How to Start a Branch Office in Dubai, UAE?

Are you an ambitious entrepreneur looking to expand your business horizons and tap into the booming market of Dubai, UAE? Look no further! Establishing a branch office in this vibrant city is a game-changer and a testament to your entrepreneurial prowess. However, keep the thought of navigating through the unfamiliar territory from intimidating you.

In this step-by-step guide, we will unravel the secrets to successfully setting up a branch office in Dubai, making it as seamless and exciting as exploring the stunning desert landscapes or indulging in exquisite Middle Eastern cuisine. So fasten your seatbelts and get ready for an exhilarating journey towards building your business empire amidst the glittering skyscrapers of Dubai! Shuraa Business setup will help you through this guide to Start a Branch Office in Dubai.  

Benefits of Setting Up a Branch Office in Dubai, UAE 

Below are the benefits of setting up a branch office in Dubai:  

1. Favorable Tax Environment

Dubai offers a tax-free environment for corporate and personal income, capital gains, and withholding taxes, enabling businesses to maximize profits for reinvestment. 

2. Ease of Doing Business

Dubai’s straightforward setup process and government initiatives facilitate easy establishment for foreign companies, with various free zones allowing 100% foreign ownership. 

2. Strategic Location

At the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa, Dubai provides access to global markets, making it an ideal base for expanding businesses. 

3. Access to Skilled Workforce

Dubai boasts a diverse and highly educated workforce, offering companies a pool of talent from different backgrounds to drive innovation and growth. 

4. World-Class Infrastructure 

The city’s modern transport, telecommunications, banking services, and commercial facilities provide a conducive environment for business operations. 

5. Successful Competitive Environment

With its strategic advantages and supportive ecosystem, setting up a branch office in Dubai enables businesses to blossom in today’s competitive market while expanding their global presence. 

Understanding the Legal Requirements and Process

Understanding the Legal Requirements and Process for Establishing a Branch Office in Dubai, UAE: 

1. Initial Approval from the DED

Submit required documents including parent company’s business license, board resolution, and passport copies of shareholders. Non-UAE nationals need an Emirati sponsor. 

2. Trade Name Registration

Register a unique trade name with the DED and secure its reservation for six months, renewable twice. 

3. Notarization of Legal Documents

Sign and notarise all necessary documents related to establishing the branch office. 

4. Submission for Final Approval

Submit all legalised documents and application forms at DED’s one-stop-shop counter for final approval. 

5. Receipt of Commercial License

After verification, businesses receive their commercial license within three working days. 

6. Corporate Bank Account Opening

Open corporate bank accounts in Dubai using the new commercial license. 

Seek professional guidance with Shuraa Business Setup to ensure compliance with all legal procedures and a smooth setup process for a successful branch office in Dubai. 

Types of Offices for Rent In Dubai

For foreign entrepreneurs navigating the Dubai office rental market, finding the right space can be daunting. That’s why we offer fully-equipped office spaces strategically located throughout Dubai, designed to meet all your business needs. Whether you’re looking for a Mainland or Free Zone office, we have you covered with three types of office spaces: 

1. Serviced Office

Ideal for quick setup, these turn-key spaces come with internet access, telephone lines, pantry facilities, and more, perfect for hassle-free moving-in.  

2. Onshore Office

These unfurnished spaces allow for customization, making them ideal for long-term rentals and tailored setups to suit your business needs. 

3. Free Zone Office

For Free Zone companies, these offices are a must, meeting specific space requirements set by each Free Zone. We can assist in finding the perfect Free Zone business centre for rent tailored to your business activity.  

 Whatever your requirements, our range of office spaces ensures convenience, flexibility, and suitability for your business ventures in Dubai. 

Corporate Structure and Shareholding Requirements

Corporate Structure and Shareholding Requirements for Establishing a Branch Office in Dubai, UAE: 

1. Corporate Structure

  • Choose between a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Branch Office. 
  • LLC requires 100 percent UAE national ownership or a local sponsor. 
  • The branch office is an extension of the parent company with no separate legal entity. 

2. Shareholding Requirements 

  • You can open an LLC company without the need of a UAE national
  • The branch office is wholly owned by its parent company without specific shareholding requirements. 

3. Legal Documents Required 

  • Memorandum of Association outlining business details. 
  • Proof of identity for shareholders/directors/sponsors. 
  • Certificate of Incorporation attested by UAE Embassy for foreign entities. 
  • Board Resolution naming authorized representative(s). 
  • Power of Attorney granting authority to act on behalf of the parent company. 

Compliance with these requirements is essential for a successful branch office setup in Dubai, UAE. Consulting legal experts can ensure a smooth registration process and prevent potential issues. 

