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Branch/Franchise/Representative (for foreign companies) 


Foreign companies in the UAE are permitted to open a branch or a representative office. A branch is free to conduct business activities for which it is licensed whereas a representative office may only practice promotional business for products and services provided by its parent company. In other words, a representative office cannot conduct business operations.

Legality and Regulations

Setting up a foreign branch in the UAE requires a license from the Ministry of Economy & Commerce. This license must be obtained before applying for a license from the emirate’s authorities where the branch will be located. Foreign companies licensed to operate in the UAE cannot begin business activities before being registered in the Ministry’s Register of Foreign Companies. The main stipulation for opening a representative office or a branch is the appointment of a Service Agent that is a UAE national or a company fully owned by a UAE national..