Dubai Financial Center

Dubai Financial Center is a prime location for business setup in the UAE due to its combination of tax incentives, foreign ownership opportunities, and strong legal infrastructure.

This overview demonstrates how the DIFC facilitates business expansion in MEASA’s vibrant financial sector, making it an excellent option for entrepreneurs and businesses planning to expand in the UAE.

Picture1 1

Exploring Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

As soon as it opened its doors in 2004, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) quickly established itself as an epicenter for business and innovation. Today, it stands amongst the world’s top 10 financial centers and boasts more than 2,000 active firms, illustrating its centrality within the financial industry.

The DIFC serves as the leading financial hub in the MEASA region and hosts the Dubai International Financial Exchange, an essential economic hub. To demonstrate its dedication to long-term economic development, the DIFC has set itself a target of providing USD 100 billion by 2030 through sustainable finance initiatives.

With its prime location, the DIFC provides companies with an ideal setting to manage regional operations. Furthermore, this platform affords unrivaled opportunities to connect with industry experts and peers, creating a secure foundation for business expansion and success.

Benefits of Establishing a Business in DIFC

Establishing your business in Dubai Financial Centre provides numerous advantages. These benefits may include:

  • Flexible Legal Structures: DIFC offers various legal entities to meet diverse business and investment needs.
  • Advanced Infrastructure: Cutting-edge facilities for transport, communication, and IT support businesses.
  • Independent Regulation: A top-tier regulatory agency ensures a robust and cohesive framework.
  • English Common Law: An international legal system based on English Common Law provides reliability.
  • Transparent Operations: Adherence to international laws and best practices ensures transparency.
  • Global Stock Exchange: DIFC’s international exchange lists debt and equity, offering worldwide investment opportunities.
  • Full Foreign Ownership: Companies enjoy complete control with 100% foreign ownership.
  • Free Capital Repatriation: Unrestricted repatriation of capital and profits offers financial flexibility.
  • Talented Workforce: Access to a skilled workforce ensures businesses can attract top talent.
  • Tax Treaty Benefits: Access to the UAE’s double taxation treaties reduces international tax obligations.

Types of Licenses Available at DIFC Free Zone

Alongside these benefits, there are various licensing options available to you, including:

  • Financial Services License: Tailored for banking, insurance, and asset management firms.
  • Professional Services License: For individuals offering legal, accounting, or consulting services expertise.
  • Non-Financial Services License: Ideal for businesses in consulting and marketing services.
  • Retail License: For entities engaged in retail business activities.
  • Freelancer License: Designed to support freelancers operating in the DIFC.

Top Business Activities at DIFC Free Zone

For investors considering a business setup within the DIFC, the following list represents the main activities permitted:

  • Banking
  • Private Banking
  • Investment Banking
  • Brokerage
  • Insurance & Reinsurance
  • Fund Management
  • Professional Service Providers
  • Islamic Finance
  • Fintech
  • Prescribed Companies
  • Private Equity
  • Corporate Offices
  • Capital Markets
  • Asset Management
  • Wealth Management
  • Retail
  • Cafes and Restaurants
  • Art Galleries

Licensing and Registration Process in DIFC

Setting up a business in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is straightforward. Here is a simplified guide to registering your company and acquiring your license:

  • Step 1: Go to the DIFC client portal and complete the online registration form with all required company details and business plans.
  • Step 2: Wait for the initial approval from DIFC authorities. This early stage lets you clear up any questions and fulfill any additional needs that might come up while your application is reviewed.
  • Step 3: After getting the initial go-ahead, pay the fees. These cover the cost of processing your application and registering your company at the DIFC.
  • Step 4: Collect and submit legal documents to the DIFC Registrar of Companies. You will require your business plan, shareholder passport copies, and other legal documentation that demonstrates how your business is structured and what its activities will entail.
    Step 5: Once all requirements and paperwork have been fulfilled and approved, you will receive your Certificate of Incorporation from the DIFC.

Following these steps carefully and with the proper documents ready, you can complete this efficient process quickly, setting up for success in Dubai’s financial hub.

Required Documents

You must provide several essential documents to register a company at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). These include:

  • Passport copy for identification.
  • A concise business plan outlining objectives and operations.
  • Proposed company name, legal structure, and business activities.
  • Profiles of key personnel with names, nationalities, and roles.

Costs of Setting Up in DIFC Free Zone

To begin setting up your business at the DIFC, the first action is to secure your company’s name. This critical step confirms the availability of your preferred business name. The application to reserve a name is processed in about two business days and costs $800.

Once your business name is set aside, you can form a Private Company Limited by Shares. This process typically takes five business days and costs $8,000.

After establishing your company, you must obtain a Commercial License to conduct lawful business activities. This license can be acquired with an annual fee of $12,000.

Let Us Help You Setup the Dubai Financial Center

Beginning a business in an unfamiliar area can be daunting yet rewarding with proper support. Our team is here to make this transition smooth by using their extensive understanding and practical experience to help businesses adapt seamlessly to Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC). Our expertise will guide you through the specific business setting and compliance standards found within DIFC.

We recognize that each business faces different hurdles and requirements when entering new markets. That’s why we provide customized assistance to help you grasp the local scene, fulfill legal obligations, and set up your operations effectively. Contact us today for more information and support and start your successful business establishment in the Middle East’s central hub.


What is the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)?

DIFC is a major global financial hub for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. Established in 2004, it serves as a platform for business and financial institutions to reach into and out of the emerging markets of the region.

What are the main benefits of setting up a business in the DIFC?

Businesses in the DIFC benefit from a range of incentives including 100% foreign ownership, no restrictions on foreign exchange or capital/profit repatriation, competitive tax benefits, access to a skilled workforce, and a robust legal framework based on English Common Law.

What types of licenses can businesses obtain in the DIFC?

The DIFC offers several types of licenses, including:
Financial Services License
Professional Services License
Non-Financial Services License
Retail License
Freelancer License

What are the top business activities permitted in the DIFC?

Key business activities in the DIFC include Banking, Private Banking, Investment Banking, Brokerage, Insurance & Reinsurance, Fund Management, Islamic Finance, Fintech, Private Equity, Capital Markets, Asset Management, Wealth Management, and Retail operations among others.

How does one start a business in the DIFC?

To start a business in the DIFC, you need to:
Complete the online registration form via the DIFC client portal.
Receive initial approval and fulfill any additional requirements.
Pay the necessary fees and submit required legal documents.
Collect your Certificate of Incorporation after all documents and requirements are approved.

What documents are required to register a company in the DIFC?

Key documents required include:
Passport copies for identification.
A detailed business plan.
Proposed company name, legal structure, and business activities.
Profiles of key personnel.

What are the costs involved in setting up in the DIFC?

Initial costs include:
$800 for the business name reservation.
$8,000 for forming a Private Company Limited by Shares.
$12,000 annual fee for the Commercial License.

Can foreign nationals have complete ownership of their company in the DIFC?

Yes, one of the primary advantages of the DIFC is that it allows 100% foreign ownership of companies within the zone.

Is there tax relief available for companies in the DIFC?

Companies in the DIFC enjoy zero tax on profits and income, and can also benefit from the UAE’s double taxation treaties with various countries.

How does the DIFC support fintech and other innovative sectors?

The DIFC actively promotes sectors like fintech through initiatives like Fintech Hive, which connects innovators with financial institutions, and by providing a regulatory environment that fosters growth in innovative financial services.

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *