DIFC Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Four new licensing categories have been introduced by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) — which now include those under “short-term” and “restricted” types — to further improve the ease of doing business in Dubai.

Under the short-term category, retail businesses and other non-financial sector entities will be able to operate their businesses from within the DIFC cluster with flexible rates over shorter time frames.

This includes a registration fee of $100 (Dh367) and a licence fee ranging from $300 to US$5,100 depending on the duration.

Restricted licences have been introduced for those firms interested in developing or testing new or innovative products and services in DIFC.

Entities obtaining this licence can tap a reduced registration fee of $100 and annual licence fees ranging from $1,000 to $4,000, and access to the DIFC ecosystem that includes incubator and accelerator programmes.

The new licensing reforms come as part of the recently unveiled “Operating Law and Regulations” framework at DIFC.

Of the other two categories introduced, “commercial permissions” 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 DIFC at special rates.

Fees range from $100 to $2,000, depending on the nature of activity and duration.

And dual licensing will allow Dubai’s Department of Economic Development licensed non-financial and non-retail firms with an affiliate in the DIFC to operate from the financial services free zone. This includes law and audit firms, consultancy firms, family businesses, holding companies and corporate service providers, who will benefit from an annual fee of $1,000.

“The new licences and fees 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,” said Khalid Al Zarouni, Senior Vice-President and Registrar of Companies at DIFC Authority. “Not only do these changes strengthen our position in international markets, but they also support Dubai’s vision to be the number one city for ease of doing business by 2021.”