How to set up a Branch Office in Qatar

How to set up a Branch Office in Qatar

- Dale Ashford

What is a Branch Office?

A Branch Office in Qatar is a registered company in the state of Qatar that does not require a sponsor, therefore allowing the foreign business to maintain 100% ownership. The law provides that branches are not to be considered as separate legal entities from the principal company.

A branch of a foreign company can only be registered if that foreign company or business has a legal contract in Qatar which is performing a specific project. The contract must “facilitate the performance of a public service or utility”, in other words, a Government related project that the Government entity provides a contract for. A foreign business can set up its branch in Qatar given they follow the regulations set by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, including that on the completion of the contract the Branch will close, unless a concurrent contract has been secured.

Features of Branch Office

  1. Qatar regulation allows a foreign company to set up a branch in Qatar when that company has a legal Government contract for performing a specific project. It is not considered as a permanent establishment by the Qatari Government
  2. A Branch Office must be authorised by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce
  3. Branch Offices are fully taxable unless granted a special exemption
  4. There are no share capital requirements for a Branch Office

Branch Offices cannot undertake any other commercial activity in Qatar outside the scope of the contract and the life of the branch is in effect, linked to the life of the contract. Therefore, the company cannot work or accept tender opportunities within the Private sector and must close the branch on completion of the last contract. Consequently, the formation of Branch Offices is not that common and may only suit a small number of ventures. 

What is the process for setting up a Branch Office in Qatar?

Before setting up, the foreign company will need permission from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to obtain a commercial registration.

The process follows these key steps:

  1. Step One: Application form to include details of the company and its shareholders opening the branch in Qatar. The documents required for this approval include, but are not restricted to, the following:

    * Parent Company Documents including:
    Certificate of Incorporation
    - Board Resolution and
    - Power of Attorney

    * Passport copy of the individual holding Power of Attorney
    * The awarded contract with a government entity
    * Letter of support from awarding body
    * Ministry of Commerce and Industry License Application

  2. Step Two: Following approval from the Ministry, apply to obtain the Commercial Registration (CR)
    This requires an application form in Arabic signed by the authorised individuals of the company. The company is also required to register with the Qatar Chamber of Commerce to obtain membership.

  3. Step Three: Trade License
    Obtain a Trade License from the Municipality. In order to apply for this licence it is obligatory that the company agrees a 12-month lease for a local office/company premises in Qatar.

  4. Step Four: Computer Card and Labour Department
    Register at the Ministry of Interior for the Computer Card, and then having registered the branch with the Labour Department apply for the quota and visas forregistration of employees required for the project.

  5. Step Five: Tax Card
    The company must apply for a Tax Identification number and permanent tax card and appoint an Auditor in Qatar within 30 days of obtaining the Commercial Registration

How can Venture Partner Qatar help?

Setting up a Branch Office in Qatar is an attractive prospect for businesses, however, the process can often be time consuming and complex. Venture Partner Qatar can offer a hassle-free solution by providing reliable support to set up your company in Qatar by taking care of processes and the documentation required.

Get in touch with Dale Ashford

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