Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)

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Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) is a financial centre based in Dubai onshore which is located strategically between the East and the West. DIFC provides a secure and competent regulatory environment for business and financial institutions to reach out the emerging markets of the region. DIFC has its own regulatory framework which consists of independent regulations based on the principles of common law. Moreover, DIFC has its own independent courts. It also offers high-class infrastructure, tax-free regime, decent location within Dubai, high-quality office and residential buildings. This makes DIFC the perfect base to setup a business in DIFC and take advantage of the region’s fast-growing demand for financial and business services.

DIFC is a connection point between leading financial centres such as of London and New York in the west and Hong Kong and Tokyo in the east. DIFC adheres to its core values such as integrity, transparency and efficiency and it has been playing a pivotal role in enhancing the financial services sector in the region.

Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)

All DIFC based banks and financial institutions are regulated and licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which is an independent risk-based regulator. DFSA as a regulatory body was established based on the principles and legislative model that are used in London and New York.


The DFSA plays a major role in ensuring financial companies that they have a sound, firm, protected and growth-oriented platform for their business. DFSA has its own set of rules and regulations which are related to financial services.


DIFC companies are divided into two different groups based on the type of the business activity: Non-Regulated Entities and Regulated Entities.


Dubai's DIFC, The Location of Exquisite Restaurants | Restaurant Interior Design



Non-regulated entities are those, which are not engaged in carrying on a Financial Service (as defined in the DFSA Rulebooks) or are not required to be regulated due to certain exemptions set out in the DFSA Rulebooks.


Some of the non-regulated companies that can be formed in DIFC are holding companies, companies carrying out proprietary investments, companies carrying out activities of a support or back-office nature, service providers such as restaurants, coffee shops and bars and professional consultancy firms such as recruitment agencies, law firms and alike.







Regulated entities are the entities that carry on a “Financial Service” activity in the DIFC. In general, a person that wishes to carry on a “Financial Service” activity in the DIFC, must first obtain an appropriate approval and a licence from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to carry on such activity.


Some of the activities, which fall under “Financial Services” in DIFC and require a license from DFSA, are asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange.


The DFSA also regulates and supervises the activities of persons in the DIFC in relation to anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing and sanctions compliance.

Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)

DIFC is exceptional in that its legislation system is based on English Common law. DIFC laws comprised of set of civil and commercial laws and regulations. DIFC has also developed a comprehensive code of law and regulations governing financial services.


In addition, as an autonomous financial free zone, DIFC has created its own courts, which is responsible for the administration and enforcement of justice in DIFC. The DIFC Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all civil and commercial disputes arising within DIFC as well as disputes relating to entities registered in DIFC.


The DIFC uses English as its main language. Within the DIFC, UAE federal civil and commercial laws do not apply including UAE foreign ownership restrictions. However, the criminal laws of the UAE apply in the DIFC.

Company Formation in DIFC

The Registrar of Companies (ROC) is established under DIFC in order to receive, review and process all applications submitted by prospective DIFC registrants seeking to set up a company in DIFC. ROC accepts application to register all types of companies in accordance with the Companies Law, the General Partnership Law, the Limited Liability Partnership Law, or the Limited Partnership Law, and the implementing regulations.

Key Benefits of DIFC Company Formation:

  • It offers a platform to access regional wealth and investment opportunities
  • Companies can be 100 percent foreign owned
  • Tax-free regime guaranteed for a period of 50 years
  • UAE has signed double taxation treaties with many countries in the world
  • No currency exchange controls (free capital convertibility)
  • Comprehensive and efficient laws, rules and regulations
  • Legal system based on Common Law of England & Wales
  • A fully transparent operating environment that conform with global best practices and internationally accepted laws and regulatory framework
  • A variety of legal entities and investment vehicles can be established with capital structuring flexibility
  • Access to a large number of skilled professionals from all over the world residing in Dubai and the region
  • High class infrastructure, a modern transport and communications system
  • A responsive one-stop shop service for visas, work permits and other related requirements
  • DIFC has been designed as a ‘city within a city’ that provides a complete range of business and lifestyle facilities for today’s professionals such as ultra-modern office space, retail outlets, restaurants, residential apartments and hotels.
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