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Posted On: 28 January 2019 03:57 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 10:18 am

Here’s how to set up your business in Qatar Free Zones

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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Over the past years, Qatar has transformed itself into a vibrant country boasting of state-of-the-art malls, amazing stadiums, modern hotels, tallest buildings, world-class infrastructure and a big thirst for even bigger things! With these advantages along with a high standard of living, Qatar is now a major business hub and an ideal spot for setting up businesses.

There are few legal company setting options in Qatar including the Free Zones which makes the decision process much easier than any other GCC countries. These Free Zones aim at providing a level of economic security with regards to the free flow of goods to the local market, in addition to supporting the process of economic diversification. So if you are planning to set-up your company in Qatar, scroll all the way down to read about the Qatar Free zones, important steps, benefits & FAQs before you start the process.

(Qatar is now a major business hub and an ideal spot for setting up businesses)

FAQs about Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA)

The following Q&A section is mentioned on the Qatar Free Zones Authority website to provide you with some additional information on the requirements and additional benefits of setting up a Free Zone Company in Qatar.

What is QFZA?

The Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) is the organization responsible for the development and regulation of Qatar’s free zones. It was established in 2018 with a mandate to build world-class free zones and attract through its business development efforts international business to its zones that will contribute to Qatar’s continued economic growth and diversification.

QFZA operates through its own regulatory framework, granting companies access to fast-growing nearby markets in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Western Asia. The QFZA team has a very proactive investment attraction & business development ethos and manages company registrations, licensing and related services, among other responsibilities.

What free zones are managed by the authority?

QFZA currently oversees two free zones:

  • Ras Boufantas Free Zone, a 400-hectare area adjacent to Hamad International Airport
  • Umm AlHoul Free Zone, a 3000-hectare area adjacent to Hamad Port

Are there specific sectors or business activities that the free zones are seeking to attract?

QFZA is focused on certain key sectors where Qatar has a strong value proposition that include logistics, chemicals, and emerging technologies. Within these broad areas, the exciting opportunities cover a range of key sectors including maritime services, energy and clean technology, food, healthcare and medical technologies, information, and communications and industrial equipment.

QFZA is creating specialized areas within the zones for these sectors, allowing companies in those sectors to benefit from a growing community of like-minded organizations, dedicated research and innovation facilities and partnership opportunities. As a new organization, we are able to tailor solutions for companies who choose to operate in our free zones and evolve to best suit your needs.

For more information on logistics, chemicals and marine services, click HERE!

What are the benefits of locating within the free zones?

The free zones will give foreign companies a base from which to tailor their products and services for nearby markets across the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. The legal environment in Qatar’s free zones is based on a common-law concept and is entirely under the jurisdiction of the Free Zones Authority, providing a seamless environment to conduct business. Moreover, companies operating in Qatar will benefit from 100% foreign ownership, renewable 20-year tax holidays – zero corporate tax, zero customs duty, and of course no personal income tax – and access to a skilled and flexible workforce under a permit regime directly managed the Free Zone Authority.

Additional benefits include:

  • State of the art infrastructure at the airport and seaport zones.
  • A mix of pre-built and land lease options to suit your current and future development plans.
  • Regionally competitive land pricing
  • No restrictions on capital repatriation
  • Strong intellectual property and data protection laws
  • Access to investment funds for eligible companies
  • Access to partnership opportunities

What are the eligibility criteria for establishing in the free zones?

QFZA is focused on industries and companies that have the potential to contribute significantly to Qatar’s economic diversification and sustainable growth.

Companies or investors intending to secure pre-built units or land plots and locate a business in one of the Free Zones must demonstrate to the Authority's satisfaction that their proposed business activities with the Zone meet this requirement. Potential Free Zone investors should also:

  • Operate in one of QFZA’s target sectors
  • Plan to use their position in Qatar to primarily trade in the regional and international markets
  • Demonstrate their ability to generate incremental economic added value
  • Demonstrate the financial capability to undertake the proposed investment.

Can I purchase land or buildings in the free zone?

The land and buildings are currently available for lease only.

How much will it cost to rent land/buildings/office space in the free zone?

Rates are regionally competitive. Specific pricing arrangements will be determined based on your land use and specific utility and location requirements which will be discussed during the application process.

Is it possible to arrange a site visit to the zones?

Yes, site visits can be arranged by the QFZA Business Development representative as part of the application process.

Companies operating in Free Zones are released from tax, customs rules
(Companies operating in Free Zones are released from customs rules)

How to apply?

If you are interested in establishing a business in the free zones, the first step is to complete an online inquiry on the website at https://fza.gov.qa/apply/. Upon receiving your inquiry, you will be contacted by a member of the Business Development Team to discuss your plans in more detail. QFZA will determine if your proposed business plan is eligible for the Free Zones, and if so will provide you with a formal application form, to be submitted along with a License Application Fee.

Free Zones locations

Umm Alhoul - Port Free Zone

A 34km2 free zone near Hamad Port, the world’s largest Greenfield port, Umm Alhoul Free Zone is set to become a major factor in Qatar’s imports and exports. It offers a wealth of resources and connectivity, already capturing 27% of trade in the GCC region. Investing here will let you improve your global supply chain.

Suitable industries
- Maritime industries
- Polymers and plastics
- Advanced manufacturing, and logistics.

Ras Bufontas - Airport Free Zone

The second free zone, Ras Bufontas is situated 6 km away from world-renowned Hamad International Airport. As a leader in freight and passenger operations and efficiency, let Ras Bufontas and HIA take your business to new heights.

Suitable industries:

- Light Manufacturing
- International Business Services
- Consumer products
- Emerging Technologies
- Logistics Hub
- Pharmaceuticals

About Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA)

For additional information please contact:
Qatar Free Zones Authority
General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers Building, P.O. Box 258, Doha, Qatar
Tel +974 440 18648
Email [email protected]
Website: www.fza.gov.qa


(Photos and Information source: Qatar Free Zones Authority)