- Opportunities and benefits for DIFC companies
- What types of companies are available in Dubai International Financial Centre?
- What infrastructure is available for DIFC companies?
- What community and lifestyle will be available for you in DIFC?
- Main advantages of company registration in Dubai International Financial Centre
- Resident visas for DIFC free zone companies
- Minimum authorized capital amount for DIFC companies
- Accounting requirements in DIFC free zone
- Process of company registration in Dubai International Financial Centre
- How to start company registration process in DIFC?
We are happy to offer you business registration services in one of the world’s leading business hubs – Dubai International Financial Centre.
You can register a company in DIFC without a personal visit to the UAE.
Opportunities and benefits for DIFC companies
DIFC is one of the world’s leading financial centers that connect regional markets with global economies.
DIFC free zone has about 1,800 active companies with more than 22,000 professional employees. Leading financial companies trust DIFC as the largest and most reputable financial center in the region.
Currently, about 500 financial companies, 21 international top banks, 7 of the world’s top 10 insurance companies, and 9 of the world’s top 10 law firms have representative offices in Dubai International Financial Centre.
The commercial premises area of the free zone is approximately 350,000 square meters.
By filling the time-zone gap between the leading financial centers of London and New York in the West, and Hong Kong and Tokyo in the East, DIFC aims to stimulate trade and investment flows along the South-South economic zone.
DIFC free zone is a major non-oil contributor to Dubai’s GDP.
By 2024, DIFC plans to triple its size, becoming a global financial center that will provide exceptional business opportunities, a unique lifestyle, and an excellent community of professionals from around the world.
This free zone has attracted many international companies to its community, most of them from outside the Middle East. DIFC is actually a link between the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Europe, Asia, and America.
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DIFC legal and regulatory environment creates additional benefits for company registration in Dubai
Dubai International Financial Centre is a financial free zone, and its companies enjoy a variety of legal benefits. They were created for establishing a community with guaranteed commercial growth.
DIFC’s unique status provides clients with such advantages as 100% company ownership, a standardized common legal system, and no capital and profits withdrawal restrictions.
The free zone has specific departments aimed to protect this unique legal environment and promote DIFC companies’ growth and development.
DIFC is unique in having a legislative system consistent with British common law. Based on it, free zone authorities have created their own set of civil and commercial laws and regulations. In addition, they have implemented a complete set of laws for financial services regulation.
As part of its autonomy, DIFC has created an independent judicial system. DIFC Courts is responsible for independent justice administration and enforcement throughout the free zone. It has exclusive jurisdiction over all civil and commercial disputes, and DIFC bodies and companies.
Departments supporting business environment benefits in DIFC free zone
Special DIFC departments provide free zone success mechanisms, keeping it within international law and facilitating continuous innovation.
Ensuring compliance with the highest international standards, DIFC Administration is responsible for strategic development, operational management, and planning. It is constantly working to develop an exemplary financial infrastructure and strengthen its status as a world-class business hub.
Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)
Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the heart of the DIFC system. It is an independent risk regulator that licenses all the free zone banking and financial institutions. It uses legislation close to the leading financial capitals – London and New York.
DFSA has played a critical role in providing financial companies with the confidence that they have a solid, stable, secure, and growth-oriented platform for their business. Acting as an independent regulator for all financial services, DFSA ensures DIFC maintains a world-class legal environment.
Primarily, DFSA regulates asset management, banking and credit services, securities transactions, Islamic finance, and international derivatives trading. In addition, DFSA constant supervision helps counteract money-laundering, and terrorism financing and monitor compliance with sanctions. This ensures the smooth operation of DIFC companies.
Dispute Resolution Authority
Dispute Resolution Authority manages justice in the DIFC community and consists of:
- DIFC Courts – a commercial common law court system
- Dubai Arbitration Centre, which provides dispute resolution services
- DIFC Wills Registry – a common law English-language service for non-Muslims with assets in Dubai
- Academy of Law- an independent body providing legal education
Dispute Resolution Authority provides a secure, friendly business environment with the highest global legal standards.
What types of companies are available in Dubai International Financial Centre?
By offering a favorable and supportive regulatory environment, DIFC is attractive to a variety of clients ranging from regulated companies, authorized market institutions, and certain non-financial businesses to non-regulated businesses.
Regulated companies provide financial services and include:
- capital market companies
- capital and assets management companies
- insurance and reinsurance companies
- Islamic finance operators, etc.
