend your business dynasty. But first, you need to decode the cryptic scrolls of “adgm license types.” Relax, FZBuddy got you. Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is one of those financial centres that you should want to Snapchat about. Why? Because it offers a potpourri of licenses designed to fit different business plans like a glove.

Why ADGM? 

So why should you park your entrepreneurial wagon in ADGM? Simple. It’s the Monaco of the Middle East—opulent, strategically located, and rigorously regulated. ADGM sits comfortably in the capital city, offering a regulatory framework that’s as comforting as your grandma’s apple pie but a lot more useful for your financial sector ambitions. Compared to Dubai International Financial Centre, it’s the newbie but with an old soul.

General Requirements for Licensing 

Before you jump in, you gotta know the rulebook—can’t wing this one. The registration authority expects a business plan as detailed as your Netflix watchlist. Office spaces? Check. Proof of share capital? Double-check. Initial approval and additional documents? Triple-check. The average business setup time is as rapid as your morning coffee routine, provided you have all the required incorporation documents. Just keep the red tape to a minimum, and you’ll sail through like a pro.

Read more: Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Investor Benefits 2023 (Tax Advantages & Incentives)

Types of Licenses

If licenses were a rock band, ADGM would be The Beatles of the financial world—classic, diverse, and packed with hits for every type of business activity. Strap in as we break down the ‘Top 40’—or maybe just the top four—that could catapult your Abu Dhabi-based venture to stardom.

Commercial License

Step right up, if you’re into non-financial activities. A commercial license is your go-to for trading, consultancy, and all that jazz. It’s like the Swiss army knife in the ADGM toolbox. Law firms, advisory firms, and other professional services often choose this route.

Financial Services Permission (FSP) License

The FSP license is the James Bond of licenses—slick, versatile, and specifically designed for financial services firms. Managed by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, this license lets you engage in a wide range of benefits. From capital markets to private banking, it’s the license you want when you need to kick some serious financial butt.

Holding Company License

Got assets? This is for the hoarders and the guardians. Ideal for family offices or corporate headquarters, this license offers a heap of benefits for businesses with multiple entity types. International standards and legal certainty are its middle names.

Tech Startup License

Last but not least, the tech startup license is the golden ticket for you, Willy Wonka of the tech world. Specially designed to offer a base capital requirement that won’t make you faint, it’s the hipster of ADGM’s license types. This bad boy is perfect for those with big dreams but pocket-change capital, especially in financial technology.

Also read: Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Visa Cost & Types (Freelancers, Investors & Family, etc.)

Fees Structure 

So you’ve got a killer business plan, nailed your license type, and even picked out office spaces in one of the swankiest financial centres—ADGM. Time to talk moolah. Service fees can range from “is that all?” to “yikes!” depending on the range of benefits you’re after. While commercial licenses are the friendliest on the wallet, financial services companies must deal with a slightly heftier cost. Most fees are annually renewable and, spoiler alert, CAPTIAL REPATRIATION isn’t an issue here. If you’re in doubt, a quick chat with company formation specialists can save you a bundle.

Compliance and Renewals 

Navigating ADGM’s regulatory framework isn’t like choosing your next Netflix binge—it demands attention. The Financial Services Regulatory Authority is the sheriff in town, maintaining international standards that ensure legal certainty. Annual renewals involve proof of share capital, a routine diligence process, and presenting your business activity for the year. Don’t miss those business days deadlines; ADGM isn’t known for giving a second chance.

Mistakes to Avoid 

Time for a reality check. Let’s not pretend that the road to Abu Dhabi Global Market Company Formation is all roses. For starters, choosing the wrong type of license is a rookie mistake. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all tracksuit; it’s a tailored suit. Mistaking the ADGM Free Zone for a “do-whatever-you-want” land could lead to a regulatory slap on the wrist. And for goodness’ sake, ensure your articles of association don’t contradict the company structure you’ve registered.


  • What’s the average business setup time? Speedier than your last Tinder match. If all additional documents are in order, you’re looking at 2-4 business days.
  • Is there a difference between company types? Yes, a tech startup isn’t the same as an unlimited company, duh. Know your company incorporation services, folks.


If you’ve survived this far, congrats—you’re practically an Abu Dhabi Global Market aficionado. Whether you’re setting up a corporate bank or moonlighting in financial consultancy, the keys to ADGM’s kingdom are license types and understanding the regulatory authority. So hit up a business training provider or even shoot a message to Contact Creation Business Consultants. But, please, do it with the swagger that only comes from knowing you’ve aced the ADGM labyrinth. The world—or at least Abu Dhabi—is your oyster.


FZBuddy aims to provide accurate and reliable information as you navigate the UAE Freezone space. As such, our writers refer to primary information sources in supporting each article appearing on this website. These include, but are not limited to, published news articles, government portals, research papers, and more.

  1. Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is an award-winning international financial centre located on Al Maryah Island in the heart of the UAE’s capital city, Abu Dhabi. (2023b, January 23). Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). https://www.adgm.com/
  2. Home – Government of Abu Dhabi. (2023). Government of Abu Dhabi. Retrieved September 10, 2023, from https://www.abudhabi.gov.ae/

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