Setting up a Branch Office in Dubai
Under the Commercial Companies Act Number 8 of 1984, a branch office of a foreign company in not considered to be a separate entity. It is simply a representative office of the parent company and shall undergo all business activities under its original name. A branch office may promote and market the products or services of the parent company (there are a few restrictions), enter into transactions, offer services and write agreements in the name of the parent company.
With the exception of companies licensed to operate only in a UAE free zone, foreign companies in Dubai may carry out their core activities throughout the UAE. Additionally, the company may choose to establish an office or branch, though only after a business license has been issued by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. A license will specify the permitted business functions of the parent company’s offices in the UAE. A GCC national(s) must be appointed as an agent of the company (also referred to as a sponsor). The duties of the agent to the company are limited to rendering the services necessary to the company, without assuming any financial liability, with respect to the business, whether in the UAE or abroad. Local agents are not entitled to claim any rights or authority in the daily business operations of the company, beyond what is agreed upon.
All applications to setup a branch office in Dubai are required to include the trade name, legal form, address of foreign headquarters and the countries where it currently conducts business. Additionally, the nature of the business activity intended to be exercised in the UAE must be outlined and the name of local agent/entity, names of all partners, their nationalities, and addresses must all be disclosed.
Documents Required Prior to Approval
- Registration and licensing applications.
- Proof of reserved trade name.
- Photocopy of the director’s passport.
- No-objection letter from the director’s current sponsor.
- Photocopy of the local agent’s passport & UAE naturalization identification.
- Approval from the Ministry of Economy & Commerce.
- The company’s Board of Directors’ Resolution authorizing opening of the branch in Dubai (translated into Arabic.)
- Power of attorney issued in favor of the director.
- Parent company’s Memorandum of Association and Certificate of Incorporation (translated into Arabic.)
Documents Required After Approval
- Initial Approval receipt
- All previous documents for the Initial Approval.
- Photocopy of office lease including the plot number.
- The original appointment contract of national agent duly authenticated by the Notary Public.
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