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    Al Reem Island Expansion

    About Al Reem Island Expansion

    Operations on Al Reem Island

    On the 24th of April 2023, ADGM increased its jurisdiction following the expansion into Al Reem Island. ADGM is pleased to share further information regarding the transitional arrangements to support the expansion and provide further guidance to businesses on Al Reem.

    For new business applications

    From the 1st November 2023, businesses planning to establish a new presence in Al Reem Island will need to submit their licence application to ADGM. If you’re a business planning to establish in Al Reem and would like more information, please complete our enquiry form. If you’re ready to submit your application, please visit ADGM’s online registry to start the process.

    For existing businesses

    For existing businesses in Al Reem, you can continue to operate as usual and remain exempt from ADGM’s regulations, registration, and licensing requirements up to, and including 31st December 2024.

    This transition period allows time for existing businesses in Al Reem to obtain the appropriate licence and permits to remain and operate within ADGM’s jurisdiction.

    For further clarity on the updates regarding business operations, including regulations, registration, and licensing, on Al Reem Island, please refer to our FAQs.

    2 Islands, 1 District Fastest growing financial district Resources FAQs Contact Us News

    ADGM, 2 Islands, 1 District

    The 24th of April was a significant milestone for Abu Dhabi, and for ADGM. Following the issuance of the UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 41 of 2023, Abu Dhabi Global Market, the International Financial Centre of Abu Dhabi, expanded its jurisdiction to include both Al Maryah Island and Al Reem Island. The expansion aligns with Abu Dhabi’s diversification strategy, where the financial sector will continue to play a pivotal role in the UAE’s economy and vision for the future.

    Fastest growing financial district

    ADGM is the region’s fastest growing international financial centre, and this expansion follows increased demand from both international and regional companies choosing Abu Dhabi as their preferred location to work and live.

    Being established in ADGM means joining the only jurisdiction in the region that applies direct application of English common law, getting access to talent, and as a business, operating in a growing and thriving community.

    ADGM continues to support and enhance its services for members of its community and highlight what the two islands within its district have to offer.


    Guidance Notes

    The guidance notes available on this page are prepared to assist applicants in the process of obtaining ADGM licenses. The target audience of the guidance notes are existing businesses on Al Reem Island and new applicants.

    Guidance Note – Retail Applicants Guidance Note – Financial & Non-Financial Applicants
    How to register a lease on Al Reem Island

    Download our quick guide on how to use Department of Municipalities and Transport (‘DMT’) portal to register an office lease for premises on Al Reem Island.

    Guidance Note – Lease Registration
    Further resources for applicants

    The following pages contain information on preparing and submitting your application, checklist of required documents, business activities, schedule of fees, documents and information to support your application.

    Read more
    Frequently Asked Questions

    To address your enquiries regarding ADGM and the expansion on Al Reem Island, whether you're a business planning to establish a presence in ADGM, an existing business, or a member of the community, we have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). These FAQs are regularly updated to offer more detailed information and guidance.

    1. What does the expansion of ADGM’s jurisdiction mean?

    Al Reem Island was governed by UAE federal and Abu Dhabi laws. From 24 April 2023 when the Cabinet Resolution No. (41) of 2023 was issued expanding the jurisdiction of ADGM to Al Reem Island, ADGM’s legal and regulatory frameworks became applicable in Al Reem Island. However, ADGM Board has approved a transitional period, ending 31 December 2024, to allow all businesses on Al Reem Island to meet the relevant requirements of ADGM’s legal and regulatory framework by the end of the transitional period

    2. What benefits does ADGM's expansion to Al Reem Island offer to businesses and investors?

    • Direct application of English Common Law which is internationally recognised, most commonly used, and renowned for being transparent and predictable, providing freedom of contract with a pro-business approach
    • Progressive regulations
    • Range of services provided from in-house single business platform for licence registration to immigration services, business support and services
    • Digital registration
    • ADGM ecosystem that gives access to 1600 operational businesses, access to ADGM's networking and high-profile business events such as Abu Dhabi Finance Week, access to asset managers, global funds, financial institutions, leading advisors, law firms, capital providers, tech and digital companies, family offices etc.
    • All other benefits the region offers – Access to capital, market, affordable yet quality infrastructure etc.

    3. Which businesses or businesses on Al Reem Island will fall under ADGM jurisdiction?

    All businesses on Al Reem Island will be governed by ADGM.

