Business setup in DIFC Free zone
The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Free zone is known as the financial hub in the Middle East. Companies that work in the finance sector can establish their presence in this region and enjoy from the many benefits and development this Free Zone has to offer.
Foreign investors that want to enter financial international markets can find in DIFC a key location to conduct their operations. Thanks to its tax-friendly benefits, investor-friendly legal framework and simple business setup process, business owners should carry out the Company Formation in Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Free zone.
Forming a company in DIFC
The Business Setup in Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Free zone is a pretty straightforward process. Since the DIFC is a leading financial center in the UAE and one of the top financial hubs in the world, it offers innovative financial services that business can take advantage of to boost their operations.
Incorporating a company in DIFC only involves following three steps. First, you need to submit your application, then once you’ve received the approval, you can continue with the registration process. Lastly, you can collect your license once you have make the payments.
The documents you’ll need for incorporating a company in DIFC are the following:
- Passport copy for each shareholder
- Copy of entry stamp
- Business plan
- Financial Projection
The DIFC company register (ROC) is in charge of reviewing the documentation and applications to approve them or reject them.
DIFC Business Activities
Establishing a Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Free zone Company means that you’ll have to select among the business activities allowed by the DIFC Authority. Since this Free Zone offers more options compared to other Free Zones, it’s important to choose the best business activities for your business as well as the proper business license.
In DIFC, the activities are divided in Financial Business and Non-Financial Business, and are as follows:
- Financial business: Financial technology, banking, private banking, investment banking, brokerage, capital markets, innovation, insurance, fund management, asset management, wealth management, and private equity.
- Non-financial business: consultancy, service providers, and product providers.
Among the service providers we can find sectors such as advertisement, arts, education, fashion designing, hotel management, and many more. And regarding product providers, business can engage in trading and other commercial activities as per the DIFC regulations.
Business Licenses for DIFC
To operate legally in DIFC you must have a valid business license. In this regard, it’s important to learn about the DIFC license categories. Since this Free Zone welcomes companies that work in financial and non-financial sector, there are several business licenses that can be issued by the authorities.
The first step is to select your business activity and determine if it’s related or not to the financial sector. In this regard, in DIFC we can find divide the business licenses into two categories:
- Non-regulated license: this license is for businesses that are not related to the Finance and Banking sector. Some of these may be professional or personal services, specialized establishments, restaurants, cafes, art galleries, academic institutions and more.
- Regulated license: Businesses that carry out activities related to Banking and Finance should get a regulated license.
Among the regulated licenses we can find the following categories:
- Category 1: Accepting Deposits
- Category 2: Principal Investor
- Category 3: Dealing in investment (3A), Providing custody (3B) and manage collective investment fund (3C)
- Category 4: Arranging Credit or Deals and Advising
- Category 5: Islamic Financial Institution
Benefits of doing business in DIFC
- DIFC companies law is friendly with foreign investment
- 100% foreign ownership
- No income and profits tax
- There are no controls regarding exchange
- It has double taxation treaties
- Laws and regulations are strong but simple
- State-of-the-art infrastructure on telecommunications and internet
- It provides many investment opportunities
- Common Law framework
Business entities in DIFC
To Start your Business in Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Free zone you should select one of the legal structures available for your business. Unlike other Free Zones, in DIFC you have a several options so you can choose the best one for your business.
Some of the corporate structures you can find in DIFC are the following:
- LTD Company (limited by shares) and LLC (Limited Liability Company): these can be formed with one or more shareholders, either individuals or corporate.
- LLP (Limited Liability Partnership), Limited (LP) and General Partnership (GP): these can be formed with two or more shareholders
- Investment Company
- Protected Cell Company (PCC)
- Branch office: of a foreign company, of an existing foreign LLP, an existing LP, an existing foreign general partnership.
- A Continued Company (transfer company)
DIFC License costs
Opening a company in DIFC means that you need to have an authorized capital and pay the required fees for the DIFC license cost.
However, the final cost varies depending on the type of office you choose. Some of the expenses that you’ll have to incur are the following:
- Registration fee: starts from AED 29,000
- License fee: starts from AED 44,000
- Office rent: the rent will depend on the size of the physical space, and this can start from AED 23,000
- Share capital: the minimum share capital to incorporate a company in DIFC is of AED 183,650 or USD50,000
DIFC Innovative Facilities
Investors and business owners that want to carry out the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Free zone Setup can select from a vast range of facilities offered by the DIFC. From residential to business facilities, there are many options that can suit your business needs.
Some of the most notable facilities you can find in DIFC are the following:
- Offices: in DIFC there is an Office Zone where you can choose among closed or open office spaces for your business. Here you can find core and shell offices, modern designs, IT solutions, conference facilities, and much more.
- Serviced Office Space: investors can select a fully furnished office from where they can carry out their operations in DIFC. It’s a great option for small businesses and startups.
- Data Center Co-Location: the DIFC’s 4 modern data center provide dedicated BMS facilities, hosting services, back up UPS System and much more.
- Residential Zone: investors can find modern and high-quality apartments, schools, restaurants, healthcare facilities and landscaped surroundings for having an outstanding quality of life in DIFC.