Are you looking to expand your business into the United Arab Emirates? Dubai is the gateway to the Middle East, and its strategic geographic location allows foreign-owned companies access across the Gulf region this way. Starting a branch office in Dubai enables foreign investors and entrepreneurs to access Dubai’s market and grow their companies.
A branch office in Dubai must perform the same business activities as the parent company. The branch office serves as a legal entity of the parent company. The branch office must legally apply for a business license to begin trading.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Why start a branch office in Dubai, UAE?
- Steps to start a branch office in Dubai, UAE
- Documents needed to start a branch office in Dubai
- Cost of starting a branch office in Dubai
- Working with Trade License Zone
Why start a branch office in Dubai, UAE?
Dubai is an investor’s and entrepreneur’s dream destination. The UAE boasts a zero-tax policy on personal and corporate income and is also free from VAT on residential property for residents.
It offers a stable currency thanks to the UAE Dirham pegged to the US Dollar since 1973. When matched with open economic policies, minimal government control and private sector regulation, it’s no surprise that 90% of Dubai’s population comprises foreign nationals from over 200 countries.
The UAE government recently updated its laws regarding Residence Visas. Expats over the age of 55 years who have lived in Dubai for over ten years are now eligible for a UAE Residence Visa, making investing and retirement in Dubai an attractive proposition.
What makes Dubai so attractive for foreign nationals to live and work here is its world-class infrastructure, entertainment, parks, quality of living, law enforcement and leading healthcare facilities and services.
Dubai is also centrally located in the Middle East, serves as a gateway to Africa and Europe, and is connected to the rest of the world with direct flights to 97 countries.
Steps to start a branch office in Dubai, UAE
Starting a branch office in Dubai is lengthy, with seven critical steps to begin trading legally.
Step 1: Partner with Trade License Zone
The first step in starting a Dubai branch office of a foreign business is to partner with Trade License Zone. Our professional team will manage all aspects of your application, trade license application process, company registration, and setup process to guide you through all the documentation required by the various UAE government authorities.
Step 2: Appoint a local service agent
All branch offices must appoint a local service agent (LSA) to serve as intermediaries between the UAE government and the branch offices. This is one of the regulations for branch offices to receive their business license to conduct their business activity in the UAE.
Step 3: File an application
All foreign companies looking to start a branch office in Dubai must apply for initial approval from the UAE Ministry of Economy (MOE) by filing an application. Only an LSA can file this application on behalf of the branch office and the parent company.
Trade License Zone‘s specialists can help you with the relevant documents and legal documents required for this application process. Be sure to contact our office for expert advice and insight.
Step 4: Take consent from the Ministry of Economy
The Ministry of Economy will provide an initial approval certificate only once the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) approves the application filing. The Ministry of Economy will send the application filing to the local government authority for consent and then issue the initial approval certificate once the DED returns it for a foreign company to open branch offices in the UAE.
Step 5: Approvals from the UAE Federal Foreign Companies Committee
To open a branch in the UAE, a foreign company must also apply for approvals from the UAE Federal Foreign Companies Committee (FFCC). To complete this step, the Ministry of Economy forwards the application and the initial approvals certificate to the FFCC for additional approvals. The FFCC issues a permit letter of approval to the Ministry of Economy and the Department of Economic Development.
Contact Trade License Zone for expert assistance to assist you with this lengthy process.
Step 6: Apply for the trade license
The Department of Economic Development issues trade licenses to foreign companies looking to open branch offices in Dubai. Once you have received the requisite approvals from the Ministry of Economy and the FFCC, you can apply for your business license from the DED. You will need to select the business activities you wish to perform – and you can only perform those as listed on your trade license. Partner with Trade License Zone to ensure you don’t make any errors or cause delays.
Step 7: Register with the commercial authorities
After your applications have been granted and your business license issued, you must register your Dubai branch office with the Ministry of Economic Companies Register and the Dubai Chamber.
Documents needed to start a branch office in Dubai
These are the relevant documents required to open branch offices in the United Arab Emirates:
- Proof of trade name reservation of the same name of the parent company
- Application forms for initial approval certificate and trade license
- Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA) legal documents of the parent company
- Company incorporation documents of the parent company
- Director’s passport copy
- No Objection Letter issued by the parent company
- Copies of the passports and naturalisation book of the local service agent
- Power of Attorney for the local director for the branch office and general manager
- Parent company’s management board resolution for opening a branch in Dubai
Cost of starting a branch office in Dubai
The cost of starting a branch office in Dubai is AED 80,000 to AED 100,000. The cost varies depending on many factors, including the local service agent fees, government fees and approvals, office space rent, company formation services, and more. For an accurate quote, please get in touch with the expert team of specialists at Trade License Zone.
Working with Trade License Zone
Business setup in the UAE is streamlined with an expert partner such as Trade License Zone. When starting a branch office of a foreign company in Dubai, the company formation and trade license process can be lengthy and tricky to navigate for foreign nationals without prior experience.
Partnering with Trade License Zone will save you from unnecessary delays or rejections and simplify the entire process.
The specialists at Trade License Zone can get started once you provide us with some basic documentation of the branch office, parent company documents, and a little information about the nature of your parent company and its business activities.
Then, please sit back and let our team take care of the rest. We’ll manage your trade license application, communicate with all relevant local departments and authorities, and report when you’re ready to open your branch office. It really is that simple.