Establishing a Branch of Commercial Companies
A branch of a foreign company is typically set up to carry on professional or services-related activities. A branch is an attractive prospect to some foreign companies as they can retain 100% legal ownership. However, this may have tax implications in their home jurisdiction so taking proper tax advice is crucial.
A branch must have suitable commercial premises from which to operate, which could include a ‘hot desk’ in a Business Centre depending upon the scale of its operations. Some branches no longer need to engage a UAE national as their national services agent, although there are still many practical benefits to this arrangement.
Branch offices must obtain an operating license from the relevant Emirates’ Department of Economic Development.
Establishing a Representative Office of Foreign Commercial Companies
If you are a foreign company which has appointed a distributor or commercial agent in the UAE and are looking to grow your business, you may wish to elect for this type of corporate structure. It is a useful vehicle which enables foreign investors to have a legal presence in the UAE to market and promote their goods or services but they are not allowed to trade.