FAQ

Frequently asked
questions

FAQ Topics

General
Where do I start?

We recommend that you create a business plan to understand your company requirements. For example: Will your company be trading goods? Who is your target market? Where will you likely be located? How many staff will you require? What is your timeline? All these questions are essential to understanding how to help you.

What type of entity would be suited to my business?

Depending on your business activity, one of the following licenses from the 3 main categories would be required: Professional, Commercial or Industrial licences. Dependant on the type of licence required, the type of entity can be determined, these include; Limited Liability Company (LLC), Foreign/Local Branch, Sole Establishment or Civil Partnership.

What is the difference between a Free Zone and Mainland Company?

Mainland Company: A mainland establishment is an onshore setup, an onshore establishment is permitted to conduct business in the local market as well as outside Qatar, without any restrictions.

Free Zone Company: Qatar has two ‘free zones’, Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) but further free zones are planned through the Qatar Free Zone Authority. QFC is not a true free zone as, although it offers 100% ownership, corporation tax applies at the same rate for mainland companies. There are also restrictions on activities in QFC, no ‘trading’ for example but, as with all free zones in Qatar, you are allowed to trade anywhere in Qatar. QSTP has 100% ownership and a zero tax regime, however, this free zone appeals to only a small number of specialised businesses. It should be borne in mind that as a general rule, government contracts are not awarded to companies that are not mainland companies with a local Qatari partner.

Company Formation - LLC
What will be the cost?

The costs will vary depending on where you choose to establish your license. Setting up your business in a Free Zone offers advantages with ownership but not necessarily tax, QFC has an application fee and annual fee and you are required to take offices approved by QFC.

As per Qatari law, Limited Liability Companies are required to have a local Qatari partner who will own 51% of the company’s shares and the foreign partner will own the remaining 49%. The most common form of a mainland business is a LLC. The cost of setting up a mainland business depends upon various factors, including; business activity, number of employees and commercial space.

How long will it take to set up a company in Qatar?

The time taken to incorporate a Company in Qatar depends greatly on the complexity of the business to be incorporated A primary time factor in establishing a LLC, is whether or not the 49% shareholding is to be held by a ‘parent company’ or by ‘individual(s)’ At Venture Partner our experienced team of Consultants and Government Liaison Officers will ensure that the process is managed efficiently, whatever the size or scale of your business.

What commercial space do I require?

All operating companies in Qatar are required to have a commercial lease to obtain their Trade Licence. It seems that the rules for this have recently changed in Qatar and effectively, you can now obtain a Trade Licence against what amounts to a co-habited space.

Do I need a company bank account?

Yes, whilst it is not a mandatory requirement for new companies without staff, it is strongly advised that you look to open a local company bank account as soon as possible. It is beneficial not only for local business transactions but also once a company does have staff, they will be be paid through the Wage Protection System (WPS) banking system. Failure to do so will result in a block against the company. There are many local Banks to choose from, most of which offer competitive commercial rates.

Why do I need a local partner? What are my options?

As per Companies Law in Qatar, if you wish to set up a LLC, you will require a local partner. Venture Partner, as a 100% Qatari owned company, can act as a corporate nominee shareholder in the LLC. Having a ‘corporate’ rather than individual Qatari partner offers numerous advantages to the foreign investor.

Can a foreigner own 100% of a company?

There are ways that a foreign party can own 100% of a business. The Free Zones in Qatar allow for 100% ownership. It is also possible to own 100% in certain limited sectors; agriculture, health care, education, industry, mining and minerals and so forth. Ministerial permission is required for this however, this is a time consuming process. A ‘Branch Office’ i.e. an entity performing a government or quasi government contract and a Trade Representative Office, are both 100% foreign owned entities.

What happens if a company’s commercial registration has not been renewed in Qatar?

In the case of non-renewal of the commercial registration, the company must pay a violation amount of up to QAR 300, in addition to the commercial registration fee.

Does the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Qatar cancel a company’s commercial registration if it is not renewed?

Yes, the Ministry may cancel a commercial registration in case of non-renewal after 90 days. The company then receives an official notification from the ministry, stating that the commercial registration has been cancelled.