Non-regulated companies offer professional support services to the financial community. This includes legal, accounting, notary, recruiting, consulting, bankruptcy, audit companies, corporate management experts, international tax advisors, etc.
In addition, DIFC hosts a large number of various retail stores, casual and fine dining restaurants, five-star hotels, and top educational institutions.
Thus, you can register a company in DIFC to conduct various activities. DIFC supports many of the economic sectors in a special way.
Company registration in Dubai for financial business
By 2026, trade in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to increase by 131%. This will provide significant opportunities for banks in this region. DIFC encourages banks to benefit from a modern robust regulatory platform, trade financing and commercial banking solutions. In addition, the banking investment structure enables companies to serve the region’s growing financial needs effectively.
DIFC plays a significant role in developing the regional insurance services market. While increasing regional and international presence, the free zone promotes the development of such insurance types as Takaful, Islamic insurance, reinsurance, etc.
Capital and asset management
DIFC effective legislation and regulatory regime allow businesses to take advantage of the world’s largest Islamic capital concentration and investment opportunities in regional and global emerging markets. DIFC authorities aim to support unique and specialized investment products.
Experts expect private capital in the Middle East and North Africa region to reach $7.2 trillion in the nearest future. Dubai International Financial Centre has developed a world-class infrastructure that provides access to brokerage and capital management services. Companies also get access to Nasdaq Dubai and Dubai Mercantile Exchange.
DIFC is located in a geographic area representing 78% of the world’s Islamic banking assets. Therefore, this free zone is an international platform for suppliers of Islamic financial products. This means that business gains access to a practical mix of clients, professionals, and partner companies.
DIFC free zone company registration for non-financial business
DIFC companies may require various professional services, such as legal support or consulting. Therefore, service companies play an important role in DIFC ecosystem formation.
Company registration in Dubai International Financial Centre is well suited for the following activities:
- accounting and audit
- corporate services
- information and communication technologies
- legal services
- market research;
- risk management
- non-profit organizations
Many companies offering professional services operate in areas that do not impose any oversight obligations from Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). But even when such oversight is necessary, there are usually only limited requirements, mostly related to anti-money laundering.
These obligations generally apply to professionals who the DFSA classifies as a non-financial business or profession. For example,
- some developers and real estate agents
- law and notary companies
- accounting and audit companies
DIFC companies can take advantage of multinational corporations and regional conglomerates environment. Clients benefit from central and global governance infrastructure. In turn, companies with their own management offices can conduct treasury operations, including hedging and liquidity management through DIFC. As a result, everyone benefits from a variety of professional services.
DIFC offers attractive legal structures not available elsewhere in the region. So, this free zone is ideal for corporate offices and other legal entities such as family offices, holding companies, private investment companies, special purpose vehicles, and intermediary special purpose vehicles.
- A legal entity for providing strategic direction, supervision, management, and administration of companies’ regional or international operations.
- Provides an efficient ownership structure for securities or other interests.
- May not provide administration, supervision, or management.
Private investment company
- A robust legal structure.
- Suitable for direct investments, acquisitions, joint ventures, and partnerships.
- Suitable for investments in private capital and other alternative investment funds or assets.
- Investments are not limited to a specific industry and may relate to the commercial, educational, healthcare, industrial, and oil sectors.
Intermediary special purpose vehicle
- Provides simple, profitable, and effective facilities to own and protect certain assets.
- DIFC-established funds, holding companies, private investment companies, family offices, and anyone holding foreign fund assets under DFSA regulation may register it.
Special purpose vehicle
- Is registered for certain financial transactions.
- Provides structures for many sectors and business types.
- Only DIFC-registered investment trust managers can use it.
- Owns the property of the respective fund(s).
- May not provide financial services.
- The family head or whole family can structure the ownership and distribution of their assets in a very flexible and specific way.
- Beneficial owners must be members of the same family.
- It may manage family charitable activities.
- It may provide non-financial services to family members, such as concierge service.
DIFC is the only jurisdiction in the Middle East and North Africa region to offer diverse world-class laws packages that provide greater flexibility in corporate and family activities.
- Family Office Regulations
- Special Purpose Vehicle Regulations
- Trust Law
- This is the only trust law in the region.
- Individuals and families can create common law trust mechanisms to own and manage assets.
- It provides clarity in inheritance planning.
Register company in DIFC for retail business
DIFC is the workplace of Dubai highest-paid professionals. The financial center is interested in providing employees, residents, and visitors with a dynamic retail environment. Retail customers can take advantage of DIFC’s regulatory environment and proximity to major hotels and residential complexes.
