Empower Your Business Growth: Set Up Your Business in DIFC Free Zone

Discover the boundless opportunities of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a thriving business hub offering 100% foreign ownership, Tax benefits, and a world-class infrastructure. Launch your business seamlessly and navigate the process with expert guidance.

  • 100% Foreign Ownership
  • Ease of Doing Business
  • Thriving Start-up Ecosystem
  • Capital Repatriation Allowed
Set Up Your Business in DIFC Free Zone - Smart Zones® UAE

About Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) holds a key position as the primary financial hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. With nearly two decades of expertise, DIFC has been instrumental in facilitating trade and investment flows across MEASA, encompassing 72 countries and a collective population of approximately three billion.

Situated between Burj Khalifa and Emirates Towers, the DIFC Innovation Hub is a leading ecosystem for Tech Startups, providing innovation licenses and DIFC fintech licenses within the prestigious DIFC jurisdiction. This prime location offers an affordable DIFC trade license cost, making it an ideal spot for your tech startup. DIFC's strategic location serves as a crucial connector, linking the markets of the MEASA region to the economies of Asia, Europe, and the Americas, all within the dynamic city of Dubai.

Explore the vibrant tech community at the DIFC Innovation Hub by applying for an innovation license at DIFC through Smart Zones®UAE

Benefits of Establishing DIFC Free Zone Business Setup

DIFC free zone offers a number of benefits that make it an attractive option for businesses of all sizes. If you are considering setting up a business in Dubai, DIFC is definitely worth considering.

  • Full foreign ownership is allowed.
  • Enjoy a 0% income tax rate and corporate tax exemption by adhering to regulatory requirements.
  • Potential access to the UAE's extensive network of double taxation treaties.
  • Unrestricted repatriation of capital and profits.
  • Benefit from a top-notch, independent regulatory agency collaborating with global counterparts.
  • The legal system is rooted in English Common Law, fostering international business practices.
  • Dubai houses skilled professionals in a transparent and globally compliant operating environment.
  • Access to an international stock exchange with listings for both debt and equity instruments.
  • Various legal structures available with flexible capital arrangements.
  • Modern transport, communication, and internet infrastructure are readily available.
  • Commercial retail spaces
  • Offices shell and core options
  • Serviced offices

Permitted Business activities in DIFC FreeZone - Smart Zones® UAE

Permitted Business activities in DIFC FreeZone

Business activities allowed in the DIFC free zone can be broadly classified into two categories: financial and non-financial. Here are some more detailed breakdown of allowed business activities in DIFC:

Financial Activities:

  • Banking and financial services
  • Insurance and reinsurance
  • Investment banking and asset management
  • Capital markets and financial intermediation
  • Financial advisory and consulting services
  • Treasury and cash management
  • Payment services and financial technology

Non-Financial Activities:

  • Consulting and professional services
  • Legal and accounting services
  • Marketing, advertising, and public relations
  • Information technology and software development
  • Healthcare and medical services
  • Education and training
  • Retail and trade
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Logistics and transportation
  • Real estate and construction

The DIFC also offers a number of specialized industry platforms, which provide tailored support and services for businesses operating in specific sectors. These platforms include:

  • DIFC FinTech Hive: A hub for innovative fintech companies
  • DIFC Innovation Hub: A center for entrepreneurs and startups
  • DIFC Gates: A platform for Islamic finance and sustainable investments

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and the specific activities allowed in the DIFC are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, it is always best to consult with a business setup advisor in the UAE.

