Incorporation • Jurisdiction

Dubai International Financial Center  (DIFC)

The leading global financial center in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

Logos, images and registered trademarks are property of DIFC.
Why choose DIFC? 

The DIFC is ranked in the top 10 global financial centers and stands as a premier business and lifestyle destination

Tax friendly
foreign ownership
Common law


Learn why business owners are increasingly choosing DIFC

Trusted by leading companies, investors and lawyers around the world
Types of licenses

DIFC licenses

Prescribed company

 A prescribed company is a flexible corporate vehicle that can be used as a holding company from anywhere in the world if certain requirements are met.


Innovation license 

The DIFC Innovation licence is a highly subsidised license available to innovative technology companies that are focused on developing or testing new, novel or innovating products and services. Eligible applicants will demonstrate that their company promotes innovation, can scale and can be deployed in the UAE.  



DIFC Foundations have rapidly become one of the preferred structures for wealth structuring and legacy planning in the GCC. Like a company, a foundation has independent legal personality and can therefore hold assets, real estate and enter contracts.  
Unlike a trust, the founder can retain significant control through the customisation of the charter and by-laws which govern the foundation. 

From prescribed companies to innovation licenses and foundations, Clara’s got you covered in the DIFC.


Benefits of a DIFC prescribed company 

Before you get started with incorporating your DIFC on the Clara platform, learn more about the benefits.


Ease of incorporation & administration

There is no need for the physical presence of the founders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at any time during the lifetime of a DIFC prescribed company. The incorporation application, renewal process and any ongoing filings are prepared and submitted digitally, and electronic signatures are accepted. The ongoing annual obligations are minimal with most companies below the threshold for requiring audited accounts. These factors represent significant cost savings and remove barriers to entry for founders.  

Flexible ownership structures 

The DIFC prescribed company gives founders ultimate flexibility within the structure of a common law framework. Founders have the option to set the share capital as low or as high as they wish without any cost implication and there are no restrictions on the number of shareholders that can be added. Model Articles of Association can be used at the time of incorporation and subsequently amended to include multiple classes of shares (voting, non-voting, preferred) allowing for shares with different voting, dividend and distribution rights.

Cost savings

Founders of a DIFC prescribed company benefit from significant cost saving by using the registered office address of a corporate service provider, rather than having to rent physical office space. Passports can be digitally certified on the DIFC platform at no cost to founders. Licensing fees are cheaper than most options in the region and post-incorporation filings carry minimal or no regulator fees.

Attractiveness for investment 

DIFC is perfectly situated in the time zone intersection between the leading financial centres of London and New York in the west and Hong Kong and Singapore in the East. With supportive infrastructure and its common law framework, DIFC is a strong launchpad for founders to access capital from angel investors and VCs across the globe. DIFC prescribed companies have the flexibility to issue convertibles such as SAFEs and convertible notes. DIFC recognises and enforces important investor and governance rights. 

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Resources & Insights

Stories, updates and resources


Starting a company is hard enough, but managing legal processes shouldn’t be. With Clara’s dedicated accelerator onboarding solution, companies can get the support and infrastructure they need to efficiently and professionally complete their legal due diligence and finalize an investment.

amal-dokhan Amal Dokhan General Partner MENA, 500 Global

Clara is a one-stop shop for everything equity related. All our data is safe and securely stored and accurately recorded. And our investors love having direct access. It has saved us countless hours and kept our cap table mistake free.

jessica-anuna Jessica Anuna CEO & Founder, Klasha

We spend a lot of time educating founders on basic legal concepts: what they need to do for us to invest in them. Clara automates these functions. As Clara’s first institutional investor, we knew intuitively from inception, this company will be a game changer.

vijay-tirathrai Vijay Tirathrai Managing Director, Techstars

You can’t beat Clara’s ESOP functionality. It allows us to grant options to our team in a few clicks while automatically updating our cap table. Truly next level.

michael-hunter Michael Hunter Co-Founder & CEO, Holo

Founders often struggle with managing their legal function due to lack of expertise and resources. And we’ve seen poor legal structures create hurdles to our investing in otherwise healthy startups. Investors like ourselves love that Clara gives founders the tools they need to establish, grow and scale their startups from day one on a best-practice basis.

shane-shin Shane Shin Founding Partner, Shorooq

US cap table solutions aren’t tailored to the differentiated needs of international startups. Clara is the only cap table provider we found that had emerging market startups in mind. Add to that all the other things you can do on the Clara platform, from building your ESOP to data room management, and switching was a no brainer.

omar-rifai Omar Rifai Co-founder, GrubTech

From company formation to maintaining the cap-table, by using Clara founders can digitally form their companies in a range of jurisdictions, create and manage their cap-tables and generate legal documents. Clara is quickly becoming an integral part of the startup software stack.

daniel-dos-reis Daniel Dos Reis Investment Director, Wamda Capital

Clara is a must-have for founders. Not only does it provide all the legal tools you need in a single platform, using Clara also signals to investors that you are a serious startup.

Mazen AlDarrab Founder & CGO, Zid

IP Assignments, what? I didn’t even know they existed before Clara. For startups, setting up governance, corporate structures, data rooms and fundraising are all hard to get right. Clara’s legalOS is premium. It pays for itself.

zohare-haider Zohare Haider Co-Founder & CEO, Jalebi

Binance uses Clara to incorporate and manage ADGM entities. The team at Clara are extremely efficient and go the extra mile to ensure we always have a smooth experience and meet our deadlines. Top-notch service!

Vishal Sacheendran Head of Strategy and Operations, Binance


Equity owners

Trusted by more than 10,000 equity owners.



Our customers operate from more than 45 different countries.


Savings on fees

Our customers on average save more than 80% on their annual legal and admin fees.


Frequently asked questions

We have put together some commonly asked questions 

Am I eligible to set up a DIFC Prescribed Company?

To incorporate a DIFC Prescribed Company, you must be a Qualifying Applicant: where the DIFC Prescribed Company will be controlled by one or more Qualifying Applications; or have a Qualifying Purpose: where the DIFC Prescribed Company is established and continued for a Qualifying Purpose. 

Am I eligible to set up a DIFC Innovation Licence?

The DIFC Innovation Licence is offered to a wide ecosystem of technology enablers, catering to technology/innovation firms interested in developing or testing new, novel or innovative products. To be eligible to set up a DIFC Innovation Licence, you must be able to: 

  • demonstrate the proposed entity promotes innovation, has the potential to scale and can be deployed in the UAE, and 

 While you do not require a UAE Resident or GCC National with an Emirates ID Card for the purpose of the company formation, depending on the bank you wish to use, your company may need to appoint a signatory in the UAE to open a bank account. 

How long does it take to set up a DIFC prescribed company?

The incorporation process with DIFC involves two main stages:
1. In-Principle Approval: You will be required to provide background on the purpose of the entity being established, including a clear description of the ownership structure and the UBO’s background. This stage can take approximately 7-10 business days from submission; 

2. Registration of the Entity: Once In-Principle Approval has been given and post receipt of our compliance approval, signed engagement letter and payment we will initiate the registration process with DIFC – the incorporation resolutions and ancillary documents will be prepared and signed. This stage can take approximately 3 – 5 business days from submission.

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