What infrastructure is available for DIFC companies?
DIFC has a geographical location that shows the best of what Dubai can offer itself. DIFC is close to such popular districts as Downtown Dubai and Business Bay. At the same time, it gains access to the city main highway and the subway.
DIFC has a promenade, which provides a connection between all its facilities. Particular attention should be paid to the balance between commercial, residential, and retail space. Thanks to this, residents have access to work and leisure activities, both day and night.
Commercial space for companies in DIFC free zone
When registering a DIFC company, a wide range of attractive office spaces is available for rent. It fully covers the needs of all businesses, companies, and professionals who operate in this financial district.
The rental units are originally built as A-class offices. They have business specifications and allow customization. The offices also have efficient air-conditioning and communication systems, and modern security measures.
In addition, specialists manage all rental units to ensure the comfort, safety, and tranquility of tenant companies.
DIFC provides 24/7 security and video surveillance, technical advisory assistance, mailboxes, parking, meeting rooms, and catering.
DIFC offers serviced offices available with flexible lease terms for companies looking to expand their business. In addition, such offices have the necessary equipment and furniture.
Data center services in Dubai International Financial Centre
DIFC offers advanced data center services for global and regional companies’ business needs.
This free zone provides customized hosting services for clients using four own data centers. Each center provides redundancy arrangements to ensure uninterrupted operation. By providing a dynamic infrastructure, DIFC minimizes risks and maximizes availability.
DIFC data center uses a modern security system with video surveillance and biometric access control.
It is worth noting that as banking and financial institutions process more and more personal data electronically, free zone authorities mandate compliance with DIFC Personal Data Protection Law. They also provide advice to clients on security and compliance issues.
What community and lifestyle will be available for you in DIFC?
As a global business district, DIFC has developed diverse offers that enable it to be a city within a city. Employees, residents, and visitors can be part of a special community with a unique way of life.
DIFC lifestyle includes luxurious gastronomic offers, opportunities for development in the arts, educational infrastructure, a large number of shops, and much more.
DIFC is a thriving community with an outstanding commercial and residential environment. Currently, it has 13 residential towers, two five-star hotels, six renowned art galleries, 108 operating retail units, and 200 to be opened.
Main advantages of company registration in Dubai International Financial Centre
- Zero tax rate on income, capital, and assets for 50 years.
- Zero tax rate on employee income.
- Possibility of 100% foreign ownership.
- No restrictions on hiring foreign employees.
- High concentration of international, regional, and local financial and non-financial companies.
- An independent regulatory environment is overseen by Dubai Financial Services Authority.
- A common law environment is different from the legal system of the UAE. All laws and regulations are in accordance with British common law.
- An efficient tax environment that takes advantage of double tax treaties wide network.
- No restrictions on capital and profit withdrawal and no currency control.
- DIFC is a financial services cluster that represents a critical mass of companies operating in the financial sector.
- A wide range of rental premises and modern business infrastructure.
- A vibrant, ambitious, and growing community.
Resident visas for DIFC free zone companies
When registering a company in DIFC, you will be able to obtain UAE resident visas for yourself and your employees.
DIFC houses Government Services Office, which operates as a one-stop shop. It issues visas, driver’s licenses and provides other public services.
Minimum authorized capital amount for DIFC companies
Authorized capital for companies not subject to DFSA regulation should be at least USD 50,000. The company has to contribute capital upon registration.
The minimum authorized capital of regulated companies depends on their categories.
Accounting requirements in DIFC free zone
All UAE companies must keep accounts. In addition, many of them have to register for VAT.
Process of company registration in Dubai International Financial Centre
The process of registering a company and obtaining a license is very fast and consists of the following steps:
- Applying to DIFC Administration.
- Administration issues agreement in principle for registration.
- ·For some activities, you need to get approval from the relevant supervisory authorities (Dubai Financial Services Authority, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, etc.).
- DIFC Registrar of Companies issues a commercial license (not required for corporate offices).
- Issuance of UAE resident visas.
LLC registration procedure in DIFC free zone
Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the most popular company form for running a business in Dubai International Financial Centre.
In such a company, the owners are liable only to the extent of their shares.
There are such conditions for LLC formation in DIFC:
- at least one company member
- and at least one manager, who may also be a member
Agreement in principle for DIFC company registration
Agreement in principle of DIFC Administration is mandatory for LLC formation. It is required for retail or non-financial companies.
