UAE Forex License (DIFC / ADGM / DMCC)

UAE Forex License gained significant ground in the last few years, positioning the region directly and indirectly as a gateway to the Middle East.  Being among the first to establish infrastructure to support a regulated environment, its options are diverse and cater to any type of investor.

With three routes to choose from Mainland, Free Zones and DMCC registration, the possibilities are endless. Major differences between the options, allow any potential investor to explore the possibilities the region has to offer, although it could “break the bank” therefore its not for the faint at heart.

Below you will find information about the major differences between the UAE forex license options. You will also be able to differentiate between options-within-options since there are over 40 free zones, with their own requirements to setup a business. We will focus on the 2 free zones that distinguish themselves as regulatory bodies for investment firms.

UAE Forex License


Economy of the UAE
Main indicators
GDP$415.02 billion
Inflation rate3.27%
External Debt€167650 million
Interest Rate5.15%
Gold Reserves74.98 tonnes
Corporate Tax Rate0%
Population10 million
Per capita incomeas of 2021 - $42,535.97
Unemployment Rate3.9%
Corruption Rank27 of 180

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UAE Forex (DIFC /ADGM) License
Case in point
Average Cost for license
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Office requirements

Employees required


Capital Requirements
Regular reporting

Publicly Recorded Info
UAE Forex License
How to start a forex brokerage

UAE Forex License (DIFC / ADGM)

How to apply?

For a UAE Forex License there are three options to choose from with big differences between them:

1. Mainland | General information:

  • Requires 51% local ownership
  • Corporate Tax of 9%
  • Very costly both for setup and capital requirements
  • Complex application process

2. Free Zones | Three options with 100% ownership and 0% corporate tax:

ADGM – Abu Dhabi Global Market – Established by the UAE Federal Decree with three independent authorities:

  • The Registration Authority (RA)
  • The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) – the Regulatory Body
  • The ADGM Courts

DIFC – Dubai International Financial Center

  • Regulating Body – DFSA / Dubai Financial Services Authority

3. DMCC – Dubai Multi Commodities Center

  • For Financial Services companies, DMCC allows registration for establishing a branch / representative office but NOT for client solicitation.

Simplified application process for a UAE forex license:

  • Step 1 – Submit a letter of intend
  • Step 2 – Prepare and submit license application
  • Step 3 – Respond to the initial review letter
  • Step 3 – In Principle letter (Conditional approval)
  • Step 4 – Finalize additional requirements requested, set up banking and capital requirements
  • Step 5 – Final approval – Commence operations
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