Company formation and PRO services in Qatar
There are several options for foreign investors or foreign companies to set up business in Qatar – Limited Liability Company (LLC), Foreign Branch Office, Trade Representative Office or a Free Zone Company. Sovereign will help you determine the best fit for your company. In addition to helping with the set-up and incorporation process, through Venture Partner Qatar we also offer professional PRO (Public Relations Officer) services to assist with business approvals, employee and employer visa services, implementation of government mandates and licence renewals in Qatar.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
The most frequently used vehicle for foreign investors setting up in Qatar is a Limited Liability Company (LLC), generally known as a ‘WLL’ company in Qatar. In many business sectors, forming an LLC will require a 51% local sponsor and Venture Partner Qatar can become your secure 51% local sponsor through our Corporate Partnership platform. An LLC offers limited liability and requires a minimum of two shareholders and a maximum number of 50. The minimum share capital for an LLC is QAR200,000 (c. USD55,000).
A foreign company can register a branch office in Qatar only if it is executing a specific government-related contract in Qatar. Foreign companies registered under this category do not require a local partner and can be 100% foreign-owned. Branch offices may not undertake any other commercial activity in Qatar outside the scope or duration of the relevant contract.
Trade Representative Office
Due to its focus on economic growth, diversification and inward investment and sustainability, many foreign businesses are looking to establish a presence in Qatar and demand for Trade Representative Offices has increased significantly. A foreign company can register a ‘Rep Office’ to promote itself in Qatar and to hire staff but is not permitted to engage in trade or enter into contracts in Qatar. Trade Representative Offices in Qatar do not require a local partner and are not subject to tax in Qatar.
Free Zones (QFC)
There are currently two free zones in Qatar, Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) and Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), although more are in the pipeline. QSTP only offers free zone set up for companies involving in major research joint ventures in Qatar, so entry is extremely restricted. The QFC was established to provide a centre for international banking, insurance and other financial services, but its remit has since been expanded to include other ‘professional and business services’, including consultancy, recruitment, sports and entertainment. It also offers a wider range of entities, including LLCs, general and limited partnerships, and protected cell companies.
The QFC has its own legal, regulatory, employment and tax regimes, and permits 100% foreign ownership of entities set up in the QFC and 100% repatriation of profits. Sovereign, through our sister company Venture Partner Qatar, can assist foreign businesses in their QFC free zone set-up and in obtaining licences for both regulated and non-regulated activities.