Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

About Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is a premier global financial hub and free zone in Dubai, created to drive economic expansion across the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia through its state-of-the-art infrastructure and investor-friendly environment. As the home to a diverse array of financial institutions including banks, investment firms, insurance companies and wealth management services, DIFC acts as a pivotal financial gateway for the region. It’s distinguished by its independent regulatory authority and a judicial system rooted in English common law, making it an optimal choice for businesses seeking reliability and growth opportunities in the financial sector.

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Key features of DIFC

Regulatory Environment: DIFC boasts its own independent regulator, the DIFC Authority, which oversees a unique legal framework in the region. This framework includes DIFC's own civil and commercial laws based on English common law, providing a familiar groundwork for international firms and contributing to a stable and predictable business environment.

Business Ecosystem: The centre is a vibrant ecosystem of financial activities with major international financial institutions, wealth funds, insurance companies, and professional service providers all operating in close proximity. This concentration of financial services creates a synergistic environment where businesses can thrive on shared expertise and resources.

Infrastructure: DIFC is also known for its world-class facilities which include ultramodern office spaces, a wide range of retail outlets, diverse dining options, and art galleries as well as luxury residential apartments, top-tier hotels, and state-of-the-art convention and event venues.

Business types available in DIFC

In addition to its main focus on regulated financial activities like banking and finance, DIFC also supports a wide array of other business operations. This includes companies providing regulated professional services in fields such as law and accountancy, along with a variety of other non-financial and non-regulated businesses.

The following are the main types of corporate structures available:

  • Company Limited by Shares (Ltd.)
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Branch Office of an Existing Company
  • Special Purpose Company (SPC)
  • Partnership
  • Holding Company

Documents required to set up in DIFC

The following are the essential documents needed for a typical setup:

  • Application Form
  • Business Plan
  • Passport Copies (For each shareholder and director involved in the company)
  • Proof of Residence
  • CV/Resume (For each director and senior officer of the company, showing relevant experience and qualifications)
  • Bank Reference Letters (dated within the last three months)
  • Legal Forms of Company Structure - such as Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Board Resolution
  • NOC from Current Sponsor (For individuals currently employed in the UAE)

Advantages of setting up in DIFC

Tax Efficiencies: A key advantage of establishing your business in DIFC is the potential for zero percent corporate tax on qualifying income. Starting from financial years on or after 1 June 2023, the UAE's Corporate Tax Law applies a general rate of 9%, but DIFC member companies can benefit from a 0% rate if they meet specific conditions. These include maintaining sufficient economic presence in the UAE, complying with transfer pricing rules, and ensuring that non-qualifying income remains below a minimal threshold.

Networking Opportunities: The DIFC is not just a financial hub but also a vibrant community of major financial institutions and multinational corporations. This concentration of businesses creates extensive networking opportunities, allowing companies to build relationships, collaborate on projects, and share insights and strategies, all within close physical proximity.

Legal and Administrative Services: DIFC also excels in providing comprehensive legal and administrative support to its resident companies. From the initial registration process to daily compliance and governance, businesses benefit from streamlined procedures and expert guidance.

How can PRO Partner Group help?

PRO Partner Group can facilitate the entire process of setting up your business in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) from start to finish. This includes obtaining the necessary DIFC trade licences and providing support for employment visas and related PRO matters. Beyond initial setup, PRO Partner Group also offers continued support services such as corporate secretarial services, bookkeeping and accounting, payroll, and HR services in Dubai.

If you need any assistance or have questions about incorporating in DIFC, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are equipped to handle all your queries and provide the guidance you need to establish and grow your business in DIFC.

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