CICPA Security Pass in Abu Dhabi

CICPA Security Pass in Abu Dhabi

Does my company need a CICPA security pass to work in Abu Dhabi?

Are you an employee or company working at an establishment in Abu Dhabi which has been deemed a critical part of Abu Dhabi’s infrastructure? If so, then yes, it is likely that you and your company will need a CICPA pass.

In order to protect Abu Dhabi’s infrastructure and assets, CICPA was set up to prevent any security risks or actions by hostile groups. The Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA) is responsible for safeguarding Abu Dhabi and therefore they issue security permits for companies, vehicles, vessels, land and individuals who work in sectors which are considered to be a vital part of Abu Dhabi’s infrastructure.

CICPA was previously called Critical National Infra structure (CNIA) and CICPA passes are still sometimes still referred to as CNIA Passes.

The CICPA’s Mission The Critical Infrastructure & Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA) is the government authority which has the mission of safeguarding Abu Dhabi’s critical infrastructure to assure economic and social stability.

In order to safeguard the country, the organisation works with government authorities and other security forces such as the UAE armed forces, to work tirelessly to protect Abu Dhabi’s important infrastructure. With this in mind the CICPA has set up public-private partnerships and created opportunities to share best-practice. It also monitors the personnel, vehicles and companies who work in industries which are a core part of Abu Dhabi’s infrastructure.

What is a CICPA security pass?

Employees working at the premises of any establishment which has been deemed critical to Abu Dhabi are required to register their relevant staff for security permits with CICPA. The staff can be working both onshore or offshore, at sea as well as on land.

What type of staff require a CICPA security pass?

Staff who work at the premises of a company or establishment which is considered part of the Critical National Infrastructure would require a security pass.

While this is not an exclusive list, if you work in maritime industries, power plants, energy industry, oil and gas, finance, transport (air, land maritime, as well as rail), water, health, and communications, then it is likely that you may require one of these security passes.

Many Government services and also companies which the ‘food supply industry’ depends on, are also likely to be covered. Companies working in the airline industry and aviation are highly likely to need a permit as well, as this is a sector vulnerable to potential attacks.

Important: If you have a Free Zone visa, visitor or tourist visa, or a visa issued from another Emirate which is not Abu Dhabi, then it is unlikely that you will be able to obtain a security permit.

In some cases temporary permits can be obtained by using temporary work contracts under special circumstances.

Which companies require CICPA security approval?

As a general guideline, any assets, facilities and companies, which if destroyed, would prevent the country from conducting its defense per key infrastructure strategy could be deemed critical and are therefore likely to need a security permit. If these companies or facilities were destroyed or unavailable for an extended period of time, then this would significantly impact the social and economic wellbeing of the UAE.

Whether a company or job is considered part of this critical national infrastructure can also be dependent on the supply chain. For example, the supply of food to the region is dependent on transport. Therefore, transport is considered a critical part of the National infrastructure.

Companies setting up and operating in the Oil and Gas industry may require to obtain CICPA passes for staff and technicians that are vising Critical Infrastructure areas, such as Oil Rigs, Refineries and Power Plants. Not to mention, also Supreme Petroleum Council Approval (SPC Approval). Therefore companies need SPC Approval and to obtain CICPA Passes if the are working in the Oil and Gas industry in the UAE.

It is interesting to note that permits can be issued for vehicles, vessels, drivers, on land and offshore, and also for specific tasks such as photography for example. Therefore if your company, or any of your staff, intend to work in one of these areas, then it is important to find out if you need to obtain a CICPA security pass.

How do other countries address security risks to their infrastructure?

USAIn the USA since the 9/11 disaster, they have created a Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. The Department of Homeland Security-DHS, works with companies, communities, and state governments to improve the security of the nation. UKIn the UK they have created the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure. CanadaCanada has established an organisation called the Public Safety Canada-PSC. AustraliaAustralia’s has the National Security Agency to consider its infrastructure security requirements.

The UAE is encouraging other countries within the GCC to also consider how to plan for on-site emergencies, create business continuity plans and create systems to increase security measures at speed, if an emergency required it.

How do I apply for a CICPA security pass?

Applying for a CICPA pass can be confusing and the process is not always clear. Companies such as PRO Partner Group can assist you to navigate the complicated government processes.

First of all if you are a Company or a Branch you will require a full onshore Abu Dhabi Trade License.

Steps and documents required –to apply for a CICPA Security Pass 2018

STEP 1 - Set up the Company and CICPA Representative with CICPA

  1. The local company or branch is set up and has an Abu Dhabi Trade Licence (with SPC approval if access to ADNOC Group is required)
  2. The Company provides PRO Partner Group (PPG) with the CICPA approved contract from the Main Contractor, Government Organisation or ADNOC Co – this is called the LOA – (Letter of Authorisation)
  3. The Company designates an employee (which has a labour card from the Abu Dhabi LLC or AD Branch) to be the designated CICP representative (‘CICPA PRO’). Note that PPG can act as your CICPA PRO in certain circumstances.
  4. PPG will send specific CICPA applications to the Company to complete for each individual and provide a special red passport photo. PPG will then complete and type each application and check it.
  5. The authorised CICPA PRO for the LLC must then submit the completed application plus all relevant additional documents required (see PDF link here) to the specific CICPA geographical location as detailed in the LOA – note this must be done manually.
  6. CICPA specify a turnaround time of normally 2-3 working days.
  7. The authorised CICPA PRO must return after 3 working days and chase up the application until the CICPA passes are issued. Note that this is a manual process which requires someone to physically travel to the location – this cannot be checked online or over the phone at the current time.
  8. If all documents are in place the whole process can take up to 10 working days to complete.


  • Passport copy of designated CICPA PRO
  • EID copy of designated CICPA PRO
  • Visa page copy of designated CICPA PRO
  • Signature Proof of designated CICPA PRO
  • Valid AD Co. Trade license With SPC Approval
  • POA Authorised CICPA PRO – must show specific CICPA powers within POA
  • Company registration with CICPA Company must register with CICPA and their specific project to obtain a CICPA pass – LOA needed here

We hope this article has helped you to gain and understanding of the process and why these passes and permits exist. To get assistance with your company’s CICPA application, please contact PRO Partner Group:

+971 (0)4 456 1761 (Dubai) +971 (0)2 448 5120 (Abu Dhabi)

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