How do I add new shareholders to my commercial registration in Qatar?

It is possible to add partners to a commercial registration when they buy shares in the company. The process requires a Share Transfer Agreement and amendment to the articles of the company and then an update of the commercial registration.

What are the conditions for foreign investment in Qatar? Can I add other activities and can I open branches?

Under Qatar’s Investment Law No. 13 of 2000, maximum investment limits are set at 49 per cent of a company’s capital. However, the law allows for 100 per cent ownership in certain special situations and with prior government approval. Foreign investments are not allowed in commercial agencies and purchase of real estate, banking and insurance companies unless authorised by a decision from the Minister. No branches can be established, but other contracts may be added to the same commercial registration. A commercial permit shall be issued with each contract.

Is it possible to add a partner to a branch other than the partners listed in the master commercial registration?

This is not possible as a partner cannot be added to a branch because it is subsidiary of a parent company and not a standalone business.

Can I keep the trade name after the commercial registration has been closed in Qatar?

The trade name may be retained after its commercial registration has been closed provided the name is a registered trademark.

How much is the reservation fee for the trade name in Qatar?

The fee for reserving a trade name is QAR 1000, with an additional QAR 500 for names written in English and an extra QAR 1000 for trademark names.

Can two businesses conducting similar activities be located adjacent or next to each other in the same resident area in Qatar?

No, according to the criteria, each business must be at least 250 meters away from each other.

How do I get a Trade License in Qatar and how long is it valid for?

You can proceed to apply for a commercial permit or trade licence once the commercial registration has been issued. The permit is valid for a period of one year and is renewable.

The following documents are required:

  1. Copy of the identification card of the authorised person.
  2. Rental agreement
  3. Copy of the commercial registration
  4. A signboard with the brand name, which should not exceed 120cm in height
  5. A copy of the commercial permit for the main branch, if applying for a branch
  6. Building completion certificate
  7. Payment of fees
Is it possible to license two companies in one commercial space to different owners in Qatar?

Yes, in the case of a common 51% partner and if the space is available to accommodate more than one company.

Can a GCC company open a branch with a foreign partner in Qatar if the parent company owns 30%?

A foreign partner may enter into a partnership with a GCC national in any sector permitted by Qatar’s Investment Law No. 13 of 2000.

What happens if a foreign partner in a Qatar company whose name was in a commercial registration leaves the country? Can we close the commercial registration or remove their name?

Yes, the commercial registration may be closed in case of non-renewal within 90 days. The system shall notify the Qatar companies registrar and cancel the registration. The partner may be removed through a contract of sale of their shares or through the Qatar courts.

What are the terms for setting up a sole proprietorship or sole establishment in Qatar?
  1. It should be set up by a natural person who is 18 years old or older
  2. There are no conditions for a trade name
  3. No other partners are permitted
  4. No articles of association needed
  5. The owners have unlimited personal liability in the case of an individual establishment. In the case of an LLC, the shareholders are responsible up to the limit of the share capital of the company.
What are the requirements for setting up a Limited Liability Company in Qatar?
  1. Company type, name, purpose, and office location
  2. Partners’ names, nationalities, residences, and addresses
  3. Amount of capital share of each partner, in-kind shares, their value
  4. Names and nationalities of company’s managers, whether they are partners, or if their names are mentioned in the incorporation documents of the company
  5. Names of the members of the supervisory board
  6. Duration of the company
  7. Distribution method of profits and losses
  8. Assignment of shares conditions
  9. Form to be followed in company’s notifications to the partners
Is it permissible for one person to own more than one company in Qatar?

A single person may not own more than one Sole proprietorship, but may open more than one commercial business or LLC under the same commercial registration, in accordance with Article 2 of the executive regulations of the Commercial Registration in Qatar.

Foreign Branch & Subcontractor
How much is a subcontractor’s licence fee contracted to the State of Qatar?

The CR licence fee is QAR 30,000 (per contract per year) + Qatar chamber fees.

Is it possible to add a partner to a branch of a foreign company contracting with the government in Qatar?

No, a partner cannot be added to a branch of a foreign company contracted by the government, it is a branch of a foreign company and 100% owned by that company.

