Business Setup in Saudi Arabia

Business setup in Saudi Arabia has become an ideal opportunity for investments from multinational corporations and Small and Medium Enterprises on a global scale, thanks to the new investment project initiative, Saudi Vision 2030, and the most recent National Investment Strategy issued by the MISA.

The 1980s saw the construction of industrial cities, which later underwent significant economic growth. At the dawn of this century, economic cities were founded and are still being built.

All About Company Formation in Saudi Arabia

100% foreign ownership is permitted in both the industrial and economic free zones, which also provide tax exemptions and reduced tax rates for company formation in Saudi Arabia.

How Free Zones Aided in the Diversification of the Saudi Economic System?

Two different types of free zones have been established in Saudi Arabia to draw in foreign capital for commercial and industrial ventures. Economic-free zones were established for fundamental economic activities such as agriculture, healthcare, education, logistics, science, and research, whereas industrial-free zones are mostly devoted to manufacturing industries.

The main focus of the free zones’ development plan was on the need to diversify the nation's economy and lessen its dependency on oil and gas through non-oil resources. Currently, Saudi Arabia has 28 industrial cities that are managed and maintained by the Saudi Industrial Property Authority that offer low land leases, easy access to loans up to 75% of the capital, extended loan repayment terms of up to 20 years, and customs duty exemption on raw materials and equipment.

Yanbu and Jubail are two of the most well-known industrial cities where important petrochemical, fertilizer, steel, iron, and chemical manufacturing plants are found. Tax incentives, such as custom duty exemptions on machinery and raw materials, lower taxes on training and salary costs, and general tax exemptions for some particular business units, have not yet been applied in economic cities.

The economic hubs of Jazan, Knowledge, and Prince Abdulaziz Bin Moussaed are all well-known.

Permitted Business Activities

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia currently offers enormous success and growth opportunities due to its high level of life, young population, and diverse commercial sectors. The lucrative business sectors in Saudi Arabia where we provide our services are listed below.

Types of Sectors/Licenses:

  • Trading Sector
  • Service Sector
  • Industrial Sector

Forbidden Activities

The list of forbidden actions is as follows, and it includes but is not limited to:

  • Manufacturing of uniforms and related gear for use in the military and defense
  • Agencies offering security and investigation services
  • Brokerages in the Real Estate
  • Oil and gas drilling and exploration
  • Fishing industry business
  • Real estate investment in Makkah and Madinah

How to Proceed with Business Setup in Saudi Arabia?

The following steps are essential for a business setup in Saudi Arabia:

1. Choose a Legal Entity

Depending on the company activity and the legal form, different requirements for paid-up capital and shareholding structures will apply.

  • Joint Stock Company
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Branch of a Foreign Company
  • General Partnership
  • An Establishment
  • Technical and Scientific Services Office.

2. Decide on a Location

Choose a location for your business and register a nationwide address.

3. Create the Company's Incorporation Paperwork

Complete the official business paperwork, including the articles of association, and get the business's commercial registration (CR) license.

Register with the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Investment (MISA).

4. Proceed with Registrations After Incorporation

To fulfill the residency (iqama) visa, the general manager (GM) travels to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Register the GM with the government and in the company's records.

5. Open a Business Bank Account

Meet with the bank to sign and apply for a KSA corporate bank account.

Let us look at the tax system and the sector-wise requirements for company registration in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabian Tax System

Employee compensation is not subject to personal income tax; however, businesses may be subject to tax depending on their legal structure. Corporate tax law applies to all legally registered businesses controlled by foreign investors and their branches.

For unlisted enterprises, a 20% tax rate is payable. Based on net profits, tax is levied.

Non-Saudi and non-GCC citizens must also pay taxes on their interest-based income. However, citizens of Saudi Arabia and the GCC are required to pay a 2.5% Zakat tax.

Entities that pay foreign nationals for services such as rent and management fees are subject to withholding taxes. For example, 20% of management fees, 15% of royalties, and 5% of the rent, airline tickets, and overseas telecommunications services are subject to withholding tax.

Sector-Wise Requirements

1. Trading Sector Companies

  • The company's presence in three different nations
  • One of the three mentioned companies must be at least three years old.
  • The business should deliver an annual audit report.
  • Audit reports from prior financial years should indicate a total business of 2.3 million Saudi Riyals or a profitable organization.

2. Service Sector Companies

  • The company's presence in three different nations
  • One company must be active for at least one year
  • The business must offer the same audit reports.

3. Industrial Sector Companies

  • The company's presence in three different nations
  • One of the three mentioned companies must be at least three years old
  • Must deliver a thorough business plan
  • Permission from the EHS Authority
  • Every year of operation should have an audit report provided by the company
  • The previous year's reports should show a total revenue of 2.3 million Saudi Riyals or be from a profitable firm

Why Enter the Market of Saudi Arabia?

There are several reasons why you should join the KSA market.

  • The population as a whole: 33.4 million
  • Approximately 50% of the population are youth (under 25)
  • 1.6% Growth in the populace (next five years)
  • Nominal GDP: 782 billion
  • $23,570 GDP per person
  • 230.8 billion in FDI stock coming in
  • Low cost of living and exemption from personal income taxes
  • Places that are safe and have remarkably low crime rates
  • The geographical position is compelling for trade and travel

Create a Saudi Arabian corporation with 100% foreign ownership. We offer professional company formation services that will protect and keep you in charge of your group's and company's existence in KSA.

By working with Commitbiz Management Consultants, you can save time and money. For more information, get a free consultation today! to discuss your Saudi company formation plans.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a MISA license?

The government organization that grants foreign businesses permission to operate in Saudi Arabia without a local partner is called MISA, or the Ministry of Investment in Saudi Arabia. 

What is the time frame for establishing a foreign company in KSA?

The company will be completely established after confirming that all required paperwork is in order within 45 working days. 

Do I need to travel to KSA to finish the procedure?

The only person who needs to travel to Saudi Arabia is the General Manager to establish his Iqama documentation. 

What is the price of an establishment in KSA?

The cost is determined by whether special permits from specific ministries or government organizations are necessary. Additionally, it is based on how the newly formed company will operate. 

What offers does the Saudi Arabia government provide for company setup?

To encourage the creation of businesses and draw in international investors, the Saudi government has provided an incentive. The initial business registration and setup fees are lowered by two-thirds for Saudi companies that are established within the first year, which attracts new market participants. 

Are immigrants able to own a business in Saudi Arabia?

Non-Saudi citizens are permitted to own 100% of their business in Saudi Arabia. There are various advantages to establishing a company and/or its headquarters in Saudi Arabia as part of the Kingdom's Vision 2030.