Close this search box.
> > Simplified Banking in GIFT IFSC for Foreign Companies
28 May 2024

Setting Up a Company or Business in GIFT CITY – Registration, Process, Eligibility

28 May 2024
Setting Up a Company or Business in GIFT CITY - Registration, Process, Eligibility

Introduction to GIFT City as a Global Business Hub

In the era of globalization, where international finance and business connectivity play pivotal roles, the need for a well-structured, business-friendly environment is more crucial than ever. Positioned at the heart of Gujarat, India, the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) stands out as an exemplary destination for businesses aiming to leverage India’s burgeoning potential in the financial markets. As an integrated development designed to encourage and facilitate both domestic and international business operations, GIFT City serves as a gateway to opportunities in the realms of technology, finance, and global trade.


Understanding GIFT City

What is GIFT City?

GIFT City, formally known as Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, represents a colossal stride towards establishing a global financial and IT services hub in India. Conceived as a ‘Smart City,’ GIFT provides world-class infrastructure, facilities, and regulatory regimes tailored to boost the efficiency and competitiveness of businesses.

The Strategic Importance of GIFT City for Businesses

GIFT City is strategically positioned to serve the growing demands of India’s financial services market on a global scale. By facilitating operations that span across time zones and bridging the infrastructural divide, GIFT City offers an unmatched blend of technological and regulatory amenities that propel businesses forward. Its significance is further amplified by its designation as the only Multi-services Special Economic Zone (SEZ), offering a plethora of fiscal incentives, including tax exemptions and business-friendly regulations, making it an attractive hub for financial services, IT, and ITeS companies.


Eligibility Criteria for Setting Up a Business in GIFT City

Understanding who can set up a business in GIFT City and the specific compliance requirements is essential for domestic and international entities looking to establish operations in this jurisdiction. Here’s a detailed look at the eligibility criteria:

Types of Businesses Eligible for GIFT City

GIFT City caters to a broad range of business sectors, primarily servicing the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector. Below is a detailed list of permissible business types and activities:

  1. Banking and Financial Services:
    • Commercial Banking
    • Investment Banking
    • Asset Management
    • Insurance and Reinsurance Services
  2. Capital Markets:
    • Trading (Equities, Derivatives)
    • Broking Services
    • Clearing and Settlement Services
  3. IT and ITeS:
    • Software Development
    • Data Processing
    • KPO and BPO Services
  4. Professional Services:
    • Legal, Accounting, and Auditing Services
    • Consultancy Services
  5. Support Services:
    • Human Resources
    • Training and Education
  6. Specialized Services:
    • Aircraft Leasing
    • Ship Leasing
    • Commodity Trading

These businesses benefit from GIFT City’s modern infrastructure, regulatory incentives, and status as an SEZ, making it a strategic location for both financial services and global trade operations.

Criteria for International and Domestic Companies

Both international and domestic companies must meet specific criteria to operate in GIFT City, focusing on compliance, operational readiness, and financial stability.

  1. Regulatory Compliance:
    • Companies must comply with the regulations set by the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).
    • Adherence to the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) rules and regulations is mandatory.
  2. Operational Compliance:
    • Entities are required to maintain specific net worth, financial ratios and meet capital adequacy requirements as per IFSCA guidelines.
    • Regular reporting and disclosure to IFSCA are required to ensure transparency and compliance with financial regulations.
  3. Financial and Operational Readiness:
    • Entities must demonstrate the capacity for sustainable operations, which includes having a sound financial base and a robust business plan.
    • Must have the organizational structure in place to commence operations immediately upon setup.
  4. Specific Compliances for Banking and Insurance Sectors:
    • Banking units must adhere to norms related to exposure ceilings, reserve requirements, and prudential norms as specified by IFSCA.
    • Insurance entities must comply with IFSCA guidelines, focusing on solvency margins and operational mandates.


Step-by-Step Registration Process for Setting Up a Business in GIFT City

Navigating the registration process in GIFT City involves several critical steps. Here’s a concise yet comprehensive breakdown to ensure clarity and efficiency in setting up your business operations.

Step 1: Identifying Office Space

Choosing the right office space within GIFT City is pivotal as it serves as your business’s operational base. Here’s how to approach this:

  • How to Choose the Right Location: Consider factors like proximity to transport links, the nature of your business, infrastructure compatibility, and future expansion possibilities. GIFT City offers a variety of zones tailored for different types of businesses which can significantly benefit operational logistics.
  • Legal Agreements with Developers: Once a suitable space is identified, engage in negotiating lease terms or purchase agreements. Legal considerations include lease duration, renewal terms, and any clauses specific to business operations in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) like GIFT City.

