Foreign Branch Setup

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Setting Up a Branch of a Foreign Company in UAE

For many foreign companies the Dream to expanding their business in a growing market like Dubai often remains a challenge. However, Companies can overcome this through an access of tailor-made advice and full assistance by professional and experts who have strong knowledge on the procedures involved in setting up a foreign branch office and Representative Office in UAE. The procedure itself involves a tedious set of government approvals and paper work which is intimidating to many.

What is a Foreign Branch Office?

Simply it can be described as a branch of an office of an International Company established in a foreign Country. The branch office can enter into commercial dealings unless you are a Trading company.

Can a Foreign Branch office in UAE carry out any business or enter commercial deals for the Parent company?

It depends on the parent company activity. If the Parent company is into trading than you cannot open a branch in mainland Dubai. However, certain professional activities are allowed based on approvals from the licensing authorities. The Foreign Branch office in UAE is not allowed to carry on any business or conduct any commercial deal by itself.

What is major difference between Representative office and branch of a foreign company?

The major difference here is that a branch office is a branch of a foreign company and may enter into commercial dealings based on the activity of the parent company.On other hand a representative office is also a branch of a foreign company but is only allowed to market the products and services of the parent company. You can also say that a representative office acts more like a marketing office and a local point of liaising for the sake of having the parent’s company presence in the region.

How To establish a foreign branch office in UAE?

To establish a branch or a representative office in Dubai, a foreign company needs to go through a very detailed process which involves a lot of visits and approvals from the government. However to briefly sum it up, the following steps would give you an overview on what you could expect during the incorporation procedure;

  • Identify and appoint a local service Agent with the help of your consultant or consulting firm.
  • Next is to get an initial approval from Dubai Economic Department (DED)
  • Then follow registration procedures which involves a number of other steps with the Ministry of Economy
  • Select your office or office location.
  • Submit the entire document with the approvals from the respective authorities back to DED to receive the license.


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