Do all documents need be translated to open a branch of a foreign company in Qatar?

In case of submitting an application to open a branch of a foreign company, the Arabic translation must be written by an accredited legal translator in Qatar.

What are the business activities that are not permitted by the branches of foreign companies in Qatar?

The branches of foreign companies can only carry out the activities permitted in the contract with the government entity.

What are the licensing requirements of a foreign company contracting with the government in Qatar?
  1. A foreign company branch contracting with the government shall comply with Qatar’s law on foreign investments and licensed by a ministerial decree issued under Law No. 13 of 2000 regulating non-Qatari capital in economic activities. Contracts with the State can be direct or indirect.
  2. Capital and shares shall be at least QAR 10 million.
  3. There are no conditions on the founders and trade names.
  4. There is no requirement to submit articles of association but the project contract signed by the State or with the direct contractor must be attached.
  5. The name of at least one manager must be entered.
  6. Copies of signed contracts and the company’s headquarters registration must be attached.
  7. No other branches can be established but other contracts may be added to the same commercial registration as a commercial permit will be issued for each contract.
  8. Commercial registration duration is determined based on the contract signed between the government agency and the foreign company.
  9. A branch of a foreign company can execute the activities permitted in the contract with the government agency only and are not entitled to execute any other activity.
What are the required attachments for a foreign company contracting with the government in Qatar?
  1. Contract between the government and foreign company
  2. Copy of the ministry decision
  3. Commercial registration and establishment licence
  4. Government approval
What are the required attachments for a subcontractor company contracting with the government in Qatar?
  1. Government entity approval
  2. Main contractor approval
  3. Subcontractor approval
  4. Commercial registration and establishment contract for the foreign company
  5. The contract between the main contractor and the subcontractor
What are the requirements for licensing a subcontractor contracting with the State of Qatar?
  1. There are no conditions on the founders and trade names.
  2. No need to submit articles of association but the project contract signed by the contractor and subcontractor must be attached.
  3. The name of at least one manager must be entered.
  4. Copies of contracts signed between the contractor headquarters and subcontractor must be attached.
  5. No branches can be established but other contracts may be added to the same commercial registration, as a commercial permit will be issued for each contract.
  6. Commercial registration duration is determined based on the contract signed between the government agency and the foreign company.
  7. A branch of a foreign company in Qatar can execute the activities permitted in the contract with the government agency only and are not entitled to execute any other activity.
Representative Office
Can a Representative Office in Qatar communicate directly with consumers?

Representative Offices are prohibited from direct contact with consumers in Qatar.

Can commercial representative offices import, export or sell products other than the products of the company they represent or promote?

No, commercial rep offices are prohibited from conducting business in Qatar, importing or exporting products except for samples of products produced by the entity they represent, for promotional purposes.

How much is the setup fee for a commercial representative office in Qatar?

A rep office opening fee in Qatar is QAR 3,000 + Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry fees.

How often is the commercial representative office licence renewed in Qatar?

The commercial representation office licence shall be renewed annually from the date of registration or from the date of the last renewal.

What is a commercial representative office in Qatar?

Commercial representative offices (Rep Office) are established in Qatar to run and cater to the interests of companies and institutions whose main headquarters are based abroad.

What are the permitted areas for commercial representative offices to operate in Qatar?

Only foreign companies and entities working in the field of trade, industry and services are allowed to open a commercial representative office in Qatar.

What are the requirements for opening a commercial representative office in Qatar?
  1. The commercial registration of the foreign company and the incorporation contract, if any.
  2. Confirmation letter, board resolution and power of attorney from the foreign company or institution to open an office in Qatar.
  3. A document of authorisation, board resolution and power of attorney from the foreign company or institution to appoint a manager to run the rep office in Qatar.
  4. A declaration from the company or institution abroad that is responsible for the work carried out by the office in the State of Qatar.
  5. Copy of personal identification of the rep office manager.
  6. Certificate for the brand of the product.
  7. Documents issued outside the country must be duly certified and attested and legally translated.
What is the purpose of opening a commercial representative office in Qatar?
  1. To contact customers to identify the products and services of foreign companies and institutions they represent and expand the distribution and marketing of products.
  2. Contact exporters and vendors of raw and semi-finished materials needed by their representatives and allow access to these products.
  3. Report complaints received about their products to the entity and work on resolving issues related to the distribution of such products.
Foreign Investment
What are the requirements for establishing a Qatari company with foreign investment capital?