Step 2: Provisional Letter of Allotment (PLOA)

The PLOA is a crucial document in the setup process, marking the reservation of your chosen space.

  • Importance of the PLOA: This document confirms the allocation of office space and is essential for the next steps in the registration and setup process.
  • Process to Obtain the PLOA: After agreeing on terms with the developer, apply for the PLOA through the developer. 

Step 3: Application Submission to IFSCA (Administrator)

To move forward, the entity must submit FORM FA to the IFSCA (Administrator), detailing the business and its operations.

  • Documents Required for FORM FA Submission: Includes the demand draft of fees, PLOA, detailed project report, entity ID documents like PAN Card, Certificate of Incorporation, financial statements, and more.
  • Detailed List of Necessary Annexures and Certifications: This includes the Memorandum of Association, Articles of Association, Board Resolutions, Identity Proofs of Directors, and compliance affidavits.

Step 4: Approval Processes

This stage involves regulatory approvals before you can start operations.

  • Introduction to the Unit Approval Committee (UAC): The UAC evaluates your application and business plan. Prepare to present your case to the UAC, detailing how your business fits into GIFT City’s ecosystem.
  • Obtaining the Letter of Permission / Approval (LOA): Upon satisfactory review by the UAC, the IFSCA (Administrator) will issue an LOA, which is the formal authorization to commence your business operations in GIFT City.

Step 5: Legal Formalities and Registrations

Post-approval, there are several legal formalities to complete.

  • Execution of Lease Deed: Finalize your lease agreement with the developer and submit this deed to the authorities.
  • SEZ License and NSDL Portal Registration: Obtain your SEZ license and register on the NSDL portal for seamless operation and compliance reporting.

Step 6: Compliance and Legal Undertakings

Ensure compliance with all legal requirements to operate smoothly.

  • Bond Cum Legal Undertaking Requirements: Prepare and sign the Bond Cum Legal Undertaking with the IFSCA (Administrator).
  • Registration Certificates and Tax Exemption Eligibility: Apply for necessary registrations such as GST and obtain certificates for tax exemptions applicable within GIFT City.

Step 7: Final Registration with IFSCA

The last step involves getting the final nod from the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).

  • Necessary Documentation and Fees: Submit all required documents and the applicable fees to IFSCA.
  • Achieving the Certificate of Registration from IFSCA: Once all documents and fees are submitted, and the review is complete, IFSCA will issue a Certificate of Registration, allowing you to commence business operations.

Commencing Business Operations in GIFT City

Steps to Commence Business After Registration:

  1. Operational Setup: Once your company is registered, the next step is to establish your office in GIFT City. This involves setting up the necessary infrastructure such as IT systems and office equipment to ensure your business operations can begin smoothly.
  2. Staffing: Recruiting a skilled workforce is essential. GIFT City offers access to a vast talent pool, thanks to its strategic location and emphasis on financial and tech industries. Ensuring that your team is well-versed in compliance and operational procedures specific to GIFT City will be crucial.
  3. Obtain GIFT SEZ ID Cards: File an application with the Customs office for issuance of ID Cards for your employees which is a mandatory requirement for entering the SEZ area.
  4. Final Compliance Checks: Before you start operating, it’s important to complete all compliance checks. This includes obtaining final approvals from GIFT City authorities and ensuring all legal and regulatory guidelines are met.

Mandatory Reporting and Operational Compliance:

  • Regular Reporting: Businesses must adhere to strict reporting guidelines, which include submitting regular financial, operational, and compliance reports to both GIFT City authorities and the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).
  • Compliance with SEZ Regulations: Continuously monitor and comply with the regulations specific to Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which cover aspects like customs, tax, and labor laws.
  • Environmental and Safety Standards: Maintaining high standards of safety and environmental compliance is crucial. GIFT City promotes sustainability and expects all businesses to adhere to these principles to ensure a safe and sustainable working environment.


Adhering to the detailed guide for setting up and commencing operations in GIFT City is crucial for leveraging the full spectrum of benefits offered by this premier business hub. This guide ensures that businesses align with regulatory requirements and capitalize efficiently on the strategic advantages of GIFT City.

Benefits of Setting Up a Business in GIFT City

1. Strategic Location: Positioned at the crossroads of global trade routes, GIFT City offers strategic access to international and Indian markets.

