Dubai International Financial Centre Continues to Prioritize Ease of Doing Business with Introduction of New Licencing Categories & Fees

Introduction of Short-Term and Restricted Licences as well as Commercial Permissions and Dual Licencing categories designed for ease of set-up and affordability

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, is continuing to prioritize the ease of doing business with the introduction of new licencing categories and fees designed to make establishing businesses within the Centre easier and more affordable.

Four new licencing categories were introduced as part of the new Operating Law and Regulations, including Short-term and Restricted Licences, Commercial Permissions and Dual Licences. Each of the new categories come with reduced licence fees and increased flexibility, allowing more firms to conduct business from the 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.

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

In addition, Restricted Licences have been introduced to 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 US$100, and with annual licence fees ranging from US$1,000 to US$4,000, allowing more flexibility for innovation, testing and access to the DIFC ecosystem which includes incubator and accelerator programmes.

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 for Commercial Permissions range from US$100 to US$2,000, depending on the nature of activity and duration.

Finally, Dual Licencing also enables DED licenced non-financial and non-retail firms with an affiliate in the DIFC to operate from the centre. This includes law firms, audit firms, consultancy firms, family businesses, holding companies and corporate service providers, who will benefit from an annual fee of US$1,000.

DIFC is firmly committed to being the most business-friendly, Common Law jurisdiction in the MEASA region. The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance and today 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 programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.

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