The requirements are the same as setting up a Limited Liability Company in addition to:

  1. Partners’ curriculum vitae.
  2. Letter to the competent department to establish a foreign company.
  3. Copy of the commercial registration head office.
  4. Filling in the commercial registration Form.
  5. Establishment of a company in one of the forms stipulated by Law No. 11 of the year 2015 issuing the Companies Law.
  6. Approval of the partners to open a branch of the foreign company.
  7. Letter of approval from the government agency if necessary.
Visas & PRO Services
How do I sponsor my family?

If the employing company agree, a male may sponsor his immediate family (wife and children) they will need to have a valid resident permit with a suitable designation and a minimum salary of QAR8,000 per month. Similarly, a female can sponsor her immediate family (husband and children) if she has a valid resident permit and the designation is either engineer, teacher, doctor, nurse or any other profession related to the medical sector.

There are also certain documents that will be required in order to process the family visas, including attested marriage and birth certificates, a notarised tenancy contract and a salary certificate. We can assist with family visa applications and would be happy to discuss the full process and document requirements upon request.

How do I obtain a Qatar ID card?

Once the labour quota is approved, you will come to Qatar on an employment visa. After entry, your contract of employment will be registered with the Labour Department and you will be required to undergo a medical examination, in addition, your fingerprints and an eye scan will be taken. When the results of these are confirmed, you will be issued with a Qatari Identity Card, at this point, you become a resident of Qatar.

How long does it take to process a residence visa?

Typically if all documentation is in place and valid and there are no issues with the medical examination, then it should be possible to process the residency in five (5) working days

What documents to I need to process my visa?
  1. Passport copy - must have more than 6 months validity and at least 2 blank pages
  2. Colour Photos x 2 - head and shoulders, no eyeglasses, blue background, high resolution.
  3. Attested education certificate - if required for job title - must be attested in the country of issuance as must the ‘award letter’ and a letter from the institution issuing the certificate (please contact us for further details)
What are the types of companies allowed to set up in Qatar?

Entities forms according to the Qatar Companies Law No. 11 of 2015 are:

  • Limited Liability Company.
  • General Company.
  • Limited Partnership Company.
  • Sole Proprietorship.
  • Public Shareholding Company.
  • Private Shareholding Company.
Articles of Association (AOA)
What types of companies in Qatar are exempted from submitting Articles of Association?
  1. Commercial Representation Offices
  2. Professional Offices
  3. Sole Proprietorship
What types of companies in Qatar are required to submit Articles of Association?
  1. Public and Private Shareholding Company
  2. Limited Liability Company
  3. Joint Liability Company
  4. General company
  5. Holding Company
What are Articles of Association (AOA) in Qatar?

The Articles of Association are the constitutional documents for a company in Qatar. They are signed when two or more natural or legal persons commit to set up a company and they set out the guidelines on how the company is run and administered. The AOA must be drafted in accordance with Qatar Companies Law.

Trademarks
Can a trademark be cancelled after registration in Qatar?

Yes, the victim or any significant person may turn to the civil court to write off a trademark that has been registered unlawfully. Any interested person may also request the court to remove a mark if the owner does not use it for five consecutive years.

Can third parties (other than the original owner) use the trademark in Qatar?

The owner of the trademark shall have the right to grant third parties a licence to use his trademark in exchange for a fee.

Does the protection of Qatari trademark extend beyond its registration in the State of Qatar?

The trademark certificate is valid within Qatar only.

How long does a trademark last in Qatar?

The trademark certificate is valid for 10 years from the date of issuance and can be renewed for another 10 years. It is only valid in Qatar.

What is the difference between trademarks and trade names in Qatar?

A trade name is simply the official name under which a business conducts its activities. A trademark on the other hand is used to not only protect your trade name but also symbols, logos and slogans. The a simple company trade name does not necessarily provide any protection against others using that name.

