Qatar possesses many benefits such as a stable political and economic environment, high-quality infrastructure, and one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world. Hence, it is ideal setting up a company in Qatar. In this article, our team at Tetra Consultants has highlighted 8 steps on how to start a business in Qatar before you register company in Qatar.
Step 1: Choosing a suitable corporate entity
After accessing your business goals and activities, you can choose the most suitable corporate entity for your business.
- The most popular incorporation among foreign investors would be the limited liability company (LLC). It consists of at least 2 shareholders to up to 50 shareholders. At least one of the shareholders is required to be a resident of Qatar. Since it is a separate entity, shareholders are not liable for the debts and obligations incurred by the business. It is required to maintain a 51%-49% relationship where the foreign partners have the flexibility to own 49% of the entire shareholding whereas the remaining 51% needs to be held by shareholders who are residents of Qatar.
- There is a minimum share capital of QR 2,00,000 required.
- It is required to have a registered office.
Step 2: Registration of trade name
You will have to register the name of the company through the Public Register in the Qatar Financial Centre Companies registration office. If the desired name does not have a meaning in Arabic, an extra QAR 1,000 will be incurred.
Step 3: Preparation of Articles of Association
Articles of Association is a document including company name and headquarters, purpose for company formation, shareholders’ personal information, company initial capital, company type, names, nationalities and status of company’s managers, names of supervisory board members if applicable, duration of company, method of distribution for profits and losses, conditions regarding allocation of shares and amount of capital and share held by each partner.
Step 4: Obtaining Commercial Residence (CR)
Submit the name and the articles of association for your company to be issued with a Commercial Registration (CR). CR is a document which states the ownership of the entity issued by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC).
The business activity will be accessed by the authority and depending on the business intention, the fees will range from QAR1,500 to QAR 7,000 annually. The CR is only valid of one year and has to be renewed annually.
The CR allows for the opening of a corporate bank account, starting of business operations, purchasing of assets under the company name.
Step 5: Corporate bank account opening
All registered companies in Qatar are required to have a corporate bank account for the deposit of the initial capital.
Step 6: Obtaining Trade License
In order to own an office space approved by the MEC to conduct business, a trade license is required. In order to obtain a trade license, the following will have to be submitted:
- requisite application form from the MEC website
- A copy of the ID of each of the authorized persons in your business
- A copy of your CR
- A copy of your Articles of Incorporation
- A photograph of your office building from the outside, which shows the blue plate that has the address information
- A photograph of your office inside the above building, showing signage with the name of your business on the door to your office
- The building completion certificate and a copy of the ID of the building owner
- Rental acknowledgement, ownership instrument and Civil Defence approval
- Authorization letter in real estate rents (in case of subcontracts).
This would be followed up with an inspection. After approval, you will be notified to collect your trade license. During collection, you will be required to pay the fees which are typically QAR510 with an additional QAR10 as inspection fees.
Step 7: Obtaining Computer Card
A computer card is required for the issuance of resident permits. In order to hire full-time employees in the company, the company must be able to issue residence permits. The computer card is issued by Immigration.
A computer card is a document showing who will sign authority on behalf of the company. A partner who is a Qatar resident in your enterprise is required to be listed on the Computer Card whereas a non-Qatari member is not required to do so. In addition, an official company stamp is required so as to use in on all official paperwork.
The application of the computer card will be done through the Immigration and Passport control office. The following documents are required:
- The completed requisite application form includes the names of the individuals who want to be on the Computer Card as the signing authority and the company’s stamp
- A copy of your CR
- A copy of the Trade License
- ID copies of all the shareholders in the company
- ID copies of individuals who need to be on the computer card.
After the employees have been hired, they can be listed on the computer card.
Step 8: Staying compliant
- This includes the annual filings and tax obligations.
- The minimum corporate tax to be charged in Qatar is 10%
The information of what you need to know before you start a business in Qatar may seem intimidating with many different licenses to obtain. With Tetra Consultants by your side, the registration process of your business in Qatar will be smooth and hassle-free. Our comprehensive service package includes planning and strategizing with our clients to select a suitable business entity, completing the registration process, obtaining required licenses, opening a corporate bank account, and ensuring your compliance with the government regulations.