International investors should apply for a license in the Masdar City free zone if they’re searching for one of the most affordable solutions for setting up a business in Abu Dhabi. SMEs, startups, and MNCs may grow and thrive in a collaborative environment that connects business with research and information through the company establishment process in the Masdar City free zone. One of the most sustainable urban projects in the world, Masdar City, provides a unique site for international investors in the Masdar City free zone.

    The Masdar City Freezone serves as a testing ground for businesses engaged in the research and development of renewable energy-related goods and services that contribute to energy conservation and the reduction of carbon footprints worldwide. The four interrelated corporate groups that make Masdar City include the research-focused Masdar Institute University, which aims to advance innovation, development, and research in the area.

    • Masdar Power-  It is in charge of managing the energy projects in Masdar City as well as those in the UK and Seychelles.
    • Masdar Institute of Science and Technologies-  The non-profit Masdar Institute of Science and Technologies is a center for renewable energy and alternative energy research.
    • Masdar CarbonThis is Dedicated to carbon capture and storage and clean development mechanism projects.
    • Masdar Venture CapitalThis promotes the development of renewable energy and environmental services.


    • Free Zone Limited Liability Company – In Masdar City, one of the most common types of legal entities is a Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC). In Masdar City, an FZ LLC can be established with a minimum of two shareholders. Either people or business entities may be the stockholders.
    • A foreign company’s branch – The simplest way for international firms to establish their presence in the Middle East area is to open a branch company in Masdar City. A branch office’s legal identity is inseparably tied to that of its parent firm. Thus the two entities’ operations must match. 
    • Branch of a UAE Company – Businesses that are registered in the United Arab Emirates are permitted to establish a branch office in the Masdar City free zone. It is mandatory for branch offices to perform all or some of the parent company’s duties.


    Considering this is the most important part of setting up a business in the United Arab Emirates, foreign investors must choose their activity carefully. Masdar City accepts license applications for the following well-known business segments:

    • Renewable Energy
    • Clean Tech and ICT
    • Human Resources
    • Energy Industry
    • Healthcare Services
    • Service Providers
    • Business Centre and Data Centres
    • Oil and Gas Services
    • Retail, Food and Beverage
    • Property Development Services
    • Regional HQ, trading and holding companies
    • Marketing and Events


    • Customized Workplaces – Masdar City’s office spaces are tailored to meet the requirements of various business sizes, including start-ups, SMEs, and multinational corporations (MNCs). Masdar City offers a variety of office space alternatives, including executive and serviced offices, bigger core and shell units, and Flexi desks in shared workspaces.
    • Big Plots of Land – Developers wishing to start on big projects can purchase or rent land in Masdar City. They have an amazing opportunity to develop projects that enhance the mixed-use, community-living theme of Masdar City, with sustainability as the main focus. 
    • Build-to-Suit Spaces – Masdar City enables big businesses to collaborate with the free zone to create custom areas that meet a range of business needs. Commercial, retail, residential, recreational, educational, healthcare, and corporate activities are all well suited for these kinds of areas. 


    • Register the business name – The Free Zone Authority must receive the name registration form and the AED 2,000 name reservation fee. The documentation must subsequently be sent to Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development (DED).
    • Submit the license application – After the name has been registered, the applicant will receive the trade name certificate and a license form, which they need to fill out and submit to the relevant authorities. The license application must be filed alongside the business plan and any other necessary paperwork. After examining all of the supporting evidence they have provided, the Free Zone Authority will issue them an Acceptance Letter. It may take up to three days to complete the procedure after the documents are submitted.
    • Create a Business Bank Account – After the applicant receives the approval letter, they will have to create a bank account. There is a distinct procedure for opening a bank account in the UAE. They have to contact the relevant free zone authority in order to create a corporate bank account. The Masdar City, free zone authorities would send a bank introduction letter in this situation. After opening an account, obtain a Capital Confirmation Letter from the bank, also called a Proof of Capital Letter. 
    • Get the License and Sign the Lease – The applicant must deliver the Capital Confirmation letter to the Free Zone Authority. The next step is to sign the Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA). After receiving the Proof of Capital Letter, the free zone will deliver the licensing agreement. Before obtaining the trade license, the leasing agreement needs to be signed.

    The following documents are required to set up a Business in the Masdar City Free Zone –

    • Business Plan
    • Information about Shareholders/ Parent Company
    • Original Memorandum and Articles of Association of the parent company with a list of the current Directors (Notarized)
    • Shareholder(s) / Parent Company Board Resolution / Corporate Shareholder (s) (Legalized and Notarized)
    • Details of Directors (s)
    • Details of Manager
    • Proof of Share Capital from any UAE-based bank



    100 foreign ownership

    100% foreign ownership

    The foreign investors do not need a local sponsor to establish a business in the Masdar City free zone. They can have full ownership of their business.



    100% tax-free revenue from the firm, which means that neither the applicant’s personal nor corporate income is subject to taxes.

    No minimum capital requirement

    No minimum capital requirement

    To set up a branch in the Masdar city free zone, there is no requirement for minimum capital.

    0 Import Tariffs

    0% Import Tariffs

    The business owners may import items into the UAE for a fraction of the price due to the 0% import fees and tariffs.

    Reach out to us at Relin Consultants – Leading Global Business Set Up Partners for more information about setting up a business in Masdar City Free Zone.


    Which sort of shareholder is required when a Masdar firm is formed?

    The Masdar City Company may have both individuals and corporate entities as shareholders.

    Is a Local Sponsor Required to Launch a Business in the Masdar City Free Zone?

    No, investors can have 100% foreign ownership in Masdar City FZ. They don’t need a local sponsor to launch a firm there.

    How many days will it take me to obtain a license to operate my business in the free zone of Masdar City?

    In the Masdar City free zone, licenses are granted five days after an application is submitted.

    Is It Possible for My Business to Move From Masdar City to Another UAE Free Zone?

    No, it is not currently possible to move your business across free zones in the United Arab Emirates. To transfer to a new free zone, the current license must be revoked and a new one must be obtained from the other economic zone. A branch of your current company can be established in another emirate’s free zone as an additional option.


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