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Monday, December 6, 2021

How to Obtain a Unified ICV Certificate in the United Arab Emirates

ICV stands for in-country value, and an ICV certificate, in a nutshell, provides a measure of a business organization’s contribution to the UAE economy. It started as an initiative by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

Following the ADNOC ICV certification initiative’s great success, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi Ports, and Aldar Properties followed ADNOC’s example, and the unified ICV certificate was born. 

What Does the Unified ICV Certificate Measure?

As mentioned above, the unified ICV certificate measures an organization’s contribution to the Abu Dhabi economy. the Abu Dhabi government measures such participation against the key objectives of the ICV initiative, which are:

  • To open up employment opportunities in the private sector to Emiratis
  • To encourage economic diversification
  • To localize critical parts of the supply chain

In other words, the more an organization contributes to these critical objectives, the higher its ICV score should be.

Pragmatically speaking, businesses will have to show, through the documents they will submit during the certification process, that they have contributed to the Abu Dhabi economy by employing Emiratis, procuring goods and services from Abu Dhabi, and investing in the local economy

Do You Need a Unified ICV Certificate?

The unified ICV certificate is not a general business requirement in Abu Dhabi. In other words, you can register and continue to operate a business in Abu Dhabi even if you do not have a unified ICV certificate.

And yes, even if you were to register an onshore business in Abu Dhabi under the UAE federal government’s 100% UAE foreign ownership initiative, you don’t need a unified ICV certificate.

However, you need it if you’re operating in Abu Dhabi and intend to tender a bid as a contractor or a supplier in a governmental or semi-governmental project or procurement by an entity that specifically requires it. 

These include the more-than-60 entities of ADNOC, Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi Ports, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Mubadala, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Association, and the Abu Dhabi government.

However, you should note that a company without a unified ICV certificate may still be able to bid on Abu Dhabi government projects. Since ICV scores are part of the bid assessment criteria, those who have a unified ICV certificate will have a competitive edge over those who do not.

Contractors and suppliers that do not have a unified ICV certificate will be given an ICV rating of 0. And that’s basically a death sentence in a process where ICV rating accounts for 40% of a supplier or contractor’s financial evaluation

How Do You Obtain a Unified ICV Certificate?

To get ICV certification, you need to go to any of the approved unified ICV certifying bodies, submit the required documentation, and wait for your unified ICV certificate

ICV Certifying Bodies

The entities that include ICV certification as a criterion for assessing contractors and suppliers bidding for procurement have delegated the ICV evaluation to select organizations in the UAE. These certifying bodies are the only organizations allowed to evaluate businesses and issue ICV certificates.

You can see a list of the approved certifying bodies on the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development website. 

ICV Certification Requirements

To start the ICV evaluation process, you will need to submit the following documentation to your chosen ICV certifying body:

1. Your audited financial statements

These should not be older than two years from the date of the would-be-issued ICV certificate. Audited financial statements, in particular, will show an organization’s contribution to the local economy via local investments.

2. Your wage protection system reports

These reports intend to show how compliant the organization is with the UAE’s Wage Protection System. Specifically, the reports will show whether or not the organization uses the WPS to pay its employees and pays its employees correctly and on time. More importantly, WPS reports will show the extent of the Emiratization of the organization’s workforce.

3. A list of your procured goods and services

You should furnish the certifying body with a list of the goods and services you have procured in the most recent financial year. The higher the percentage of goods and services procured locally, the better for your ICV rating.

Cost of ICV Certification

The cost of getting ICV certified varies from one certifying body to another. Factors that are likely to affect the price will be the size of your company, which would naturally affect the complexity of your organization and, thus, the complexity of the required evaluation.

To ensure that you will get a fair price, you can contact the approved ICV certifying bodies in Abu Dhabi to get a proposal from each one.

Just remember, however, that it’s not only the fee that matters. You should also consider the certifying body’s reputation and turnaround times. Remember, time lost is money wasted, especially if you need the ICV certificate as soon as possible to participate in a governmental or semi-governmental tender.

Once you have chosen your certifying body, submit all of the necessary documentation to expedite your evaluation. 

ICV Certification Turnaround

Once you have submitted your documents, the certifying body will peruse your submissions. They will analyze your financial information, examine your list of procured goods and services, and evaluate your WPS reports.

After completely confirming and validating your information, the certifying body typically issues the ICV certificate within three to 15 business days.

Just note, however, that the bigger and the more complex your organization, the longer time the certifying body may need to complete its appraisal and issue you your unified ICV certificate

ICV Certificate Validity 

Once the certifying body has issued you your ICV certificate, you can use it to bid on government and semi-governmental projects in Abu Dhabi until it expires, in which case you must procure a new certificate.

An ICV certificate expires within 14 months of the financial statements’ date of issue. 

Getting a Unified ICV Certificate Is Easy

If you want to increase your likelihood of winning government tenders in Abu Dhabi, you need to get yourself a unified ICV certificate

To do this, apply for certification from any one of the approved certifying bodies in Abu Dhabi, submit the required documents, pay the appropriate fees, and get your unified ICV certificate.


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Josie Patra
Josie Patra is a veteran writer with 21 years of experience. She comes with multiple degrees in literature, computer applications, multimedia design, and management. She delves into a plethora of niches and offers expert guidance on finances, stock market, budgeting, marketing strategies, and such other domains. Josie has also authored books on management, productivity, and digital marketing strategies.

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