Opening a Branch of a Foreign Company in Dubai; Guide and Steps to Follow

As a business owner who owns a business or company outside Dubai, it is possible for you to have a branch of your business in Dubai by registering a branch. A branch of your company is an extension of an already existing company in another jurisdiction. Though a branch if successfully registered in Dubai is allowed to carry out trade freely in Dubai and engage in similar activities as the mother company.

A branch office is allowed to operate and make a profit within the UAE as it does not act as a separate legal entity and it must also apply for a trade license in the UAE.

If you wish to open a branch office of your mother company in Dubai then this post is for you as we will be taking you through the steps and necessary requirements for this process.

Steps to Setting Up a Foreign Branch

  1. Delegate a National Service Agent

The National Service Agent is a local who is either a UAE National or a company owned completely by UAE Nationals. It is paramount that you first appoint an agent who will be the one to complete the trade name registration with the Department of Economic Development (DED). After the due process is completed, you shall be granted a foreign branch trade license. The national service agent has no equity in the business nor has a say in the management or decision-making of the company but rather the company retains complete ownership and decision-making of the company.

  • Ministry of Economy (MOE) Approval

Obtaining approval from the MOE requires you to make an application with the necessary documents.

There are details of the company that must be part of the application which are; the head office, objective of the business, share capital, directors, details of the general manager, and a host of others. Such details will also be accompanied by the following required documents which are;

  • The Memorandum of Association of the mother company
  • Good legal standing certificate of the mother company
  • A board resolution providing the formation of a branch office
  • Articles of Association
  • A power of attorney empowering the general manager with rights to operate and manage bank accounts on behalf of the mother company
  • Acquiring a Commercial License from the Department of Economic Development (DED)

The required documents needed to receive an approval letter from the DED are;

  • MOE’s first approval
  • Copies of all documents submitted to MOE
  • Copy of proposed lease in UAE
  • Engagement letter from a locally registered auditor within the UAE ensuring the existence of the company’s two-year financial statements of the mother company

The license that is issued by the Department of Economic Development is valid for a period of one year and is annually renewed

  • Get Office Space, Bank Accounts, and Visas

After you have successfully acquired your commercial license from the DED, your company can now go ahead to plan on getting an office space and obtain a visa and labor cards for your employees of the company.

A bank account also needs to be opened and banks will require full UBO information on the Mother Company and additional corporate and shareholder structures within the mother company. The documents are to be attested to, legalized, and interpreted for use in Dubai

  • Ministry of Economy (MOE) Registration

There is a need to carry out and complete the MOE registration and obtain the license within one month. If this is not done, the company may be liable to pay a fine of AED 1,000 monthly with a maximum limit of AED 10,000 annually.

The key requirements for this registration process are;

  • Bank Guarantee: as a foreign branch, you are required to pay a refundable bank guarantee deposit of AED 50,000 to the MOE through a local Dubai bank. This deposit is held for the duration of the process and cannot be withdrawn or used for working capital.
  • Appointing a local-based auditor: It is mandatory that a Dubai-based certified accountant is appointed to prepare and submit a balance sheet and annual bank account of branches while renewing entry at the MOE.


Opening a foreign branch company in Dubai can be cumbersome as it requires the necessary procedures and documentation which are required to set up a foreign branch company. We are your number one corporate firm that can assist you in setting up another branch of your company in Dubai easily and successfully.

As a leading business set-up company in Dubai, you can contact us for more information on registering a foreign branch of a company in Dubai. Feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation.

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