Foreigners make up 90 percent of Dubai’s population, and are certainly the blood of the Arab country’s economy. There are indeed many reasons why their role is set to remain prominent and constantly increasing. With the Department of Economic Development now allowing 100 percent foreign ownership, overseas businesses find it easy to make the most of the country’s favourable economic conditions.
Set to expand by 3.3 percent in 2013, Dubai is a growing market. Undoubtedly inspired by the country’s continuously growing imports, which doubled over the last twenty years, American firms now export to Dubai as much as $1.4 billion of goods every year. But how can you make the most of this situation and even start thinking of opening up a branch of your family business into the UAE?
For a start, be ready to go through a significant amount of paperwork in order to open up your company’s representative office in Dubai. Given the very favourable business conditions here, the eventual benefits will surely be worth the effort.
The main starting point will be a finding local services agent (LSA), who has to be an Emirates national. In fact, even if you open up a branch office which, unlike the representative office, is allowed to earn profits, you’ll have to find an LSA. Secondly, get in touch with a Department of Economic Development in order to reserve a trade name to get your business presence approved. It’ll then be time to fill in an application form, which you’ll have to complete with all the relevant data about your company: among them are the share capital, home jurisdiction, overseas activities, the business intents in the Dubai office and the name of the future general manager.
A series of supplementary documents will then have to be submitted to the Ministry of Economy in order to operate in the Emirates. You’ll have to obtain your board’s authorisation to start a branch here, a power of attorney in favour of the general manager, the last two years’ audited account of the parent, a statement including the company’s intents and activities in the country, a notarised agreement with the LSA and a copy of the LSA’s identification document. Once the MOE approves the application, hard copy of the application form, the parent company’s certificate of incorporation, the MOE’s initial approval and the deposit certificate from your local bank will all have to be submitted.
The approved application from the MOE will then go through to the Department of Economic Development (DED), which will again ask for most of the documents you previously submitted to the MOE, as well as a proposed office address. Together with this, you’ll then have to submit a copy of the proposed UAE lease, copies of the MOE approval, undertaking from the foreign parent company and an UAE auditor’s letter which sums up the financial statements from the two previous years.
At the end of this process, the DED will issue a commercial licence for one year, which can be renewed annually.
Having obtained the licence, it will be time to get visas and labour cards for the employees, for whom it is advisable to start looking into options for personal banking accounts before moving into the country. Once you have moved into your office space, you’ll still have to register with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which follows a similar procedure to those above.
Last but not least, don’t forget to register with the foreign ministry of your family company’s country and the UAE consulate. Find out more news here.