Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Free Zone

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is a global financial nucleus for Middle East, South Asia and Africa, connecting the regional markets with the economies of Americas, Europe and Asia. It is located midway between London in the west and Singapore in the east. DIFC is home to several financial institutions, in addition to multinational companies, residences and places of recreation. DIFC has its own independent judicial system and regulatory body, financial exchange, and law framework.

It is home to several financial institutions, investors and wealth funds, in addition to amenities like eateries, hotels, residential zones, retail outlets and exhibition galleries. The financial services in DIFC are regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), monitoring the nature of financial services to and from DIFC. The laws of DIFC are distinct from that of the UAE, written in English, and resorting to the English law for resolving any conflicts. DIFC has independent jurisdiction when it comes to matters of commerce, securities, corporations or civil systems.

Why DIFC?

Dubai International Financial Centre offer the following benefits to companies:

  • Provision of 100% ownership, with no need of a local partner
  • 0% tax liability for first forty years of operation
  • A huge cosmopolitan business environment
  • No limit on capital repatriation
  • State-of-the-art infrastructure and ultra-modern office spaces
  • Provision of fair adjudication under the common law framework
  • An independent regulatory environment
  • Internationally accepted laws and regulatory processes
  • Presence of a high-class stock exchange with a primary and secondary listing of debts and equity instruments
  • Transparent operating environment
  • Availability of competent professionals

How to Set Up a Business in DIFC Free Zone?

Dubai ensures easy access to financial services for companies established in DIFC free zones through competitive benchmarking and financial risk management. Aside from money related viewpoints, DIFC includes head class foundation, retail outlets, and cafés offering tremendous occasion space for any event. Coming to organization arrangement, DIFC acquainted non-monetary exercises with support for the development of different organizations. To begin a business in DIFC, an individual or corporate body needs to have a business permit.

Below is the procedure to be followed to obtain a commercial license in DIFC.

For a Business Not Engaged in Financial Services (Non-DFSA Regulated)

  1. Introductory meeting with the Business Development team of the DIFC
  2. Initial screening by the team of DIFC
  3. Submission of application to the DIFC
  4. Evaluation by the Registration Review Committee (RRC)
  5. Registration with the Registrar of Companies (ROC)

For a Business Engaged in Financial Services (Authorised Firm)

  1. Initial meeting with Business Development team
  2. Initial screening by the authority
  3. Submission of letter of intent to the DIFC
  4. Authorisation by Dubai Financial Service Authority (DFSA)
  5. Registration with the ROC

For a Business Engaged in the Provision of Legal or Accounting Services

First meeting with Business Development team of the DIFC

  1. Initial screening by DIFC
  2. Submission of ASP application to the DIFC
  3. Authorisation by the DFSA
  4. Registration with the ROC

For a Business Engaged in Operating an Exchange/Clearing House

  1. DFSA authorization
  2. ROC registration

Documents Required to Set Up a Business in DIFC

  • Proof of trade name reservation
  • Proof of initial approval for business activities
  • Passport copies for the shareholders
  • Passport copy and CV of the manager
  • Personal Information sheet for each shareholder & manager
  • Detailed plan of business activity
  • Information on operating system and controls
  • The organizational structure of the proposed business
  • Information on the institution’s internal audit functions and compliance system
  • Anti-money laundering procedures
  • The history of the applicant institution and the financial position
  • Detailed information on key shareholders and staff
  • Property details of shareholders to check their fitness and propriety to conduct the business
  • Lease agreement [possessing a physical address for one’s office is mandatory in the UAE]
  • Third party/authority approval for activities, where applicable