United Arab Emirates: Carrying Out Business On ADNOC Facilities And CICPA Security Passes

Last Updated: 25 June 2019
Article by Constantin Frank-Fahle and Andrés Ring

The Critical Infrastructure & Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA) is the authority responsible for providing necessary security and protection against any threats, acts of sabotage or potential and unexpected risks that may cause damage or disruption to the functioning of all critical installations, infrastructure and establishments in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. When carrying out activities on the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's (ADNOC) facilities, service staff is required to have obtained special Security Passes from CICPA. This legal briefing gives an overview on the requirements for obtaining CICPA Security Passes, also in light of Abu Dhabi's new Dual License Initiative (DLI).

1. What is the role of the Critical Infrastructure & Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA)?

The Critical Infrastructure & Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA) is the government authority operating under the General Directorate of Armed Forces. It is responsible for dealing with petroleum installations (onshore and offshore) and protecting Abu Dhabi's critical infrastructure1.

This governmental body was initially launched in May 2007 under Law No. 14 of 2007 as the Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA). CNIA's functions and responsibilities were transferred to CICPA in 2012 in accordance with Abu Dhabi Law No. (1) of 2012. As part of this function, CICPA has implemented a complex security pass system.

2. What is a CICPA security pass? And who needs one?

A CICPA Security Pass is a security permit that grants access to Abu Dhabi' s critical infrastructure. Temporary permits can be arranged for a period ranging from one day to one month.

CICPA Security Passes are generally issued for individuals, companies, vehicles (operated with or without drivers) and vessels conducting work in sectors which are considered to be part of the critical infrastructure in Abu Dhabi. Critical infrastructure refers to, among other things, maritime industry, power plants, energy industry, oil and gas, finance, transport (air, land maritime, as well as rail), water, health, and communication. In addition, security sasses will not be issued to persons holding a tourist or free zone visa.

3. Who can apply for such a pass? What documents typically need to be submitted?

Any personnel rendering services or carrying out activities on ADNOC's facilities are required to obtain special security passes.

Only companies with a commercial license in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi are eligible to obtain a security pass. After registering (e.g. retrieving a commercial mainland license), companies need to open a file with CICPA and submit the relevant contracts along with the rest of the necessary documents (see below). Following a security clearance, a CICPA Security Pass will be issued to a company representative and/or designated personnel.

Among other things, the following documents are required to be submitted in order for a company to open a file with CICPA:

  • Valid trade license issued by the competent authorities, including the activity of "onshore and offshore oil and gas fields and facilities services" and the relevant commercial activity, carried out by the entity;
  • Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry membership certificate;
  • Establishment card;
  • Letter from the company's bank, stating the company's account number;
  • Memorandum of Association (for companies);
  • Letter from the company stating their business activity;
  • Company's exclusive agencies;
  • Owners' and/or partners' passport and
  • Filled in forms prepared for this (retrievable from CICPA's website).

At the moment, the cost for applying for a CICPA Security Pass depends on the type of permit required. They are subdivided as follows:

  • Security Pass (individuals): AED 100;
  • Security pass (vehicles): AED 200;
  • Security pass (vessels): AED 500;
  • Photography fee: AED 200.

The required documents and filled out forms must be submitted in person at the head office of CICPA in Abu Dhabi.

If all documents are submitted in due order, the issuance should take no longer than ten (10) working days.

4. Can a Free Zone Company apply for Security Passes?

Typically, it is not possible to apply for a CICPA Security Pass through a Free Zone Company. Only companies licensed by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development- (ADDED) can apply for a CICPA Security Pass.

However, in 2018 the ADDED has launched the first phase of its Dual License Initiative (DLI) for free zone companies based on the Administrative Order No. 219 of 2018. DLI allows free zone companies to operate onshore in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra regions without leasing a separate office or engaging a local partner or sponsor. In order to obtain a dual license, companies have to retrieve a non-objection certificate from the Free Zone Authority and confirm that they do not have any other branch outside the free zone.

Keeping in mind that it is required to submit a license including "onshore and offshore oil and gas fields and facilities services", it should be noted that such activity is subject to the Supreme Petroleum Council's (SPC) approval. Recently, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Masdar City Free Zone (Masdar) have signed separate Memoranda of Understanding with SPC.

Based on this, free zone entities registered in ADGM and Masdar are technically eligible to apply for CICPA Security Passes directly. CICPA has confirmed this with regards to Masdar. At the moment, CICPA, however, does not have any experience with ADGM (likely due to ADGM's licensable activities being more consulting oriented). Finally, it should be noted that the scope of such passes would be limited to ADNOC facilities (and no access will be given to e.g. nuclear or other power plants).

5. Conclusion

Investors who are active in the installation and or after-sales market (e.g. maintenance) are typically required to carry out onsite activities on ADNOC's premises, either directly for ADNOC or for any of its EPC contractors. Prior to carrying out such works, investors will obtain CICPA Security Passes for the deployed staff. In order to retrieve such passes, the applying corporate vehicle must be registered in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

In the past, investors may have delegated such responsibilities to their respective customers. However, in light of ADNOC's localisation program (In-Country Value – ICV), investors are now faced with the necessity of setting-up their own corporate vehicle in order to obtain and boost their localisation score (ICV score).

  • If investors have already set-up their structure, they will only have to obtain relevant CICPA passes and add the respective costs to their Abu Dhabi vehicle to attribute such costs to their ICV score. If investors have not yet set-up a corporate vehicle, they should make themselves familiar with the new options provided by the DLI.


1. Further information on this is available under CICPA's website: (www.cicpa.ae).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions