Established in September 2004, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is the world’s fastest growing international financial center, that caters to the financial needs of the region. This federal financial free zone aims to develop to the same stature as New York, London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and primarily serves the global financial centers between Western Europe and East Asia due to the time-zone advantage. Since its establishment, DIFC has attracted top-notch firms across the globe, owing to its efficiency, operational transparency and core value of integrity. DIFC is home to a world-class stock exchange, the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), which was opened in September 2005.
This onshore financial center is set up in a sprawling area of about 110 acres and has a distinct legal system with absolute jurisdiction over matters related to employment, corporate security, commercial trusts, and civic bodies. Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is an independent risk-based regulator and the governing body that regulates financial and banking services conducted by DIFC and provides them a growth-oriented, secure and stable platform to conduct business. This regulatory body issues business licenses to companies planning to set up operations in this largest intercontinental financial cluster located between Singapore and Europe.
Benefits of Setting Up a Business in DIFC
- No restrictions on foreign exchange
- 100% foreign ownership
- 0% tax on corporate or personal income
- Full repatriation of capital and profits
- Dollar-denominated environment
- Strict money laundering laws
- State-of-the-art office accommodation, advanced technology, well-connected transport, communications, and internet infrastructure
- Data protection/security
- Operational support and business continuity facilities of high standards
- Transparent operating environment
- Availability of skilled professionals
- Transparent business environment complying with internationally accepted laws and regulatory processes in accordance with global best practices
- An international stock exchange with debts and equity listings (primary and secondary)
Financial Activities Allowed in DIFC
Businesses operating in Dubai International Financial Centre free zone are allowed to perform the following activities in the region:
- Accepting deposits
- Advising on financial products
- Arranging for the custody, and investment credit or deals
- Carrying out contracts of insurance
- Dealing in investments as agent or as principal
- Effecting insurance contracts
- Insurance broking and management
- Managing assets
- Managing profit-sharing investments
- Operating a collective investment scheme
- Providing credit
- Providing custody
- Providing pecuniary services
Types of Legal Entities Allowed in DIFC
Dubai International Financial Centre offers a lucrative value chain to an individual or corporate investors in the form of multiple incentives. It allows an entity (individual or corporate) to register a business in any of the following legal forms:
Types of Licenses Available in DIFC
- Ancillary Services
- Asset Management and Fund Registration
- Banking Services
- Business Processing Operations
- Capital Markets
- Islamic Finance
- Reinsurance & Captive Insurance
How to Set Up a Business in DIFC?
Dubai ensures the financial sustainability of DIFC free zone and the companies established in the center through a program of resource alignment, financial risk management, and competitive benchmarking. Not just the financial aspects, DIFC free zone is home to a privately held financial exchange, retail shops, and convenience stores, along with business services outlets, medical clinics, more than 100 cafés and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines and event spaces & venues to suit any occasion. Coming to DIFC company formation, the authority does not allow companies operating in the non-financial sector. To set up a company in Dubai free zone, one needs to have a commercial license. The procedure is as follows:
Procedure to Set Up a Business in DIFC
- Fill out the application form
- After initial approval, move on to the registration process
- Submit all the required documents with a proof of minimum share capital of the business
- Open a bank account of the company
- The license will be issued within a few weeks after analyzing every document provided, and the certificate of incorporation will also be issued along with it
Documents Required to Set Up a Business in DIFC
- Anti-money laundering procedures and controls
- Applicant company's financial position and regulatory history, in case of a branch
- Company's internal audit functions and compliance system
- Detailed business plan
- Detailed information on operating systems and controls
- Names of key controllers, major shareholders having above 5% shares, and key staff
- Propriety certificate confirming the institution's fitness to conduct business
- Proposed institution's organizational structure
- Audited account of shareholders of the last 3 years
Why Set Up a Business in DIFC?
Dubai International Financial Centre is a perfect base for companies related to finance due to its systematic legal framework, independent regulations, the tax-friendly regime, and advanced infrastructure. DIFC Authority (DFCA) oversees the operational administration and strategic development of DIFC.
Company incorporation in Dubai International Financial Centre is a cherished business proposition because of the following reasons:
- Unique legal framework
- Financial sustainability
- Developed and standard infrastructure
- Client-centric policies
- A vision for unhindered growth
Business setup in Dubai International Financial Center is easy if you take the assistance of a business consultant, who helps business owners and investors belonging to the financial sector with company incorporation in the free zone so that you don’t have to worry about the legal formalities and bureaucratic red-tape. We at Commitbiz handle the entire business formation process in this global financial center from start-to-finish, ensuring unhindered business growth.
Complete operational transparency and client-centric procedures are the hallmarks of the company setup process at Commitbiz. Our specialized team of expert consultants treads an extra mile to guarantee hassle-free company formation experience to our clients and ensures that our clients get all the amenities for business setup in this unmatched financial hub of the Emirates. Contact us for business setup in DIFC, our team will be glad to assist you.
Do I need a local sponsor to open a business in the DIFC?
No, the DIFC is a free zone area.
How much time does it take to register the company?
What is the minimum share capital one needs to own?
What is the cost to set up a business in the DIFC free zone?
Around USD 20000.
What type of companies can I open in the DIFC free zone?
Branch Company, subsidiary, or even a new company.