DIFC Free Zone Legal Entity Types:

DIFC offers a variety of appealing structural options for both individual and corporate investors. An entity in DIFC can be registered under the Companies Law with the following structure choices:

  • Company limited by shares (LTD)
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Branch of an existing foreign company (Branch of a Foreign Company)
  • Representative Office of a pre-existing foreign company (Representative Office)
  • Transfer of the incorporation of an existing company to DIFC from another jurisdiction (Continued Company)

Under the Limited Liability Partnership Law, the available structures are:

  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Branch of a pre-existing foreign Limited Liability Partnership (RLLP)

Under the General Partnership Law, the options are:

  • General Partnership (GP)
  • Branch of a pre-existing foreign general partnership (RP)

Under the General Partnership Law, the options are:

  • General Partnership (GP)
  • Branch of a pre-existing foreign general partnership (RP)

Under the Limited Partnership Law, the choices include:

  • Limited Partnership (LP)
  • Branch of a pre-existing limited partnership (RLP)
  • Transfer of the existing limited partnership into DIFC from another jurisdiction (Continued Limited Partnership/Foreign Limited Partnership)

Steps to Launch a company in the DIFC free zone

The process of forming a company in the DIFC free zone is designed to be straightforward and efficient. However, many investors opt to engage business setup consultants familiar with local UAE laws and customs to assist them in navigating the application process.

Every new company must choose its legal structure, which could be a Limited Liability Company, branch office, partnership, or a company limited by shares. This decision influences how the business handles legal and financial matters.

Investors aiming for success need a clear understanding of the type of business they intend to conduct, the products or services offered, and the market forecast. The DIFC free zone offers various business activities categorized into finance, non-financial, retail, and non-retail activities.

Selecting a business name is a crucial step, ensuring it is not offensive or profane. Names already secured are rejected. Thorough research is essential to choose a fitting name for the new company.

Collect all necessary paperwork, including proof of appropriate startup capital, and submit the application along with any required fees for DIFC business setup. After submission, you should receive initial approval.

Following initial approval, establish checking and savings accounts for your company by contacting a local banking institution.

After a few weeks, expect final approval from the governing body, accompanied by a certificate of incorporation. Once received, the company is legally allowed to conduct business.

Remember that the process may vary depending on your chosen jurisdiction and business activities. Consulting legal and business experts familiar with Dubai's business setup landscape is highly recommended.

Operating since 2013, Smart Zones® UAE provides on-going support to obtain Business Services License including Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Free Zone.

Looking for a seamless business setup experience? Trust Smart Zones® Dubai to pave the way.

Required Documents to get DIFC Free Zone Company License

The documents needed to obtain a license can vary based on your business type and chosen activities. Here are a few examples of most common required documents:

  • Elaborate business plan
  • Information about primary decision-makers, significant shareholders holding more than 5% shares, and certification from key personnel affirming the company’s operational capability
  • Suggested organizational chart for the applicants
  • In-depth details regarding operational systems and controls
  • Company procedures related to internal audits and compliance systems
  • Financial report subjected to auditing for shareholders over the past three years
  • Completed application form for anti-money laundering compliance
  • If the applicant represents a branch, details about the company’s financial standing and regulatory history profile

Cost of Establishing a Financial Consultancy Company in Dubai

The cost of setting up a company in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) may fluctuate based on various factors such as free zone company setup packages, license type, legal structure, ownership type, and business facilities. For precise cost details tailored to your specific business, we recommend contacting the business setup specialists at Smart Zones® in Dubai.

Asked Questions (FAQs)

Discover the opportunities of 100% foreign ownership, tax benefits, and a world-class infrastructure.

Explore a range of financial and non-financial activities, including banking, insurance, consulting, technology, and more.

Choose from options like Limited Liability Company, branch office, partnership, or a company limited by shares.

Understand the process, from selecting a legal entity type to receiving final approval and starting business operations

Enjoy full foreign ownership, a 0% income tax rate, access to double taxation treaties, and more.

Gather essential documents, including a detailed business plan, organizational chart, financial reports, and anti-money laundering compliance forms.

For precise cost details tailored to your specific business, contact the business setup specialists at Smart Zones® in Dubai.

Get in Touch

Want to know more, talk to Smart Zones® Dubai advisory team they will be happy to help. Ready to invest in your future?

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