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Setup a Branch Company in UAE

branch of foreign company

It only takes a couple of steps to set up a branch company in UAE. It will even be easier if the assistance of an experienced business setup consultant is present for you. FAR Consultants is one of the business setup firms in UAE that is dedicated to helping businessmen in their venture—from choosing a company to establishing it entirely.

To know more about setting up a branch anywhere in UAE, you can see it here.


What are the Steps to Setup a Branch Company in UAE?

Step 1: Identifying a Local Service Agent (LSA)

A local service agent must be either a UAE national or a company that is owned by UAE nationals. This person or entity is required for a branch company to have before anything else.

However, it should be noted that LSAs do not take part in any company management, operations, or ownership. LSAs’ role is only for the administrative tasks, like securing visas, permits, licenses, and others.

A written agreement with the LSA needs to be signed in front of the notary public.


Step 2: Reservation of a Trade Name and Obtaining an Initial Approval

An application needs to be submitted for a trade name reservation and initial approval at the Department of Economic Development of the Emirate where the business set up is going to be conducted.


Step 3: Applying to the Ministry of Economy

The form needs to be filled with complete details about the company, such as place of head office, share capital, business activities, name of the general manager that will run the branch in the UAE, etc.

Certain documents will need to be passed along with the application. These documents include the trade name reservation certificate and initial approval from Step 2, the notarized signed agreement with the LSA from Step 1, identification documents of the LSA, the company’s documents (COI, MOA), board resolution authorizing the opening of a branch, audited financial statements of the parent company for the last two years, a statement about the company’s activities, etc..3

After reviewing, the MOE will release an initial approval. When this happens, additional documents are needed to be passed to the MOE, such as the parent company’s COI, local bank deposit certificate, etc.


Step 4: Obtaining of License from the Department of Economic Development

In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the Ministry of Economy (MOE) will issue a formal approval through the Department of Economic Development (DED) in the mentioned Emirates.

The applicant needs to submit a further application to the DED once the approval comes through. This application needs to be submitted along with the similar documents that were submitted to the MOE, such as MOE approval in Step 3 and other approvals from certain authorities that are needed depending on the industry or business activities of the branch company, the proposed location where the branch company will be situated in the UAE, undertaking from the foreign parent company, and others.

The DED will then issue a commercial license after review and assessment of the submitted documents. This is valid for a year and renewable.


Step 5: Administrative Tasks Completion

These administrative tasks include the leasing for office space, opening bank accounts for the branch office’s operations, obtaining visas and labour cards for employees, and other things. These things are easier to do with an expert with you, like the FAR Consultants who have been doing it for 35 years now.


Step 6: Becoming a Member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The final step for a businessman to set up a branch company in UAE is to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce either in the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, wherever the branch is located.

Basically, it is the same in the sense that an application is needed to be submitted along with certain documents like the branch company’s commercial license, office lease agreement, copies of the passports of the branch’s authorized people, etc.


What is the Cost to Establish a Branch Company in UAE?

The fees that need to be paid to set up a branch company in UAE differ from one Emirate to another. One cannot expect the same fees to be paid in different locations. This is why it is important to have an experienced business setup consultant in UAE by your side.

Where Should Be the Notarization and Translation of Documents Take Place?

The notarization of documents should be done in front of a public notary and the translation of documents to Arabic (as required by government departments) need to be done by an official translator that is registered with the concerned government department.

These processes are important and required for one to be successful in completing a business set up in UAE.