What is a trademark in Qatar?

  1. A trademark may be a word, name, symbol, device or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods and services of one seller or provider from those of others.
  2. If the trade name is a Qatari trademark, the investor must submit a trademark franchise contract or a usufruct letter.
  3. In case the trade name is a non-Qatari trademark, the Embassy of Qatar in the country of origin and Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs must attest the documents.
Why should I register a trademark in Qatar?

Company owners know the importance of protecting intellectual property and all features involved. Registering a trademark will ensure that the company is not implicated in different infringements like copied trademarks and logos. Here is some information about how you can register a trademark in Qatar:

  • The registration of trademarks in Qatar is protected by Law no. 9/2002 referring to commercial indications, industrial designs and models, trade names etc.
  • A verification of the trademark you wish to register must be made in the first place.
  • Only a single application for trademark registration is needed.
  • The Industrial Property Protection Office registers the company trademarks in Qatar.
  • All the documents comprising the logo/symbols need to be submitted, alongside other papers, to the above-mentioned body.

One should note that foreigners in Qatar must appoint a representative with a power of attorney for trademark registration in this country. It is important to be distinctive in the market and have a unique trademark for your company in Qatar, so a prior verification is required before starting the registration process. If you would like to know more about the trademark registration process in Qatar, please to talk to one of our specialists and ask for details and support.

Reserve Trade Name
What are the requirements for applying to reserve a trade name in Qatar?

You must first select whether the trade name is a trademark or not.

For trade name:

  1. The trade name must be in the Latin (English and Arabic) alphabet. Numbers and symbols like full stops and commas are not permitted.
  2. The trade name must not contain inappropriate words that are in bad taste to the public.
  3. Enter three to five options for the company trade names for the relevant authorities to select one name.

For trademark:

Enter the name of the trademark and attach the required documents.

What documents should be attached when applying to reserve a trade name in Qatar?

For trade names with an associated trademark, you will require the Concession Contract (certified by the Embassy of Qatar for non-Qatari contract), or the document of the right of use (certified by the Embassy of Qatar for non-Qatari contract).

What are the fees for applying to reserve a trade name in Qatar?

An amount of QAR 1000 is needed to reserve a trade name. With an additional fee of QAR 1000 for a trade mark. Additional QAR 500 for Latin / English names. Fees must be paid upon receiving a notification from authorities.

What are the requirements for applying to extend a trade name in Qatar?
  1. The first reservation should be valid for at least 30 days when making the extension
  2. Extension of reservation is done only once
Business Activities
Can I add multiple activities to a commercial register in Qatar?

Yes, multiple activities can be added to the commercial register by way of application and adjustment to the company’s Articles of Association.

What approvals are needed in Qatar to set up a nursery?

Approval is needed from the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs as well as the other usual departments required when establishing a company in Qatar.

Is it possible to establish a company whose business is trading in building materials and other trading activities in Qatar?

Yes, you can combine all trading related activities onto the same licence in Qatar.

Do we need to change the trade name of a company in Qatar if the business activities change?

Yes, the trade name in Qatar must reflect the business activities of the company

If a foreign company wishes to open a company in Qatar but there is already a similar trade name existing with similar activities, what other options are available?

The foreign company must select another name or check if the trademark is registered in Qatar and potentially challenge that company for the use of the name if they hold the trademark.

Health Licence
What are the requirements for applying for a medical facility licence in Qatar?
  1. Medical price list
  2. Licensing of medical staff
  3. Civil Defence Certificate
  4. Security systems certification
  5. Image of contract
  6. Commercial registration
  7. Commercial permit
  8. A copy of the health facility licence (current)
What documents should be attached while applying for a medical facility licence in Qatar?
  1. A valid civil defence certificate
  2. The security systems certificate should be valid
  3. Dental clinics: licence of radiology staff is required
What are the fees for applying for a medical facility licence in Qatar?

The fees range from between QAR 500 and QAR 7,000 depending on the type of health facility. Fees must be paid upon receiving a notification from authorities. This can be done online, via bank transfer, bank deposit or by visiting any of the government service centres.

Expert Advice

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