Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
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Business Stimulus Initiatives

Business Stimulus Initiative

DIFC has announced a new Business Stimulus Initiative designed to support DIFC community and prioritise the business needs of companies operating within the Centre. In line with Dubai Government’s economic stimulus programme announced earlier this month, the series of fiscal easing initiatives have been introduced for the upcoming three months, in response to the current global situation.

1. Deferred payment on all leases

Three months deferred on a 6 months payment plan. contract (Lease must be signed with DIFC Investments Ltd (for a DIFC Investments Ltd owned Assets), located in: The Gate Building, Gate District Building 2 to 5, Gate Village Buildings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11 or Gate Avenue.

To apply for rental deferment, please email your request to Leasing@difc.ae for Commercial Offices tenants.

2. Full waiver from annual licensing fees for new entities

New entity: The waiver will apply to all entities that submit the Application for Incorporation / Registration during the period from April 1st, 2020 – Up to June 30th, 2020.

3. 10% discount on renewal of license applicable on existing entities

Renewal: 10% discount of the total license renewal fee for all DIFC registered entities that are due for renewal between 1st of April 2020 to 30th of June 2020. The discount does not include Data Protection fees and DFSA fees (if applicable).

4. Reduction on fees for property registration from 5% to 4% for three months

This is applicable for all properties within DIFC jurisdiction. DIFC will apply a reduction on freehold transfer fee from 5% to 4% for any sale or purchase of property (or any part thereof) that took place within the three month period and the transfer is registered with the DIFC Registrar of Properties, at the latest, within 30 days after the expiry of the said three month period.

5. Free Movement of labour

DIFC doesn’t have any issues with free movement of employees in and out of the DIFC to other free zones, provided that the employers concerned have the necessary arrangements and contracts in place with their employees and a request to transfer the visa or issue a seconded access card is submitted to DIFC Government Services and adheres to DFSA’s requirements (where it applies).

6. Fintech Hive programme

Innovation is the key driver behind everything we do and we will make sure there is always room for innovative thinking. The DIFC fintech Hive will provide a business stimulus package that supports the existing tech & start-up community with major fee reductions on licenses, and deferments on lease agreements and also support innovators and entrepreneurs looking to join the community with waived fees on licenses.

  • 50% OFF renewal of existing licenses until 30th of June
  • 100% waived annual licensing fees for new clients until 30th of June
  • Deferment of lease until 30th of June

7. DFSA initiative

Business continuity is more important than ever, no matter the situation we face. Our regulatory authority, the Dubai Financial Services Authority, supports the DIFC community with waivers and discounts on application and registration fees, as well as making sure services can be availed of online so that business can keep going without disruption.

  • 50% off application fees for remainder of 2020
  • 100% waived of registration fees
  • Flexible requirements for permanent premises
  • Extended Time for application and authorisation process
  • Temporary relief from capital requirements

8. DIFC Courts initiative

The DIFC Courts are integral to our ecosystem. As a response to the current global situation, the DIFC Courts Stimulus package ensures that critical services are available remotely through virtual online platforms so that business can continue uninterrupted.

  • Remote hearings, online filings and e-bundling for Court of First Instance (CFI)
  • Remote hearings for Small Claims Tribunal (SCT)
  • Online services e-Registry filings and e-Bundling
  • Online pro bono enquiries
  • IT support
  • Will services virtual & video conferencing for registering wills

Business Stimulus FAQs


Waiver on Incorporation, Registration and licensing fees for new entities that are submitting the application for DIFC Registration / Incorporation from April 1st till 30th of June 2020:

Q: Who is eligible?

Any entity registering regardless of type

  • Retail
  • Financial
  • Non-Financial including Prescribed Companies.
  • Fintech Company
  • Regulated and non-regulated entity

Q: What are the terms for waiver?

  • Full waiver of the DIFC Registrar of Companies fees on Registration or Incorporation
  • Full waiver of the DIFC Registrar of Companies on Licensing fees
  • The waiver does not include DFSA fees where applicable.

Q: How long is the full waiver applicable for?

The waiver will apply to all entities that submit the Application for Incorporation / Registration during the period from April 1st, 2020 – Up to June 30th, 2020.

Q: I would like to register a private company in DIFC. How much should I pay given the waiver applies?

The waiver applies to the Licensing fee of USD 12,000 and the Incorporation fee of USD 8,000. Hence no payment required for the Registrar of Companies. However the entity will be required to pay to applicable fees for Data Protection, Registrar of Real Property in case of Lease Registration and DFSA (if applicable).


Reduced fees on License Renewal for existing entities

Q: Who is eligible?

All DIFC registered entities due to renew during the three months period - starting April 1st ,2020 – Up to June 30th, 2020

Q: How will the 10% discount apply to existing entities?

10% discount of the total license renewal fee for all DIFC registered entities that are due for renewal between 1st of April 2020 to 30th of June 2020. The discount does not include Data Protection fees and DFSA fees (if applicable).

For example, an existing private company that is due for renewal by 5th of April 2020 will only pay USD 10,800 instead of USD 12,000.

Q: Who can benefit?

All DIFC registered entities regardless of type:

  • Retail
  • Financial
  • Non-Financial including Prescribed Companies
  • Fintech Company
  • Regulated and non-regulated entity

Q: I am due to renew on July 15th, can I renew 1 month earlier to benefit from the discount?

