Company Setup in DIFC

DIFC Company Formation

Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) is a Dubai free zone, a global financial center for banks, funds, insurers, fintech companies, and other financial entities. It sits on 4,791,600 square feet of land along Sheikh Zayed road Rd, right across the Financial Center road Rd to Downtown Dubai.

Established in 2004 and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), it is a thriving center for financial services and wealth management. It has an internationally recognized legal and regulatory framework, including common-law courts authorized to adjudicate domestic and international commercial disputes. Today, it is home to 4,300 companies, including many of the world’s top banks, insurance companies, and asset managers. DIFC is also a thriving lifestyle hub with extensive residential, dining, shopping, and recreation options.

We are a business consultancy firm that can help with your company setup in DIFC. Work with us to establish your startup or open a Dubai branch. Our help will ensure your smooth entry into Dubai and a seamless DIFC business setup.



DIFC is a world-class financial center. When it comes to company formation, DIFC offers unbeatable benefits and numerous advantages, including the following:

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 100% capital repatriation
  • 0% corporate tax for qualifying business income
  • 0% personal income tax
  • 0% capital gains tax
  • 0% withholding tax on dividends, interest payments, and royalties paid to non-residents
  • No currency restrictions
  • Common-law framework and independent courts
  • Risk-based regulator (DFSA)
  • Dedicated DIFC business setup services in Dubai
  • A single-window government services office
  • Fast and easy company setup & licensing
  • Central and accessible location
  • Variety of office and commercial space options
  • Abundant residential, dining, shopping, medical, educational, and lifestyle amenities
  • Types of Companies

    Types of Companies

    Upon business setup in DIFC, you must decide on your legal form. DIFC allows four primary types of legal structures: companies, partnerships, non-profits, and foundations.

    The following are your specific options:

  • Public company (PLC)
  • Private company (LTD)
  • Recognized company (a branch of an existing foreign company)
  • General partnership (GP)
  • Recognized partnership (RP, a branch of an existing foreign general partnership)
  • Limited partnership (LP)
  • Recognized limited partnership (RLP, a branch of an existing foreign limited partnership)
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP)
  • Recognized limited liability partnership (RLLP, a branch of an existing foreign limited liability partnership)
  • Non-profit incorporated organisation (NPIO)
  • Foundation
  • Recognized foundation (a branch of an existing foreign foundation)
  • Companies, limited partnerships, NPIOs, and foundations incorporated in other jurisdictions may transfer their incorporation to DIFC. This is called continuation and leads to the formation of the Continued Company, Continued LP, Continued NPIO, and Continued Foundation legal structures.

    All legal structures apply to both financial and non-financial entities, but retail entities cannot be NPIOs and Foundations (or their recognized and continued variants).

    The DIFC Registrar of Companies receives, reviews and processes applications from would-be DIFC registrants. Private companies must have at least one director but don’t need a secretary or annual general meetings. They may have from one to 50 shareholders without a minimum share capital requirement, with shares available through private placement subscription. Private companies with fewer than 20 shareholders and less than $5,000,000 in annual turnover are considered Small Private Companies, and they’re exempt from filing obligations.

    Public companies must have at least two directors, a secretary, annual general meetings, and one to unlimited shareholders. Shares are publicly offered, and a minimum share capital of $100,000 is required, 25% of which must be fully paid up.

    The DIFC business setup for funds is a little different. Funds must choose any of these four legal structures:

  • Investment company (open ended or close ended)
  • Protected cell company (open ended only)
  • Incorporated investment cell company (open ended or close ended)
  • Limited partnership
  • Types of DIFC Licenses

    Types of DIFC Licenses

    You must apply for a relevant license upon your company setup in DIFC. The following are your options:

  • Commercial License: The commercial license is a general trade license awarded to companies and partnerships. It permits the licensed entity to conduct general commercial activities in DIFC, including selling products and providing paid services.
  • Innovation License: The innovation license is a commercial license that applies specifically to startups exploring, developing and testing cutting-edge technologies or innovating products and solutions. This comes with a subsidized fee structure.
  • Operating License: The operating license is for NPIOs and Foundations.
  • Financial and Regulated Services License: The financial and regulated services license is for financial and non-financial entities conducting regulated services in DIFC. It is an authorization permit awarded by the DFSA. Entities that need this license include banks, insurance companies, asset and wealth managers, real estate developers and brokers, precious metal and stones dealers, legal businesses, accounting and audit firms, and business and formation agents.
  • There are seven DIFC categories for the financial and regulated services license: Category 1, Category 2, Category 3A, Category 3B, Category 3C, Category 3D, and Category 4. Relatively low-risk regulated activities like advising and arranging credit deals merit a Category 4 license while accepting deposits and managing profit-sharing investment accounts require a Category 1 license.

    DIFC Company Setup Cost

    DIFC Company Setup Cost

    We provide a wide range of services as part of the setup process, including:

  • License packages from 1 to 4 years
  • Visas
  • Establishment card
  • Flexi-desks
  • Bank account opening
  • Ultimately, the total cost will depend on the scope of your requirements. Please reach out to us for a tailored quote.

    DIFC Company Setup Process

    DIFC Company Setup Process

    When you partner with us, the setup process for new businesses in the DIFC Free Zone is as follows:

  • Firstly, get in touch with our business consultants;
  • We’ll ask for necessary details like your business activity and your goals;
  • We’ll provide legal advice and explain the advantage of DIFC over other free zones;
  • Once settled, we’ll walk you through the DIFC company formation process step by step;
  • We’ll send you an e-form to fill along with a list of documentations you need to submit;
  • Our business consultants will process everything within 5-10 working days.
  • Once approved, we’ll still be here whenever you need us to help and advise.


    Contact Us

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    Downtown, Dubai, UAE

    Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd -
    Downtown Dubai

    Dubai - United Arab Emirates

    [email protected]
    04 524 7803

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        Everything You Need to Know in Opening a Company in the UAE