Set up a Foreign Company Branch Office in Dubai UAE

Setup foreign company branch office in Dubai UAE

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Dubai is a leading global hub for international business and trade. Many foreign enterprises want to leverage Dubai’s strategic advantages to access and grow in the surrounding markets.

If your business is already operating in another country, you can expand to Dubai by setting up a branch office. This allows your company to begin operations more easily compared to incorporating a new local subsidiary from scratch.

This detailed guide explains everything overseas companies need to know for registering a branch in Dubai.

What is a Branch Office?

A branch office means extending your overseas parent company’s presence into Dubai. It is not a separate local entity but remains legally dependent on the main foreign company.

Some key facts about branch offices:

  • The parent company owns 100% of the Dubai branch.
  • All profits/losses of the branch ultimately belong to the main company.
  • It can conduct various business activities like marketing, market research, consultancy, client coordination and more to support the foreign parent.
  • It suits overseas companies wanting to first explore opportunities in Dubai before committing to a full-fledged locally registered subsidiary later.

In essence, a branch office allows foreign companies to test waters by undertaking limited operations as an extension of their existing business.

Key Requirements for Registering a Branch

To setup a branch office in Dubai, the overseas parent company must fulfill these key requirements:

1. Parent Company Eligibility

  • Should be an active foreign company operational for at least one year
  • Must provide audited financial statements for the last year
  • The parent company needs to have physical business activities in its country of registration

These pre-conditions ensure that only established overseas companies can setup branches in Dubai.

2. Documents Needed

Several documents are required about the parent company:

  • Parent company registration certificate
  • Articles of incorporation
  • List of directors and shareholders
  • Bank account statement copy
  • Other related documents

The exact documents may vary case-by-case. Our consultants guide clients on the documentation criteria.

3. Office Space

Having commercial office space leased in Dubai is mandatory for the branch.

Renting suitable premises that aligns with trade license activities is part of the registration process.

4. Local Service Agent

Appointing a local sponsoring agent is compulsory. This agent acts as the legal representative of the foreign parent company here.

They submit all documents and follow up with various authorities for securing branch registration approvals.

Our company registration consultants at CompanyName provide this specialized branch setup assistance.

Step-by-Step Branch Registration Process

Here are the key stages involved in registering a branch in Dubai:

1. Identify Scope of Activities

Firstly, we help overseas companies define suitable business activities the branch office can undertake as per the parent company’s objectives.

2. Prepare and Submit Documents

Next, we assist foreign companies with drafting and submitting all the required paperwork to Dubai licensing authorities on their behalf.

3. Navigate Approvals

The application and documents then go through various approval rounds from different Dubai regulatory bodies.

Our PRO executives actively facilitate securing these clearances efficiently.

4. Find Office Premises

In parallel, we also initiate the office search process and help identify affordable premises within permitted areas that align with the branch license.

5. Apply for Final License

Once the office lease is signed, we submit the formal license application to Department of Economic Development for approval.

6. Obtain Final Approval

Finally, the authorities review and provide final approval granting the overseas company to register its Dubai branch. This takes 1-3 weeks if all eligibility criteria are duly met.

7. Post-Registration Formalities

Some post-approval formalities remain like processing employment visas, opening corporate bank account, etc. before commencing live operations.

The entire setup process takes around 4-6 weeks with proper consulting guidance.

Why Setup a Branch in Dubai? Benefits and Advantages

Launching a branch office allows overseas companies to gain a foothold in Dubai as a strategic move towards expanding in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia regions.

Here are some of the key advantages of setting up a branch in Dubai:

• Prime Geographic Access

Dubai provides access to over 2 billion consumers across MEASA within 4-hour flight radius. The efficient logistics and sea/air transport connectivity also facilitates regional market access.

• Zero Taxation

Branch offices located in various Dubai free zones enjoy 0% tax on income and profits, thereby offering very cost-efficient operations.

• Expanding Economy

Registering in Dubai gives foreign companies exposure to a steadily rising economy, infrastructure, population, tourism and purchasing power.

Robust corporate laws safeguard interests of international investors and allow 100% foreign ownership and profit/capital repatriation.

• Global Talent Hub

With 90% expat population and diversity, Dubai enables hiring specialized workforce comprising 200 nationalities easily.

These strategic advantages make Dubai a prime gateway for overseas companies targeting regional expansion.

Furthermore, setting up a branch has fewer requirements compared to incorporating a new subsidiary. It serves as a suitable entry point that can later convert into a full-fledged locally registered company.


In summary, Dubai offers an ideal ecosystem for foreign enterprises to setup a branch office for first testing regional opportunities before committing additional resources.

With streamlined registration assistance from an established corporate services provider like Company Name, overseas businesses can swiftly establish a branch meeting all regulatory approvals.

We facilitate end-to-end branch launch support, from conceptualizing activities, to finding affordable workspaces, securing licenses, as well as post-registration assistance for quick operational readiness.

To evaluate if a Dubai branch aligns with your global expansion strategy, contact the experts at Company Name today for specialized consultation.


How much capital is required to setup a branch in Dubai?

No minimum capital is mandatory. However sufficient working capital must be allocated for branch office setup costs and initial operating expenses.

Can the branch office sponsor UAE residence visas?

Yes, once registered the branch can sponsor work residence permits for overseas employees, subject to applicable eligibility criteria.

Does a branch need to submit annual accounts?

Yes, the branch must file activity and audited financial reports annually for review by licensing authorities.

Can a branch office register under a UAE national shareholder?

No, 100% ownership by the foreign parent company is mandatory for registering a non-resident branch. Local sponsorship is required only for administrative purposes.

What are the visa restrictions for working in branch office?

Branches cannot hire employees directly on their visa quotas. Expats can only work at branches via secondment from foreign parent company or other companies.

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Pranav Modi

Mr. Pranav Modi, CA is supported by 12+ years of Consulting, Auditing and Accounting practice across diverse sectors.

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