Dubai International Financial Centre
This enhanced Special Economic Zone has become one of the world’s leading and most advanced financial hubs in less than two decades.
How to Move in
The DIFC is a small 110-hectare independent jurisdiction with its own civil, corporate, commercial, and security laws. The judicial system is based on a common-law framework and judges are selected from leading common law countries. The jurisdiction features an independent Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC).
The DIFC boasts a wide array of business-friendly regulations. From the date of incorporation, businesses carry a 50-year guarantee of zero taxes on corporate income and profits. The DIFC allows 100% foreign ownership without the need for a local partner and features an international stock exchange (Nasdaq Dubai).
The DIFC is a Financial Free Zone defined in UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 2004 as an independent jurisdiction within the UAE. As such, the DIFC is empowered to create its own legal and regulatory framework for all civil and commercial matters.
The DIFC is managed by the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, which is operated much like a for-profit entity by a CEO.
Within 15 years of its establishment, Dubai has risen up the ranks of the Global Financial Centres Index to the 8th position. The number of registered companies in DIFC has grown by 14% each year between 2007 and 2020, and the number of active companies has increased by 25% in one year to 3644 at the end of 2021. The total market value of DIFC activities surpassed $700 billion in 2019.
The zone has become the premier financial hub in the Middle East and is estimated to house over 20,000 residents.
How to Move in
Dubai offers a variety of residency options for foreigners. A work visa is available for both employees with sponsors and for self-employed entrepreneurs. Dubai also allows residency by investment, either in a local company or real estate.
Additional residency options are available for scientists and professionals, individuals of “exceptional talents”, high-performing graduates, and humanitarian workers. In 2021, Dubai also started offering digital nomad visas for remote workers.
Check official sources for a full list of options and further details.
Free City Functional Elements
Business and Commercial Autonomy
Financial and Social Autonomy
Property Rights Autonomy
Criminal Justice Autonomy
Internal Affairs Autonomy
The DIFC is open for business.