21 October, 2023

Dubai International Financial Centre – Benefits & Process

dubai international financial centre

What is Dubai International Financial Centre?

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is a thriving hub for business and finance in the heart of Dubai, UAE. It’s a place where companies from around the world come to do business, thanks to its favorable tax and legal system. DIFC offers a range of services, from banking to legal support, making it an ideal place for international companies to set up shop. With its modern infrastructure and global connectivity, DIFC has become a beacon for those seeking opportunities in the Middle East’s dynamic financial sector.

Benefits of Business Setup in Dubai International Financial Centre

  1. Strategic Location: Located in the heart of Dubai, DIFC provides easy access to global markets and a growing business community.
  2. Tax Advantages: Businesses in DIFC enjoy zero percent tax on corporate income and profits for a guaranteed period of 15 years.
  3. Legal System: DIFC operates under a common law framework, offering a transparent and efficient legal system based on international best practices.
  4. Business Flexibility: Choose from various legal structures, including Free Zone and Onshore, tailored to suit your business needs.
  5. Networking Opportunities: DIFC is home to over 2,500 companies, creating ample networking opportunities and potential collaborations.
  6. Regulatory Support: Benefit from a well-established regulatory environment and a streamlined business setup process.
  7. Global Workforce: Attract talent from around the world, thanks to a diverse and skilled expat population in Dubai.
  8. State-of-the-Art Infrastructure: Access to modern office spaces and world-class facilities, fostering productivity and growth.
  9. Banking Services: Convenient access to top-notch banking and financial institutions within DIFC.
  10. International Reputation: DIFC’s reputation as a global financial hub can enhance your company’s credibility and appeal to international clients and investors.
  11. Stability: Dubai’s political and economic stability provides a secure environment for your business operations.
  12. Cultural Diversity: The cosmopolitan nature of Dubai ensures a welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds.

types of companies in dubai international financial centre

Types of companies in Dubai International Financial Centre


1. Free Zone Company (FZCO): Ideal for individual or corporate investors, offering 100% foreign ownership and various business activities with specific capital requirements.

2. Limited Liability Company (LLC): Suited for those looking for a physical presence within DIFC, LLCs require a minimum of two shareholders and offer flexibility in business operations.

3. Branch Office: For foreign companies expanding into DIFC, this structure operates as an extension of the parent company and doesn’t have specific capital requirements.

4. Subsidiary Company: Offers a local presence with a separate legal identity, and the parent company retains 100% ownership, subject to DIFC regulations.

5. Representative Office: Perfect for marketing and research activities, but limited to promoting the parent company’s business without conducting direct sales.

6. Non-Regulated Entity (NRE): Ideal for non-financial activities, NREs operate without strict financial service regulations.

7. Special Purpose Company (SPC): Designed for structured financing and securitization, with a focus on specific financial purposes.

8. Restricted License Entity (RLE): Suited for specialized financial activities, RLEs operate with specific restrictions and conditions.


Process of Company Formation in DIFC


Step 1: Determine Company Type

Decide on the type of company structure (Free Zone, LLC, Branch, etc.) that suits your business objectives.

Step 2: Name Reservation

Choose a unique company name and submit it for approval to the DIFC authorities. They will check availability and compliance with naming regulations.

Step 3: Initial Approval

Submit your application for initial approval, including required documentation such as business plan, shareholder details, and financial projections.

Step 4: Lease Office Space

Secure a physical office space within DIFC. The office must comply with DIFC’s office space requirements.

Step 5: Regulatory Approvals

Depending on your business activities, obtain any necessary regulatory approvals or licenses from relevant authorities.

Step 6: Memorandum of Association (MOA)

Draft the MOA and have it notarized. It should outline the company’s share capital, shareholders, and governing structure.

Step 7: Legal Formalities

Complete legal procedures, including obtaining a trade license, registering your company, and opening a bank account.

Step 8: Post-License Activities

Fulfill post-licensing requirements, like registering for employment visas and obtaining any additional permits necessary for your business activities.

Step 9: Commence Operations

Once all approvals and legalities are in place, you can officially commence your business operations within DIFC.


Requirements to open a company in DIFC

Decide on the type of business activity or industry your company will engage in. Ensure it complies with DIFC regulations.

  • Legal Structure: Determine the legal structure of your company (Free Zone, LLC, Branch, etc.) based on your business objectives.
  • Office Space: Secure an office space within DIFC that meets the center’s guidelines for physical premises.
  • Shareholders: Identify shareholders and their respective ownership percentages. For some structures, a minimum number of shareholders may be required.
  • Minimum Capital: Be prepared to meet the minimum share capital requirement if it applies to your chosen business structure.
  • Name Approval: Select a unique and DIFC-compliant company name and obtain approval from the DIFC authorities.
  • Legal Documents: Prepare essential legal documents, including the Memorandum of Association (MOA), which outlines the company’s structure and operation.
  • Regulatory Approvals: Obtain any necessary regulatory approvals or licenses if your business activities require them.
  • Bank Account: Open a business bank account in a recognized financial institution within DIFC.
  • Visa Processing: If necessary, complete visa processing for employees and obtain employment visas.


What kind of activities can you develop in DIFC?

  1. Financial Services: DIFC is renowned for its financial sector, hosting banks, asset management companies, insurance providers, and fintech startups.
  2. Professional Services: Legal, accounting, auditing, and consulting firms find a home in DIFC, serving the needs of businesses in the region.
  3. Technology and Innovation: The center encourages tech-based enterprises, including IT companies, software development, and innovation hubs.
  4. Retail and Hospitality: Restaurants, hotels, and retail outlets thrive in DIFC, serving the financial district’s bustling community.
  5. Healthcare and Education: DIFC supports healthcare facilities, clinics, and educational institutions, catering to the needs of residents and professionals.
  6. Real Estate and Construction: Property development, real estate agencies, and construction companies contribute to DIFC’s infrastructure growth.
  7. Media and Entertainment: Companies in media production, advertising, and entertainment benefit from DIFC’s cosmopolitan environment.
  8. Trading and Commodities: DIFC fosters trade and commodities businesses, facilitating global commerce.
  9. Consulting and Management: Various consulting and management firms operate in DIFC, offering services to a broad client base.


Why to invest in Dubai International Financial Centre Dubai?

  1. Strategic Location: DIFC’s location in the heart of Dubai offers access to global markets and positions your business at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
  2. Tax Benefits: Businesses in DIFC enjoy zero percent tax on corporate income and profits for 15 years, coupled with zero import or re-export duties.
  3. Regulatory Excellence: It operates under a world-class regulatory framework based on English common law, ensuring transparency and security for investments.
  4. Global Hub: DIFC houses over 2,500 companies, facilitating networking and collaboration opportunities with a diverse business community.
  5. Legal Protection: Businesses benefit from a robust legal system that safeguards investments and enforces contracts efficiently.
  6. Modern Infrastructure: State-of-the-art office spaces and world-class facilities enhance business operations and productivity.
  7. Banking and Finance: Access to top-tier financial institutions and services within the center supports financial transactions and growth.
  8. Cultural Diversity: Dubai’s cosmopolitan atmosphere makes it a welcoming place for people from diverse backgrounds, fostering a multicultural work environment.
  9. Political and Economic Stability: Dubai’s stable environment ensures a secure base for your investments and long-term business planning