2. Advanced Infrastructure: State-of-the-art infrastructure supports high-tech industries and financial services, providing a robust foundation for business operations.

3. Regulatory Advantages: The regulatory environment in GIFT City is designed to be business-friendly, offering ease of doing business, financial incentives, and a simplified tax regime, including:

  • 100% tax exemption for 10 consecutive years out of 15 years for units in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
  • No Goods and Service Tax (GST) on services received by units in IFSC.
  • Reduced Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT) for companies in IFSC.
  • Favorable tax treatment for dividends, interest income, and capital gains for companies and investors operating within GIFT City.

4. Access to Talent: Proximity to major academic and business centers in India ensures access to a skilled workforce.

5. Global Connectivity: With its modern facilities and services, GIFT City serves as a gateway for businesses to engage with the global market.

Following this comprehensive setup and operational guide will help businesses thrive in GIFT City, turning strategic positioning into tangible success and growth. By capitalizing on the conducive business environment, companies can drive innovation, attract investment, and achieve a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

For more detailed information, visit GIFT City Business Operations and About GIFT City.



FAQs around Setting Up Business in GIFT City

1. What is GIFT City and why is it attractive for businesses?

GIFT City, or Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, is a planned financial and IT hub in India. It offers businesses a world-class infrastructure, business-friendly regulations, and tax exemptions, making it an attractive location for companies in banking, finance, insurance, IT, and ITeS sectors.

2. Who can set up a business in GIFT City?

Both international and domestic companies can set up businesses in GIFT City. They must comply with regulations set by IFSCA (International Financial Services Centres Authority) and meet specific criteria like having a sound financial base and a robust business plan.

3. What are the steps involved in setting up a business in GIFT City?

The process involves securing office space, obtaining a Provisional Letter of Allotment (PLOA), submitting applications to IFSCA, obtaining approvals, completing legal formalities, registering with IFSCA, and finally commencing business operations.

4. What are the benefits of setting up a business in GIFT City?

GIFT City offers several benefits, including a strategic location, advanced infrastructure, regulatory advantages (tax exemptions, ease of doing business), access to a skilled workforce, and global connectivity.

5. What are the tax benefits of setting up a business in GIFT City?

Businesses in GIFT City can enjoy benefits like 100% tax exemption for 10 years, reduced Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT), and exemption from Goods and Service Tax (GST) on services received.

6. What are the regulatory requirements for operating in GIFT City?

Companies must comply with regulations set by IFSCA, including maintaining specific net worth and financial ratios, submitting regular reports, and adhering to Special Economic Zone (SEZ) rules.

7. How can I find more information about setting up a business in GIFT City?

You can visit the official GIFT City website for detailed information on business operations, regulations, and contact details.

8. What type of businesses are allowed in GIFT City?

GIFT City caters primarily to the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector. This includes banking, investment banking, asset management, insurance, reinsurance, capital markets activities (trading, broking, clearing & settlement), IT & ITeS (software development, data processing, KPO & BPO services), professional services (legal, accounting, consulting), and support services (HR, training).

9. How to open a company in GIFT City?

Opening a company in GIFT City involves several steps:

  • Identify your business type: Ensure your business activity falls under the permissible categories in GIFT City.
  • Choose office space: Consider factors like location, infrastructure, and compliance with SEZ regulations.
  • Obtain a Provisional Letter of Allotment (PLOA): Finalize lease agreements with the developer and secure the PLOA for your chosen space.
  • Apply for IFSCA registration: Submit the required documents (Form FA) with IFSCA, including your business plan and financial details.
  • Secure approvals: The Unit Approval Committee (UAC) will review your application. Upon approval, you’ll receive a Letter of Permission (LOA).
  • Complete legal formalities: Finalize lease deeds, obtain SEZ licenses, register on the NSDL portal, and comply with legal undertakings.
  • Register with IFSCA: Submit final documents and fees to obtain your Certificate of Registration, authorizing business operations.


The content of this article is for information purpose only and does not constitute advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It is based upon relevant law and/or facts available at that point of time and prepared with due accuracy & reliability. Readers are requested to check and refer to relevant provisions of statute, latest judicial pronouncements, circulars, clarifications etc. before acting on the basis of the above write up. The possibility of other views on the subject matter cannot be ruled out. By the use of the said information, you agree that the Author / Treelife is not responsible or liable in any manner for the authenticity, accuracy, completeness, errors or any kind of omissions in this piece of information for any action taken thereof.

Want to know more?

Related Posts