Establishing Branch or Representative Office in UAE

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Want to open a Branch or Representative Office?

With professional advising and consulting, Mayank will guide you through every step of transparency and quick process of opening a Branch or Representative office in UAE.

Attain 100% foreign ownership:

A popular way of existing business to enter UAE is through opening a Branch or Representative office in UAE, which retains 100 percent foreign ownership. These companies are treated as an extension of the parent’s company anywhere around the world, which is only liable to same activities the parent company has.

Branch office Vs. Representative Office in UAE?

Branch Office: A branch office sole purpose is to capture the market with setting out a commercial license which gives the benefit of conducting similar activities in UAE and attain profits. A full-fledged business that can perform the similar activities of the parent company.

Representative Office: Having a representative office cannot earn profits in UAE while the activity is restricted to do marketing and promoting its parent company products or services. Eg: Real estate developer in the United Kingdom, can setup a representative office its office in UAE and do marketing and/or promotion all over UAE.

Identifying Local Services Agent (LSA)

Both branch office and representative office are mandatory required to appoint an LSA which might be either UAE National or a company wholly owned by UAE National.

Note that the LSA does not take part in any operations, management or Ownership of the office. Speaking technically the role of LSA is restricted to obtain licenses, permits, visa etc in return of the annual fees.

Trade name reservation and initial approval:

Once the LSA is appointed, the trade name must be reserved and a proposal of the branch office must be submitted to the Department of Economic Development (DED)

Apply to the Ministry of Economy:

Submission of Application & Submission of Relevant Documents:

·        Ownership & Legal Structure of Foreign Company

·        Nature of business that Parent Company engages in.

·        Proposed business activity

·        Proposed General Manager

·        A form highlighting the below will be submitted along with the accompanying documents.

·        Trade Name Reservation & Initial Approval Certificate

Parent Company Documents:

·        Certificate of Incorporation

·        Memorandum & Articles of Associations (MOA & AOA)

·        Certificate of Good Standing

After along the application must have an approval from Ministry of Economy and Commerce indicating the specific activity in UAE.

Obtaining Branch or Representation Office license from the DED

Usually, the license will be valid for one year and annual renewals required.

Moving ahead with Office and Admin task:

The foreign company has to lease or buy an office space, the opening of the banks accounts and obtaining the visa for the employees.

Member of Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

The last step is to register under the Chamber of Commerce and Industry depending on the emirate.


About the author

Anoop is an expert on UAE Business setup and has hands-on experience in Dubai facilitating immigration and other authority’s approval work including Maid Visa, Family Visa and Resident/Investor Visa in Dubai. His other specialties include sole proprietorship investment in DIFC and Information Technology related setups in DSO. He is available via email on or direct call on +971 50 911 0516



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