Once agreed in principle, a company may reserve a registered address in DIFC. It can be office space leasing or sharing, and commercial/retail space purchasing.
Office space sharing is permitted only for affiliates and is subject to approval by DIFC Administration Business Development Department.
Business address for DIFC free zone companies
It is necessary to register your business address before applying for company registration in DIFC. There are such options for this:
- If you are working in a leased or subleased space, you must register your lease agreement in the DIFC Registrar of Real Properties. If it agrees with DIFC Investments LLC, this will be done automatically.
- If you share space with an affiliate, you have to obtain a No Objection Certificate from DIFC Administration.
- If you work from the acquired office, it must belong either to the company itself or its single member.
Name reservation when registering a company in DIFC (optional)
If you wish to reserve a name before filing an LLC registration application, you may submit an application for it along with fees payment to the DIFC Registrar of Companies. The fees are:
|Company type||Name reservation fee|
Name reservation is an additional service provided by the DIFC Registrar of Companies. The reservation period is 90 calendar days.
Documents required to register a company in DIFC free zone
For LLC registration, DIFC requires the following documents:
|Required documents||Scans required||Originals required|
|The proposed company Articles of Association signed by the founders. If the document is signed outside the UAE, the appropriate agency and the UAE Embassy have to notarize their signatures. Instead, the founders may sign the document in the presence of a DIFC official who will certify their signatures at the Registrar Office.||Yes||Yes|
|DIFC administration approval (required for non-financial or retail companies)||Yes||No|
|Personnel Sponsorship Agreement. This document is made at the end of the procedure and must be signed by a company authorized signatory. It is required only if the company is applying for an Establishment card.||Yes||No|
|Passport copies of persons indicated in the registration application as authorized signatories, managers, and members.||Yes||No|
|No Objection Certificate from DIFC Administration for sharing registered office space. It is required only if a new company shares space with another company.||Yes||No|
|Relationship Declaration. This document is made at the end of the procedure and must be signed by each company manager or member.||Yes||No|
|LLC Declaration. This document is made at the end of the procedure and must be signed by the members or authorized persons.||Yes||No|
|If the founder (or member) is a legal entity, the documents listed below are required. If any documents are not in English, you must provide a legal translation certified in accordance with the Registrar requirements Registrar.|
|A copy of a valid founder’s registration certificate or a similar document certified by the relevant authority in the place of origin.||Yes||Yes|
|Boards of Directors Resolution:|
– Authorizing the registration or investment in a new DIFC company and stating Articles of Association properly adoption.
– Appointing authorized signature for signing registration documents of a new company.
– Appointing authorized signature for signing documents after the new company formation (in some cases, the Board allows the power of attorney issuance, giving the indicated person the right to sign all documents connected with new company formation).
DIFC company registration cost
Cost of LLC registration services in Dubai International Financial Centre:
|Service||Non-retail company||Retail company|
|Our assistance cost in registering DIFC company||From USD 2,740|
|In case of a corporate founder or a branch registration||Additional USD 822|
|Assistance in company renewal||USD 1370|
|Assistance in constituent documents amending||USD 1370|
|Company closure||From USD 2,740|
|Audit of all documents||From USD 2,740|
|Application fee||USD 8,000||USD 3,400|
|Commercial license fee (paid after registration and upon annual renewal)||USD 12,000||USD 5,100|
|New Establishment Card fee||USD 618 (regular), USD 656(express)|
|Adding an authorized signature||USD 27|
|Personnel Sponsorship Agreement deposit||USD 680|
The following fees depend on the options selected in the Data Protection section of the registration application:
|Financial company||Non-financial company||Retail company|
|The company does not plan to process personal data||0||0||0|
|Before or immediately after the processing of personal data||USD 1,000||USD 500||USD 200|
|Permission to transfer personal data outside DIFC in accordance with Data Protection Law||USD 250||USD 100||USD 50|
|Permission to process sensitive personal data in accordance with Data Protection Law||USD||USD||USD|
How to start company registration process in DIFC?
To start the registration process, please contact us at email@example.com, and you will receive professional advice on opening a company in DIFC.
Then you will need to pay our fee for assistance in company registration.
The company cost starts from 11240 USD.
This amount does not include government fees, rental, and any additional services cost.
Immediately after payment, we begin to collect the documents necessary for registering a company.
The average time for DIFC company opening is 5 working days.