Setting up a 100% owned business in Qatar

Setting up a 100% owned business in Qatar

Up to 100% doesn’t mean 100%

Qatar, the world’s biggest LNG exporter and one of the safest countries in the world to reside has really been focusing on broadening their business avenues recently and is investing in several countries such as the USA ($45BN), Germany (€35BN) and the UK (£38.5 BN) to consolidate their long-standing partnerships and boost their relationships. For example: the USA have 650 Joint Ventures (JV) established in Qatar, including 117 of them being 100% owned by US citizens. Germany has around 300 JV’s in vital sectors of Qatar’s economy and the UK 622 JV’s.

There are many questions you will be asking yourself. How does it work when an expat from USA/UK/Germany wants to start a business in Qatar? Where do you go? Where do you start? Who should I ask? How long does it take? How much will it cost? Can it be really 100% Foreign Owned as announced lately under the new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Law?

Being in this business and seeing it all happening daily, our advice is to be patient and listen to what experienced people advise you to do. Always remember to read the fine print because up to 100% doesn’t mean 100%!

If you are interested in setting up you 100% owned business, you need to apply at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for a Non-Qatari Investment License. There are 12 Sectors where you can apply to invest in. All Sectors require approval from the specific Ministry, from there, you will know if you are eligible to be a 100% Shareholder or just 49% or possibly 60%.

The 12 sectors are: Consulting Technical Services; IT Services; Cultural Services; Sports Services; Entertainment Services; Agriculture; Industry; Health; Education; Tourism; Developing and Exploitation of Natural Resources; Energy and Mining. It is useful to read details on each type of company to ensure that you are aware of exactly what you would like and what you are actually eligible for, the full list can be found here

Like in most Western countries, it isn’t as straight forward and simple to set up a business in the Gulf however there are vast opportunities in this part of the world and we are here to assist you with the whole process.

There is a saying “leve leve” from an Island in Africa, São Tomé and Príncipe which means just take it easy. This really applies 100% to this whole process. Forget the business set up experiences you have from before and come as a tabula rasa. You may be lucky and get your 100% foreign owned business approved, if not you still can set up a 51/49 business and be extremely successful. However, you must be patient, read everything in detail, do your research! There will be a lot of paperwork and procedures along the way but it is worth it in every capacity to set up in one of the fastest growing business regions in the world!

Venture Partner Qatar and PRO Partner Group are proud of the award-winning service we offer our clients in the formation and support of Qatar and UAE companies. For further information on how to set up a business in Qatar and the wider Gulf, contact us on: +974 4478 8765 or

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