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Footnotes Introduction A popular way for foreign companies to retain per cent foreign ownership in the United Arab Emirates UAE is to open a branch or representative office.
These offices do not have a separate legal identity but are treated as an extension of the foreign company, which remains liable Visa marketing audit their activities.
A branch office can engage in commercial activity in the UAE and can earn profits. It is licensed for the purposes set out in its commercial licence but may only engage in activities similar to those carried on by the foreign company in its home jurisdiction.
Branch and representative offices share many similar features, as both operate under the authority of a commercial registration and licence in the name of the foreign company — and both are required to appoint a local services agent, who must be a UAE national.
The process for establishing either a branch or representative office is therefore largely the same1. That process is dealt with below. In a recent significant move, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has issued a new licensing law that aims to, amongst other things, organise the conducting of economic activities in the Emirate of Dubai and streamline the licensing process by facilitating coordination between the various government entities in Dubai.
For further details on the new law please see the eighth issue of our local law series. The LSA is not responsible for the branch or representative office, nor does it take part in any operations, management or ownership of the office. Technically, the role of the LSA is restricted to administrative functions such as the obtaining of licences, permits, visas etc, in return for a fee.
The appointment of the LSA is effected through a written agreement, which must be signed by the parties before a notary public in the relevant Emirate.
There is no prescribed form of agreement and it will therefore be a matter for negotiation. The application The application form requires full details of the foreign company including share capital, head office, overseas activities, home jurisdiction ; the nature of the proposed activities these must be consistent with activities in the home jurisdiction ; and the name of the proposed general manager in the UAE.
The form must be accompanied by the prescribed documents, which will include2: The MOE will then issue their own initial approval, at which point the following additional documents must be submitted in hard copy to the MOE: The MOE will then approve the establishment of the branch or representative office.
Business cannot commence, however, until the following further steps have been completed. This requires similar items to those submitted to the MOE; in addition, the applicant will need to include the proposed office address in the UAE. This application needs to be accompanied by: The procedure is largely the same.
It will be necessary to complete an application, and provide copies of the commercial licence and office lease agreement along with passport copies of the authorised signatories of the branch or representative office. The fee payable for the commercial licence may also vary, depending on the activities to be undertaken in the UAE.
Notarisation and translation of documents The foreign company will have to present the documents listed above for authentication at the foreign ministry of the country in which the company is incorporated and subsequently to the UAE consulate.
Before they can be presented to the authorities in the UAE, they must also be translated into Arabic by an official translator.
The notarisation process should be commenced as early as possible as it can take a significant amount of time. Where the responsible UAE embassy is not located in the country of incorporation, the process can be delayed further.
Footnotes It should be noted that: The application process is now an on-line process and the relevant form and documents must be submitted electronically through the MOE website for Abu Dhabi applications only. The new Dubai licensing law provides that, upon special request, it may be possible to obtain a four year licence.On audit, Sam produces charge card statements to prove the $1, was spent for hotels, meals, and convention registration.
The auditor wants more and asks Sam to justify the business purpose of this trip. Start conducting business in the USA or help someone in a family business. Perform productive work in the U.S. while on a business visa.
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A U.S. dollar or other foreign currency payment is converted at CIBC’s branch selling rate for Canadian dollars (or, for non-U.S. dollar payments on CIBC U.S. Dollar Visa Card, at CIBC’s branch selling rate for U.S.
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