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How to establish a Business in Dubai’s DIFC?

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


Dubai International Financial Centre DIFC one Free Zones

Dubai International Financial Centre( DIFC) is one of the Dubai Free Zones which provides a safe and effective platform for businesses and fiscal institutions to enter and exit the region's arising requests.

DIFC's quality and range of independent regulation, law frame, probative structure, and duty-friendly governance make it the ideal base for staking on the region's fleetly growing demand for fiscal and business services.

The legislative system of DIFC makes it unique. It is grounded on English common law and is home to a different range of fiscal and non-financial enterprises across the globe.

Its business sectors include banking, professional services, global pots, insurance, and wealth management.

Establishing a Regulated Entity in the DIFC

Applicants must submit their application through the DIFC regulatory body, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which will evaluate the applicant's merits and suitability and the license category for the application. According to the DIFA certain steps have to be followed:

  1. DFSA informally reviews the draft Regulatory Business Plan and the Financial Plan and, if approved, approves the submission of the full Formal Application (including the final Regulatory Business Plan to be filed).
  2. When applying to the DFSA, you must submit a variety of application forms depending on the financial services you need.

Applicants must provide the following minimum information:

  • Employees, shareholders (10% or more) and controllers, evidence of suitability and fitness for the business of the proposed organization.
  • Organizational structure of the proposed organization.
  • Operating system and controls.
  • Compliance system, internal audit function and complaint handling procedure.
  • Anti-money laundering procedures and controls.
  1. DFSA will review the application and contact the applicant, which may include an interview with a designated approval officer.
  2. If DFSA is satisfied with the application and the applicant, it will in principle issue an approval to the applicant. This includes several conditions that must be met prior to issuance of a final license. Example:
  • Registration or registration of a corporation with the DIFC Registry of Companies;
  • Opening a local bank account and providing proof of capital transfer to DFSA; and
  • Evidence of office space for the company to conduct its financial activities.
  1. When the basic approval conditions are met, DFSA issues an official license.

Establishment of the Non-Regulated Entity in the DIFC

Non-Regulated entities are those established in the DIFC and have as their business conditioning that doesn't fall under the Financial Service Provider type. Similar types are those established to monitor, check, and support the applicant's other companies in terms of back-office administrative operations.

Among the non-regulated entities established in the DIFC are restaurants and recruitment agencies

Non-regulated realities must have a share capital of at least $ 50,000 paid upon incorporation. Aspirants seeking to establish non-regulated companies must submit a detailed business plan for their operation. It is subject to DIFC blessing.

The registration fees of USD 21,000 must be paid. It  includes the fees for incorporating a company in the DIFC (USD 8,000), the annual commercial license fee(USD 12,000), and the data security figure.

The application fee for enrollment in retail outlets is USD 3,400, and the annual commercial license fee is USD 5,100.

Establishing a Designated Non-Financial Business or Profession (" DNFBP ")

The DIFCA business that qualifies for DNFBP registration must apply to the DFSA.

The DFSA will consider such an application based on the merits and suitability of the applicant firm.

Applicants can also establish a Company Limited by Shares (Limited) or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or establish a branch office of an existing foreign company (Recognised Company).

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971526443004