Required Documents and Registrations

Required Documents and Registrations for office setup in Dubai, UAE: 

1. Trade License

  • Obtain from the Department of Economic Development (DED). 
  • Fill out an online form, provide personal and company information, submit required documents, pay fees, and obtain approvals. 

2. Memorandum of Association (MOA)

  • Contains company objectives, ownership structure, and shareholding details. 
  • Notarized by an approved legal translator and attested by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

3. Shareholder/Investor Visa

  • Apply through DED or GDRFA with valid passport copies and visa application forms. 
  • Include sponsor-signed forms with ID copies (locally issued). 

4. Office Space Rental Agreement 

  • Submit a valid tenancy contract registration certificate obtained from RERA Dubai/Ejari. 

5. MoE Registration Certificate 

  • Issued by the Ministry Of Education for registering under educational projects/PAGEs in Dubai. 

6. Opening a Corporate Bank Account

  • Open with a local bank using a valid passport, company registration documents, and relevant papers. 

7. Insurance Coverage

  • Mandatory insurance for branch offices under UAE labour law. 
  • Provide trade license copy, labour card copy, Emirates ID of all employees, and other company details. 

Ensure a smooth process by following all necessary steps and procedures meticulously to avoid delays or complications in obtaining these crucial documents and registrations for your branch office in Dubai, UAE. 

Visa and Residency Permits for Staff

Acquiring visas and residency permits for staff is a critical aspect of office setup in Dubai, in Dubai, UAE. This involves obtaining an employment visa sponsored by the company, applying for work permits from the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratization (MOHRE), securing entry permits or temporary residence visas for employees, obtaining Emirates ID cards, and applying for residency permits at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai.

It’s imperative to ensure all processing is completed before entry permit expiry to avoid legal complications. Engaging with a reputable sponsor or consulting firm can streamline the process and ensure compliance with requirements, facilitating a smooth transition for employees to work and reside legally in the UAE. 

Choosing the Right Location for Your Branch Office

To Start a Branch Office in Dubai can significantly impact its success and growth. The following are some key points to keep in mind when selecting a suitable place for your branch office in Dubai. 

1. Assess Business Needs

Determine the size, layout, accessibility, amenities, and cost requirements.  

2. Ensure Accessibility

Opt for areas with good road connectivity and nearby public transportation options.    

3. Target Market Proximity

Select locations close to your target customers, such as commercial hubs or financial districts. 

4. Balance Cost and Quality

Strike a balance between affordability and quality amenities when considering office space costs. 

5. Early Search

Begin the search early to secure a location that meets all requirements before competition increases. 

Setting Up Your Business in Dubai, UAE 

In this section, we will outline the critical aspects of starting a branch office in Dubai and provide a step-by-step guide. 

1. Understand Legal Requirements 

Choose the right company structure (LLC, Free Zone, or Branch Office) and comply with respective regulations. 

2. Secure Required Licenses

Obtain permits and approvals necessary for your business activities through professional guidance. 

3. Choose Your Business Location

Research and select the best location considering budget and preferences – mainland, free zone, or offshore. 

4. Obtain Necessary Visas

Apply for visas for foreign owners or employees through the branch office, submitting required documents. 

6. Determine Visa Requirements

Understand the number of visas needed based on business size and activities to avoid delays. 

7. Manage Your Finances

Open a local bank account for financial transactions, ensuring compliance with UAE laws. 

8. Hire Local Staff

Comply with labour laws when recruiting local employees, seeking professional guidance for recruitment processes. 

With proper planning and expert support, the process can lead to a successful business venture in this dynamic city. 

Free Zones vs. Mainland Locations

Below are the differences between Free zones and mainland locations:  


Aspect  Free Zones  Mainland Locations 
Ownership  100% foreign ownership  100 percent ownership of major business activities 
Benefits  9 percent corporate tax, VAT 5 percent 9 percent corporate tax, VAT depends on the business activities.
Business Activities  Restricted to operations within the free zone boundaries, no commercial activities outside  Allows business activities across the UAE 
Ease of Doing Business  Streamlined processes within one authority  Dealing with multiple government agencies 
Cost Considerations Tax-exempt status, but additional fees for lease agreements subject to annual and renewal charges Lease agreements are usually less expensive, longer terms 


Setup your branch With Shuraa Business Setup

When partnering with Shuraa Business Setup, it’s important to note that certain options may impose restrictions on specific business activities or limit foreign ownership. Additionally, there might be challenges in obtaining work visas, impacting the recruitment and retention of employees.

It’s crucial to meticulously research and weigh these pros and cons when selecting the optimal setup for your Dubai branch office. By carefully considering your business goals and requirements, you can make an informed decision, positioning your branch office for success in Dubai’s dynamic business landscape.