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Branch Office of a Foreign Companies in Dubai

Under Commercial Companies Act Number 8 of 1984 and Ministerial Decision Number 69 of 1989, a branch office of a foreign company does not have a separate entity. It merely represents the parent company and carries on business under its name. Usually, a branch office may promote and market the products of the parent company, enter into transactions and conclude agreements in the name of the parent company, and offer services to its customers.

With the exception of foreign companies licensed to operate from the free zone in the UAE, a foreign company may carry on its main activity or business in the UAE or establish an office or branch after a license is issued by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. The license specifies the object or objects which the company is permitted to carry on. For the license to be granted the company must appoint a UAE national or a corporate body, the partners or shareholders of which are all UAE nationals, as agent of the company (a term which, under the Commercial Companies Act, does not include commercial agency). The duties of such agent to the company and third parties are limited to rendering the service necessary to the company without undertaking financial liability in respect of the business or activity of the company in the UAE or abroad; the agent is not entitled to claim any rights or authority in the business of the company. His rights in consideration of his services are determined by agreement.

The applications to set up a branch in the UAE must contain the trade name, legal form, address of headquarters of the foreign company and the country where it carries its activities, nature of activity intended to be exercised in the UAE, name of national agent (if the agent is a legal entity, then its legal form), capital, names of partners, their nationality, and addresses.

First: Documents required for Initial Approval

  • Registration and licensing application, as well as proof of reserved trade name.
  • Photocopy of the director’s passport, and no-objection letter from the director’s current sponsor.
  • Photocopy of the national agent’s passport & UAE naturalization identification.
  • Approval from the Ministry of Economy & Commerce (commercial activities only).
  • The Company’s Board of Directors’ Resolution authorizing opening of the branch in Dubai, duly translated into Arabic.
  • Power of attorney issued in favor of the director.
  • Main company’s Memorandum of Association.
  • Photocopy of the main company’s certificate of Incorporation duly translated into Arabic.
  • Approval issued by other Government authorities according to the type of activity.

Second: Documents required after getting the Initial Approval

  • Initial Approval receipt
  • All documents submitted before in order to get the Initial Approval.
  • Photocopy of office lease including the plot number.
  • The original appointment contract of national agent duly authenticated by the Notary Public (Engineering Consultancy Companies are excluded).
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