    4. Are there any specific conditions impacting certain activities?

    Certain business activities are controlled activities, as prescribed in the ADGM Commercial Licensing Regulations (Controlled Activities) Rules. These activities are subject to specific conditions of license. Please read these rules available here ADGM Commercial Licensing Regulations (Controlled Activities) Rules 2022 and Commercial Licensing Regulations (Conditions of Licence and Branch Registration) Rules 2023 We note that, if any other permits or licences (in addition to ADDED licences) are required to be obtained or maintained by the relevant businesses under applicable law (including licences from federal or Abu Dhabi authorities which may be necessary to engage into certain types of activities under federal or Abu Dhabi laws), these permits or licences need to be obtained or amended/renewed by businesses, as appropriate, with the relevant authorities. ADGM commercial licence does not substitute any such licences and requirements continue to apply. Further guidance on these matters will be published and can be requested as appropriate.

    5. How does the expansion impact your commercial licence?

    Although the change to ADGM’s geographical jurisdiction took effect from 24 April 2023, businesses and real estate on Al Reem Island can continue for now to operate and carry on business as before. However, you will need to obtain an ADGM licence before the end of 31 December 2024 to be able to continue your business activities in Al Reem Island after that date.

    6. Are Al Reem Island office spaces eligible for the ADGM licence effective today? If not, when?

    Yes, Al Reem Island addresses, approved for commercial use, are eligible as part of a new licence application submitted to ADGM. If the business at an Al Reem address has an existing ADDED licence, the business may decide to convert to ADGM licence (instead of registering a new business and obtaining a new licence). This needs to be completed by 31 December 2024.

    7. What is the cost of obtaining an ADGM commercial licence and its renewal?

    The registration fee varies depending on the type of ADGM Commercial licence. All information related to setting up a business in ADGM is available at Starting a Business in Abu Dhabi.

    8. You have just renewed your residential tenancy in Al Reem Island with your landlord and registered Tawtheeq. What happens to you?

    Processing and registration of all residential tenancies including the processing of other services related to real estate will continue without change and with the relevant government authority until further notice.

    9. What measures will be in place to ensure a smooth transition and minimise any potential disruptions during the transition of Al Reem Island businesses into ADGM jurisdiction?

    ADGM is currently working with mainland authorities and regulators to facilitate a smooth and seamless transition of existing Al Reem Island businesses and residential settings to ADGM's jurisdiction. ADGM has set a transitional period ending 31 December 2024. Additionally, ADGM is setting up an ADGM information kiosk on Al Reem Island, an ADGM Business Centre on Al Reem Island, conducting awareness sessions for general public and business, launching a dedicated web portal and providing on-going support from ADGM.

    10. What are the differences between the labour law of ADGM and the rest of Abu Dhabi?

    ADGM regulates employment affairs through its own employment legal framework, which can be found at Employment Regulations 2019.

    11. Will the ADGM regulatory framework be offered as an optional alternative to the existing "mainland" regulatory framework, or rather applied on a mandatory basis on conclusion of the transition period?

    ADGM’s framework will not be ‘optional’. At the end of the transition period, ADGM’s regulatory framework will apply fully to businesses located on Al Reem Island. By the end of the transition period, an existing Al Reem business will need to decide either to replace its ADDED licence with an ADGM licence or to register a new business and obtain a new licence. Given that ADGM has other types of legal entities as compared with onshore, a business converting its ADDED licence to ADGM licence (without registering a new business) may also need to change its legal form. ADGM guidance on this will be issued in due course and can be requested as appropriate.

    13. How would being part of ADGM jurisdiction affect our tax payments and VAT processing for the federal authorities?

    ADGM can provide general guidance only in relation to relevant tax legislation and is not in a position to give any tax or legal advice on your circumstances. UAE tax legislation is administered by the UAE Federal Tax Authority, you may wish to consider consulting a tax professional.

    14. Are you looking to obtain building permits, infrastructure services, planning services, or any other municipality related services?

    Reach out to Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport for all such services until further notice.

    15. Are there any restrictions moving onto digitally enabled versions of the Agreements (Lease, Variation, Termination, Licence Agreements) as well as e-signatures? Will e-signatures be acceptable under ADGM legislation?

    ADGM's Regulations facilitate commerce by providing legal validity and certainty to electronic records, electronic contracts and electronic signatures. Full version of this document can be viewed here Electronic Transactions Regulations 2021

    Contact Us

    Should you require further information beyond what is provided in our FAQ section, please do not hesitate to contact us via the form below.

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