Apply now

The Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region is undergoing a transformation fuelled by the embrace of change and strong economic and demographic growth.

For banks, this presents enormous opportunities to expand existing businesses and develop new customers.

Expanding wealth, accelerating cross-border trade, growing investment and continued M&A activity reflect this opportunity. State-owned firms, publicly traded corporations and privately held companies are pursuing restructuring as part of this change.

As an international financial hub, DIFC offers the number-one location in the region to tap this dynamic environment. The city of Dubai sits at the heart of emerging markets that are demanding a full range of commercial and wholesale banking services.

The Centre hosts a growing roster of bank representative offices and branches, as well as new entities looking to provide services in areas such as commercial and wholesale banking, trade and export finance, project and infrastructure funding, treasury services and correspondent banking.

Banks in the Centre come from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, as well as the Middle East.

Banking is one of five areas within the Banks and Capital Markets focus at DIFC. The other areas include Private Banking, Investment Banking, Brokerage and Capital Markets.

Enquire about setting up
Advantages of setting up in DIFC

DIFC provides an established and tested legal and regulatory framework, while Dubai offers a safe, stable and cosmopolitan city that is fully connected to regional and global markets.


Globally recognised, independent regulator


Independent, UK Common Law judicial system


High concentration of international and regional players and financial institutions

Legal and Regulatory Framework

Although operating independently, the DIFC Authority, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA) serve a common goal: reinforcing DIFC’s principles of integrity, transparency and efficiency.

The DIFC Authority is responsible for the guiding strategy, ongoing development and overall public administration of DIFC. The DFSA is the globally recognised independent regulator of financial services conducted in or from DIFC. The DRA provides an English-language, commercial common law judicial system, as well as a dispute resolution platform, and other services to deliver legal excellence in the Middle East.

Register in Three Steps

Simple and straightforward licensing, registration and regulation, make setting up and operating in DIFC fast and efficient.

Apply now

Discuss your proposed banking operations with DFSA and DIFC service advisors


Submit application documents


Receive approvals for licenses, visas and consent notifications

Learn More

Download additional information about establishing banking operations in DIFC.

Enquire about setting up

For better web experience, please use the website in portrait mode