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How to open a branch office in Dubai and the UAE

open a branch office
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Over the years, the Dubai’s importance as one of the most important trade and business centers has grown exponentially. Therefore, it can be no surprise that companies and businesses from other parts of the globe often find it necessary to set up a branch office in Dubai. A vibrant economy, top-notch infrastructure, strategic location, multi-ethnic workforce, and a lucrative tax structure are factors that lure companies to open a branch office in the Dubai.

Another critical aspect that weighs in favor of a business setup in Dubai is the prospect of expansion into the free zones and doing business there. Considering all these factors, starting a branch office in Dubai seems like a sound business decision. However, it’s been noticed that there is quite a bit of confusion between having a branch office and a representative office in Dubai.

What is the difference between a branch office and a representative office in Dubai?

If you plan to set up either a branch office or a representative office in Dubai, you need to understand the difference between them.

A parent company can set up a different entity in a different state/country. This entity will be registered in that state or country and function under its jurisdictions but is still considered part of the parent company. The ownership however belongs to the parent company, and the branch is licensed with the same name and activity.

On the other hand, a representative office in Dubai is an activity of a branch that is for the only purpose of marketing the products and services of the company. However, functions such as delivery and trading are not to be done by this office. Anybody who needs to establish a representative office in Dubai must go to the UAE Ministry of the Economy (MOE) and the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) to get their office registered.

To put it simple, if a company or person is considering opening a branch company in Dubai, it means that a person already has a licensed organization in the UAE or outside of UAE and would like to cater to other and potential clients within UAE. When you set up a local company branch, you’ll have to follow almost the same procedure as a business set up in UAE. This includes choosing an office, warehouse, and location, etc. Furthermore, you will need a national service agent when you set up a branch in Dubai. This agent has to be either a person who is a UAE national or a company owned by UAE nationals. It should be noted that this agent will not have any rights in the proposed branch. This is only done only to comply with the federal and local government requirements.

Process and Requirements to Open a Branch Office in Dubai – Requirements, Setup & License Cost

The basic requirements to open a branch office in Dubai or UAE are as follows:

  • Foreign company documents such as:
    • Certificate of incorporation
    • Memorandum of association
    • Article of association
    • Board of resolution of the foreign company
  • Passport copy of the manager
  • Visa Copy of the manager (can be either visit visa or residence visa)
  • The lease agreement of the premises
  • Appointment of local service agent (can be provided by Avyanco Business Consultancy LLC)

Please note that all foreign company documents must be notarized in their home country and also attested by the UAE embassy in the country where the foreign company is registered.

Steps to Open a Branch Office in Dubai

The following steps need to be followed to open a branch office in Dubai:

  • All company documentation needs to be translated into Arabic and attested by the ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of Justice in UAE
  • Reserve trade name of the branch
  • Get initial approval
  • Sign the Local Service Agent agreement
  • Get pre-approval from the Ministry of Economy
  • Sign the lease agreement
  • Submit all documents to government authority
  • Get the Payment order
  • Pay for license and get the certificate

There are a few more additional steps and procedures to follow when starting a business in Dubai, even if it is a branch office. For this reason, it is advisable to engage a consultant who can provide further information and guidance on the processes involved in opening a branch office in Dubai. An experienced consultant can resolve all your doubts about opening a branch office of a foreign company in Dubai and giving you a detailed explanation, including step-by-step processes. This will help you grasp the pros and cons of setting up a branch office in Dubai. They will also be able to provide you with the cost of setting up a branch office in Dubai to be financially prepared when you enter this venture. Opening a new branch of business may not be an easy task. Still, it can be done systematically, while adhering to the laws of the land, when the right people do it on your behalf.

Whether you are undertaking a company registration in Dubai , setting up a branch, or setting up a representative office in Dubai, a qualified consultant can help ease the process. The information you need to know will be provided by them. If you set up a branch, you will definitely do the same activities that your parent company does.

Why Avyanco for Opening a Branch office in Dubai

Opening a branch office in Dubai can be exhausting and confusing. It is no less arduous than setting up a business in Dubai. There’s plenty of paperwork and documents to submit at various levels. That’s where consultants like Avyanco can help. Avyanco is one of the best corporate business setup consultancy firms that can help you open a branch office in Dubai. We offer end-to-end assistance, including PRO services, registration, document submission, and other related formalities. We can guide you through all the processes and requirements to open a branch office in UAE at very competitive costs. With our help, you can get your branch office setup in Dubai up and running smoothly without any hassles at all.

Contact us today for a free consultation to know more about opening a branch office in UAE. Call/WhatsApp: +971 50 3989000, (T): +971 4 240 5000, Email: info@avyanco.com.


About the Author


Jashvantkumar Prajapati

(Founder and CEO of Avyanco Group of Companies; Business Setup Consultancy, Avyanco Tax and Accounting LLC, and Avyanco Auditing LLC.)

He keeps a varied portfolio with core expertise in investment management, corporate structuring, commercial law, business consultancy, lead management, business planning and market research. Aspire to help potential entrepreneurs and investors to come ahead and form their companies in highly emerging economies like UAE.