|10 July, 2019

DIFC's four new licences make doing business in Dubai even easier

Each of the new categories comes with reduced licence fees and increased flexibility, allowing more firms to conduct business from the Centre

Image for illustrative purposes. Dubai International Financial Centre is regulated by Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Image for illustrative purposes. Dubai International Financial Centre is regulated by Dubai Financial Services Authority.

REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the region, has introduced new licensing categories to make it easier and more affordable for businesses set up a base within the Centre.

Four new licencing categories were introduced as part of the new Operating Law and Regulations: short-term licences, restricted licences, commercial permissions and dual licences.

Each of the new categories comes with reduced licence fees and increased flexibility, allowing more firms to conduct business from the Centre, according to a statement from the DIFC. 

Khalid Al Zarouni, Senior Vice President & Registrar of Companies at DIFC Authority, said: “The new licences and fees introduced under DIFC’s Operating Law and Regulations are a first of its kind in the region and will enable DIFC businesses to grow, whilst also encouraging a more diversified portfolio of businesses to establish in the financial centre.”

The new enhancements to the licencing 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.

Key highlights of the four licencing categories:

Short-term licences

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

Restricted licences 

This set of licenses is for firms interested in developing or testing new or innovative products and services in the DIFC. Entities obtaining this licence will benefit from a reduced registration fee of $100 and annual licence fees ranging from $1,000 to $4,000. The intent is to offer more flexibility for innovation, testing and access to the DIFC ecosystem, which includes incubator and accelerator programmes.

Commercial permissions

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

Dual licencing 

Dual licensing enables non-financial and non-retail firms licenced by the Dubai Economic Department with an affiliate in the DIFC to operate from the centre. These include law firms, audit firms, consultancy firms, family businesses, holding companies and corporate service providers, who will benefit from an annual fee of $1,000.

(Reporting by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@refinitiv.com; editing by Daniel Luiz)

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© ZAWYA 2019

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