Set Up Your Company in Saudi Arabia: A Comprehensive Guide

Company in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, known for its rich cultural heritage, booming economy, and strategic location, has become an increasingly attractive destination for businesses looking to expand into the Middle East. With its Vision 2030 initiative, the Kingdom is actively promoting foreign investment and business development. If you’re considering establishing your company in Saudi Arabia, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps and requirements.

  1. Understand the Market and Choose the Right Business Structure

Before diving into the formalities, it’s crucial to understand the Saudi market and identify the right business structure for your company. Common business structures in Saudi Arabia include sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), joint-stock companies, and foreign branch offices. Each structure has its own legal, financial, and operational implications, requiring careful consideration to ensure compliance and business success.

Limited Liability Company (LLC): Suitable for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Requires a Saudi partner holding at least 51% of the shares.

Joint Stock Company (JSC): Ideal for larger businesses. Listed companies must have at least 30% of their shares publicly traded.

Branch Office: For foreign companies looking to establish a presence in Saudi Arabia without setting up a separate legal entity.

  1. Obtain a Commercial Registration (CR)

The Commercial Registration (CR), also known as a business license, is a mandatory requirement for all businesses operating in Saudi Arabia. Here’s how to obtain it:

 

Requirements:

Completed application form.

Copy of the company’s articles of association.

Copy of the company’s lease agreement.

Copy of the company’s bank certificate.

Approval from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) for foreign investors.

Procedure:

Submit the required documents to the Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MOCI).

Pay the necessary fees.

Receive the CR, which is valid for one year and renewable annually.

 

  1. Register with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA)

Foreign investors must secure approval from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) prior to establishing a business in Saudi Arabia. To obtain SAGIA approval, foreign investors are required to submit a completed application form, a detailed business plan outlining the company’s activities and financial projections, a copy of the company’s articles of association, and a copy of the company’s Commercial Registration (CR) to SAGIA. After submitting the necessary documents and paying the required fees, foreign investors will receive SAGIA approval, which is typically valid for five years and can be renewed.

Requirements:

Completed SAGIA application form.

Business plan detailing the company’s activities and financial projections.

Copy of the company’s articles of association.

Copy of the company’s CR.

Copy of the company’s lease agreement.

Procedure:

Submit the required documents to SAGIA.

Pay the necessary fees.

Obtain SAGIA approval, which is usually valid for five years and renewable.

  1. Open a Corporate Bank Account

Once you have obtained your Commercial Registration (CR) and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) approval, the next crucial step is to open a corporate bank account in Saudi Arabia. To do so, you will need to choose a reputable bank, submit the required documents including CR, SAGIA approval, and company’s articles of association, and complete the account opening process by fulfilling the bank’s initial deposit requirements.

Requirements:

Copy of the company’s CR.

Copy of the company’s articles of association.

Copy of the company’s SAGIA approval.

Passport copies of the company’s authorized signatories.

Initial deposit as per the bank’s requirements.

Procedure:

Choose a reputable bank in Saudi Arabia.

Submit the required documents.

Complete the account opening process.

  1. Register for VAT and Obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN)

Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced in Saudi Arabia in 2018. All businesses with an annual turnover exceeding SAR 375,000 must register for VAT and obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN).

Procedure:

Register for VAT online through the General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) portal.

Submit the required documents, including CR, SAGIA approval, and bank details.

Receive your VAT registration certificate and TIN.

  1. Hire Local Talent and Sponsor Work Visas

One of the critical aspects of setting up and operating a business in Saudi Arabia is hiring local talent and ensuring compliance with the Kingdom’s labor regulations. Employing Saudi nationals not only fosters economic growth and contributes to the local community but is also a legal requirement for foreign businesses operating in the country. Below is a detailed guide on how to hire local talent and sponsor their work visas:

Requirements:

Valid CR and SAGIA approval.

Employment contracts.

Passport copies of foreign employees.

Medical insurance for employees.

Procedure:

Apply for work visas through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

Obtain residency permits (Iqama) for foreign employees. If you need details about business visa Saudi Arabia, you can contact us. 

  1. Comply with Labour Laws and Regulations

Saudi Arabia has stringent labor laws and regulations in place to safeguard the rights of employees and ensure fair working conditions. Businesses operating in the Kingdom must adhere to these regulations, which include a standard working week of 48 hours with a maximum of 8 hours per day, compliance with minimum wage requirements, and provision of mandatory benefits such as annual leave, sick leave, and end-of-service gratuity. Additionally, employers are required to maintain a safe and healthy working environment, adhering to health and safety regulations and implementing necessary safety measures to prevent workplace accidents and injuries. Compliance with these labor laws is essential for businesses to maintain a harmonious and productive work environment and to avoid legal repercussions.

Working Hours: The standard working week is 48 hours, with a maximum of 8 hours per day.

Wages and Benefits: Employers must adhere to minimum wage requirements and provide mandatory benefits such as annual leave, sick leave, and end-of-service gratuity.

Health and Safety: Employers must ensure a safe working environment and comply with health and safety regulations.

Conclusion

Setting up a company in Saudi Arabia can be a complex process, but with careful planning and adherence to the regulations and requirements outlined above, you can navigate the process smoothly. Remember to seek professional advice from legal and financial experts familiar with the Saudi business environment to ensure compliance and success.

Embrace the opportunities that Saudi Arabia has to offer and embark on your entrepreneurial journey in this dynamic and rapidly growing market!

zyairadan

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