Business Licensing in Saudi Arabia

Business Licensing in Saudi Arabia Last updated on Sunday 25th April 2010

A number of licensing regulations exist for a number of different cases. In this page, some of the highlights will be covered.

The Foreign Capital Investment Law governs the investment of this capital. It is allowed to take place in development projects excluding petroleum and mineral extraction projects. It is also to be accompanied by foreign technical expertise. The Ministry of Industry and Electricity considers the following as development projects:

projects for the development of the manufacturing industry

development of agricultural production

health services

provisional services and projects for undertaking contracts

This law allows foreign investors to set up a project either exclusively on their own or as a joint-venture with Saudis.

Additional information pertaining to this law may be obtained from the Ministry of Industry and Electricity in Riyadh (telephone: +966 1 477-2722 / 477-6666, fax +966 1 477-5451).

In the event the project is considered for licence, application ultimately goes to the Foreign Capital Investment Bureau with all necessary documentation.

According to Ministry of Commerce resolution 680, foreign firms that do not use a Saudi agent and wish to subcontract for service or supply tenders must register for a licence with that Ministry and establish an office in Saudi Arabia.

Foreign firms who are invited to bid on a tender by the Saudi government need to apply for a licence and establish an office in the Kingdom only if they are awarded the contract.

Partnerships with Saudi firms are advisable for foreign companies seeking to manufacture in the Kingdom or to provide services. Manufacturing facilities and specific service firms with at least 25% Saudi ownership qualify for the same concessions (e.g. loans, tax allowances, etc.) as wholly-Saudi-owned firms.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a member of the International Copyright Agreement which protects all trademarks, patents and copyrights. According to the Ministry of Information, this agreement is in effect and was implemented as of 13 July 1994.

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