Setting Up A Tech Company In Saudi Arabia – Practical Overview
By Raunak Datt / Astrolabs
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a market well known but not well understood. In the recent years however, a growing market has made KSA the country to expand to in the region. While the opportunities for tech companies in the country are massive and many challenges are typically underserved, setting up and establishing a company has been challenging till now.
Last month in our newsletter, we announced the pilot of the first 100% foreign owned company set up structure in KSA. We’ve been hard at work making this happen for a while now and were excited to finally announce it to the public, but like any grand unveiling it can sometimes offer more questions than answers. So let’s get down to it and answer the most frequently asked questions we’ve had so far.
What is a SAGIA license?
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority is the government entity that licenses foreign companies to operate in Saudi without a local partner. This is a Mainland license with 100% foreign ownership. The SAGIA entrepreneur license is a new category of cost-subsidized and simplified licenses that qualified companies can apply for through an authorized business incubator.
What is a Commercial Registration (CR)?
The Commercial Registration is issued by the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This document is mandatory and grants you permit to operate a certain activity or set of activities in Saudi Arabia. Further licenses may still be needed for certain activities.
What is a Chamber of Commerce Certificate?
This certificate is issued by the Chamber of Commerce and is mandatory to have along with the Commercial Registration. It is mainly used to save and attest official company signatures for formal documents use when required.
How long does the process take?
We have set up a fast-track process with SAGIA and are currently achieving SAGIA license, CR, and Chamber of Commerce certification within 2-3 weeks.
Do I have to come to Saudi Arabia to finalize the process?
You only need to visit in person one time for attestation at the Notary.
Can you help me get a visit visa to Saudi Arabia if I don’t have one?
Yes, we can help you get a government visit visa through SAGIA to help you finalize your setup requirements
Do I need to lease an office to get my SAGIA license, Commercial Registration and Chamber of Commerce certificate?
No, you will only need to lease an office at a later stage once these licenses are issued. Other governmental licenses will require you to lease an office.
What other government licenses and registrations are required to have a fully set up Saudi company?
Required government licenses & registrations include: Municipality license, Labor Office File, General Organization For Social Insurance File (GOSI), and General Authority of Zakat and Tax File (GAZT). Additional licenses may be needed for certain activities.
Will you support in getting these other governmental licenses?
This is not part of our core offering, but please contact us if you’d like support and we’ll do our best to accommodate.
What activities am I allowed to apply for under the Entrepreneurial license?
There are no defined limitations, however your case will need to be approved by SAGIA.
How many work visas will I get with this license?
You will get Investor Visas for all shareholders and a General Manager Visa for the GM. Other visas are approved on a case-by-case basis by the labor office after you have registered your company with the Ministry of Labor.
Will my Saudi Arabian entity be subject to corporate tax?
Yes, you will required to pay 20% taxes on your net profits.