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DIFC offers new license types with competitive fees

New licenses are designed for ease of set-up and affordability


The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) has introduced new licensing categories and fees designed to make establishing businesses within DIFC easier and more affordable.

The leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region now offers four new licencing categories as part of the new Operating Law and Regulations, including Short-term and Restricted Licenses, Commercial Permissions, and Dual Licenses. Each of the new categories comes with reduced license fees and increased flexibility, allowing more firms to conduct business from DIFC.

The enhancements to the licensing regime are in response to market needs and exemplify DIFC’s commitment to providing a nurturing business environment balanced with appropriate levels of protection, in accordance with international best practice.

The new licenses and fees are a first in the region and will enable DIFC businesses to grow, while also encouraging a more diversified portfolio of businesses to establish in the financial center. The changes support Dubai’s vision to be the number one city for ease of doing business by 2021.

Under the new Short-Term licensing category, retail businesses and other non-financials will now be able to operate their businesses from DIFC with flexible rates over shorter timeframes. This includes a competitively priced registration fee of USD 100 and license fee ranging from USD 300 to USD 5,100 depending on the duration.

Restricted Licenses have been introduced for firms interested in developing or testing new or innovative products and services in the DIFC. Entities obtaining this license will benefit from a reduced registration fee of USD 100, and with annual license fees ranging from USD 1,000 to USD 4,000, allowing more flexibility for innovation, testing and access to the DIFC ecosystem, which includes incubator and accelerator programs.

The Commercial Permissions category will allow both DIFC and non-DIFC entities such as event companies, retail outlets, training providers or educational services to conduct their main business activities within the DIFC at competitive rates. Fees range from USD 100 to USD 2,000, depending on the nature of the activity and duration.

Dual Licensing enables non-financial and non-retail firms licensed by the Dubai Department of Economic Development (Dubai Economy) with an affiliate in the DIFC to operate from the center. This includes law firms, audit firms, consultancy firms, family businesses, holding companies and corporate service providers, which will benefit from an annual fee of USD 1,000.

DIFC is committed to being the most business-friendly, Common Law jurisdiction in the MEASA region. The Center’s vision is to drive the future of finance. It offers one of the region’s most comprehensive fintech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programs, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.




Dubai FDI