With the 2022 FIFA World Cup now just a few months away, all eyes are on Qatar as it prepares to become the event’s first host in the Middle East. But there’s much more to this country than a prestigious football tournament – and indeed plenty more reasons to cast your eyes in its direction.
Qatar is one of the region’s most vibrant and fast-growing business hubs, with increasing numbers of international entrepreneurs setting up here. If you’d like to join them, this article will show you how, covering these key considerations:
- Why start your business in Qatar?
- Can foreigners start a company in Qatar?
- Types of company setup options in Qatar
- Steps to register a business in Qatar
- How much does it cost to start a business in Qatar?
- Why choose BIZ?
Why start your business in Qatar?
Qatar has long ranked among the richest countries in the world, with a GDP of almost USD 100,000 putting it behind only Luxembourg and Singapore. This translates to a vibrant economy, world-class infrastructure and incredible business facilities. And while the economy has traditionally been driven by oil and gas, it is taking great strides to become more diversified.
When you start your business in Qatar, you benefit from its zero tax rate on all personal income, profits, property and capital gains. The country also offers businesses an incredible trading location, with direct links via land, sea and air to the surrounding Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond.
Finally, Qatar is also famous for its high standard of living and quality of life. It currently ranks first in the Arab World Quality of Life Assessment Index and is the 26th best place to live for expats and 8th best for expat women, according to the InterNations Expat Insider Report 2022.
Can foreigners start a company in Qatar?
Absolutely. There are several ways for foreign entrepreneurs to start a business in Qatar, including wholly-owned and joint venture businesses, as detailed below.
While the Qatar company formation process is designed to be fast and straightforward, it’s always a good idea to work with a local expert if you are new to the region and its business practices. Business Incorporation Zone (BIZ) can help. We’ll manage your license and visa applications on your behalf to ensure a smooth and speedy process.
Types of company setup options in Qatar
When starting a business or relocating to Qatar, entrepreneurs are faced with several options, these include:
Wholly Foreign-Owned Company
As the name suggests, wholly foreign-owned companies can be owned 100% by foreign entrepreneurs. However, such companies are only permitted to trade in certain industries and must retrieve prior approval from the Ministry of Business and Trade.
Permitted industries for wholly foreign-owned companies include agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, education, tourism, leisure, entertainment, and consultancy.
Joint Venture Company
Foreigners wishing to open a business in an industry outside those permitted for a wholly foreign-owned company can instead start a joint venture. In this case, the foreign party holds a 49% stake in the company, with a Qatari individual or corporate entity holding the remaining 51%.
However, the majority stakeholder has no say in business decision-making, nor do they take a 51% share of profits. Instead, the local shareholder is paid an annual fee for their services. Once again, joint venture companies must seek approval to trade from the Ministry of Business and Trade.
Free Zone Company
Qatar is home to several free economic zones from which foreign-owned businesses can also trade. Free Zone Companies can be wholly foreign-owned and are also afforded several incentives such as customs tax exemption, eligibility for residency visas and access to funding.
However, paid-up share capital requirements are higher for this type of entity and anyone wishing to start one must first have a feasibility study approved by the Qatar authorities.
Foreign entrepreneurs also have the option to set up in Qatar on a freelance or self-employed basis. To do this, you must find paid work before travelling to the country. Once you have a short-term or casual contract in place with a local business or individual, you can apply to the Ministry of Labour for your permit to enter Qatar and start trading.
Steps to register a business in Qatar
The first step when starting a business in Qatar is to speak to the expert team at BIZ. We will take the time to get to know your business and its needs before guiding you through the following multi-step process.
Step 1: Trade name
The first administrative step is to choose and reserve your trade name. There are several considerations to keep in mind at this stage, and BIZ will guide you through them all.
Once you have made your choice, we will help you register your trade name with the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC).
Step 2: Articles of Association
Next, you will need to produce articles of association signed by all shareholders. This document must also detail all shareholder stakes in the business. Once complete, articles of association must be submitted to the Ministry of Justice.
Step 3: Commercial Registration
At this stage, your trade name and articles of association will be reviewed by the relevant ministerial departments depending on your company type and industry. Once approved, you will receive your Commercial Registration from the MEC.
Step 4: Business license
With your Commercial Registration in hand, you can now apply for your trade license. Once again, this application will need to be approved by the MEC. At the same time, you can make any applications for additional permits that may be required depending on the nature and location of your business.
How much does it cost to start a business in Qatar?
The cost of starting a business in Qatar costs in the region of USD 20,000 to USD 50,000. However, this does not include share capital requirements which can be much higher depending on your industry and the structure of your business.
As well as licensing and registration costs, you will also need to account for staffing, goods and materials, premises, visa costs, and more. For a full breakdown of the costs involved in starting your business in Qatar, speak to the experts at BIZ.
Why choose BIZ
Business Incorporation Zone is not just the expert in all things relating to business setup in Dubai. We can also help you start your business in Qatar and elsewhere throughout the Middle East.
Our international team combines regional knowledge with global expertise, so you’re always in safe hands, whether you’re launching a new startup or relocating to Qatar from another jurisdiction.
Whatever you need, we’re on hand to help – with everything from trade name registrations and license applications to office solutions, visas and plenty more. So, if you’re ready to do business in Qatar, get in touch to take the next step.