Qatar is one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East, with a strong economy and plenty of opportunities for expats. The Qatari government realise that with such a low indigenous population, workers and businesses from overseas are essential to maintain the country's growth - and with the 2022 World Cup being held there, there has probably never been a better time for starting a business in Qatar.
If you're thinking of taking the plunge and starting a business in Qatar, there are several things that you need to know in order to make sure that you meet company formation regulations. When you set up any business, you need to start as you mean to go on, by following protocol and doing things right in the first instance.
Setting Up A WLL Company In Qatar
The most common type of business formed in Qatar is a ‘With Limited Liability’ company, or a WLL. By setting up a WLL in Qatar, your personal assets are protected, so if the business doesn’t work and you end up having to declare the company bankrupt, you won’t suffer on a personal financial level. This kind of protection can be invaluable, helping you to proceed in confidence without worrying from the outset about personal liability.
Another essential element that you’ll need to get in place for your new business is a local sponsor. Unlike most countries, the process of company formation in Qatar requires you to have a Qatari partner who will sponsor your company and provide important local information to help you along the way. This Qatari sponsor must own over half of the business, making them the majority shareholder – although they are not necessarily required to invest any capital in the company. The need for a sponsor in Qatar doesn’t apply to every type of business and there are consultancies around who can help you to secure that vital sponsor if needed.
Other Important Elements Of Starting A Business In Qatar
In addition to a local sponsor, you will need to open a bank account with at least QAR 200,000 as part of your company formation in Qatar. You will also need to make sure that you have the right visa for yourself and your family before you start your business in Qatar and you must register your business with the appropriate ministry and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce. Other requirements include obtaining a business and signage license, organising a company seal and registering with the tax office.
As part of your WLL company formation, you will need to develop an ‘Articles of Association’ document with your local Qatari sponsor – this must be signed in the presence of an official. This might seem like a long-winded company formation process, but all items are essential to start your business in Qatar.
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