Yes, you can benefit for this waiver as long as you make the payment before June 30th.

This is since we allow license renewal up to one month before the license expiry date.

Q: I was due to renew on March 15th, can I renew on April 1st and benefit from the discount?

Yes, you can benefit for this waiver as long as you make the payment before June 30th.

Yes, you can benefit for this waiver as long as you make the payment before June 30th.

Q: I have paid my registration and licensing fees but my entity is not fully registered yet. Can I get a refund of my licensing fees?

Yes. DIFC will arrange for a refund.

Q: When is the start date and end date of the waiver and discount?

The waiver starts from April 1st and ends by 30th of June 2020.

Q: How do you apply can we just make the payment with the discount for the license or will we be required to register, same goes for the lease.

The discount should apply automatically, in case you are unable to see the discount then please inform us.

Q: Does the 10% discount on license renewal also include for Confirmation Statement, establishment card, etc.?

No, it doesn’t include confirmation statement or establishment card. The fees remain the same for confirmation statement and establishment card.


Deferred payments in all commercial leases:

Q: What does it mean for my contract?

You can defer the payments due for your commercial leases rent up to 6 months for any commercial leases signed with DIFC Investments Ltd, for DIFC owned assets only located in:

  • The Gate Building
  • Gate District Building 2 to 5
  • Gate Village Buildings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11
  • Gate Avenue

Q: Are retailers allowed to defer the payment too?

Yes, you can defer the rent payments up to 6 months for any leases signed with DIFC I for DIFC owned assets only located in:

  • The Gate Building
  • Gate District Building 2 to 5
  • Gate Village Buildings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11
  • Gate Avenue

Q: I have paid my rent upfront before 1 April for a period extending after this date, I am eligible for refund?

The aim is not to refund tenants for payments already made but rather to assist tenants of DIFC owned premises who still need to make payment for rents due during the three month period starting April 1st. These tenants may request DIFC for a deferral of payment of their rental during this period, provided that they agree to a payment period not exceeding six months in respect of such deferred rental payments.

Q: Does the stimulus update apply for residential areas?

No. DIFC Investments LTD doesn’t own any residential units in DIFC.


Reduction on fees for property registration from 5% to 4% for three months
This is applicable for all properties within DIFC jurisdiction.

Q: When the discounted freehold in transfer fee effective and till when?

The 4% will apply from 1st of April 2020 to 30th of June 2020

Q: How does it apply?

DIFC will apply a reduction on freehold transfer fee from 5% to 4% for any sale or purchase of property (or any part thereof) that took place within the three month period and the transfer is registered with the DIFC Registrar of Properties, at the latest, within 30 days after the expiry of the said three month period.

Q: Do we still have to pay the personal Sponsorship agreement fee?

Yes

Q: Can we get a refund on personal Sponsorship agreement fee?

No

Q: Can I get my security deposits for rent refunded?

Not for an active lease.

Q: What do you mean with free Movement of Labour?

DIFC doesn’t have any issues with free movement of employees in and out of the DIFC to other free zones, provided that the employers concerned have the necessary arrangements and contracts in place with their employees and a request to transfer the visa or issue a seconded access card is submitted to DIFC Government Services and adheres to DFSA’s requirements (where it applies).


Waiver of base rent for existing retailers for three months from 1st April to till 30th of June, 2020:

Q: Who is eligible?

  • Existing retail tenants with a valid lease agreement (F&B, fashion, accessories, medical, nursery, travel agency, printing, grocery, etc) and kiosk operators within DIFC retail owned premises.
  • DIFC retail owned premises are:
    • The Gate Building
    • Gate District Building 2 to 5
    • Gate Village Buildings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11
    • Gate Avenue
    • Communal areas in Gate Village and District

Q: How long is the waiver applicable for?

Three months. The waiver will apply during the period from April 1st up to June 30th, 2020.

Q: My retail lease expires during the waiver period. Do I qualify?

Retail tenants with leases expiring in April, May and June will need to renew their leases before expiry to benefit from the rent waiver.

Q: What is the wider range of benefits that retailers can benefit from?

In addition to having their base rent waived in April, May and June 2020, highlights for retailers also include:

  • Receive a 10% reduction in commercial licensing fees for renewals due between 1 April and 30 June 2020
  • Full waiver from commercial licensing fees for new entities completing business registration during the period from 1 April and 30 June 2020

Q: We are on a rent free period / Free Fitout Period, will the rent waiver apply to us?

No, because you are already receiving a free rent period. A rent waiver has been extended to all retailers between 1 April and 30 June 2020.

Q: Will the waiver include the service charge?

The service charge is still payable.

Q: We are leasing a retail unit in DIFC and also leasing a storage unit, will the storage unit be included in the rent waiver?

The rent waiver will only apply to the retail unit, storage lease is excluded from the waiver.


If I have a question, who can I ask?

1. Office rent: Commercial leasing: Send request to leasing team Leasing@difc.ae , for retail tenants: Send request to Retail@difc.ae

2. DIFC Business Centre: Send request to BC team Businesscentre@difc.ae

3. RoC fees: Send request to ROC Helpdesk roc.helpdesk@difc.ae

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