Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is a free financial zone offering a business-friendly environment for companies to operate in Dubai. It’s one of the most advanced financial centers in the world and attracts a range of businesses, including financial institutions, law firms, and corporate service providers. This article will provide a step-by-step guide to obtaining a DIFC free zone license.
Step 1: Determine your business activity:
Before applying for a DIFC-free zone license, you need to determine your business activity. The DIFC offers licenses for various activities, including finance, legal, and professional services. You can check the list of permissible activities on the DIFC website to see if your business is eligible for a free zone license.
Step 2: Choose your company type:
The DIFC offers two types of companies: Limited Liability Companies (LLC) and Branch Offices. LLCs are separate legal entities that offer limited liability protection to their shareholders, while Branch Offices are an extension of an existing company outside of the DIFC. You need to decide on the type of company that suits your business needs.
Step 3: Find a local service agent:
To obtain a DIFC free zone license, you must appoint a Local Service Agent (LSA), a UAE national. The LSA acts as a liaison between your company and the local authorities. The LSA’s role is to assist you with obtaining visas, licenses, and other administrative requirements. You can find a list of approved LSAs on the DIFC website.
Step 4: Choose a business name:
The next step is choosing a unique business name not already registered in the DIFC. You can check the availability of the name on the DIFC website. Choosing a name that reflects your business activity and is easy to remember is recommended.
Step 5: Submit the application:
Once you have completed the above steps, you can submit your application for a DIFC-free zone license. The application should include all the necessary documents, such as passport copies of shareholders, a business plan, and a letter of intent. You also need to pay the application fee at this stage.
Step 6: Obtain the license:
After your application has been approved, you will receive your DIFC free zone license. The license is valid for one year and can be renewed annually. Once you have obtained your license, you can start operating your business in the DIFC-free zone.