Forming a company in the Middle East
Set up a company with Confidus Solutions in any Middle Eastern jurisdiction, and we will offer you our highly valued expertise in business and international trade. Earth's most well-known transcontinental region, the Middle East consists of 17 sovereign countries and is home to speakers of approximately 60 languages.
As a global entrepreneur, make sure you choose the right corporate structure with the advice of Confidus Solutions. Contact us now to proceed with incorporating your business in the Middle East.
List of countries and territories
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
The most developed countries in terms of GDP per capita (PPP based) and historical development patterns are Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Israel, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
For incorporation purposes, we would advise you to choose one of the following:
Legal structure and advice
At any point in the lifetime of a business, the need might arise for a Middle East-registered company, especially if your business is concerned with the petroleum, oil, marble, natural crude asphalt, silica, gypsum, cement, salt or steel industries, or, especially, the financial services sector. Nonetheless, companies in any industry might wish to take advantage of our company formation services, including those involved in the bauxite, iron ore, zinc, lead and coal, gold, silver, tin, aluminium and manganese, diamonds, potash or phosphates industries.
Before registering a company, you should have a solid knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of each of the numerous options in the Middle East and nearby islands such as Cyprus (you can read more about this option in the Forming a company in Europe section), Bahrain and Socotra (Yemen), so you can make an informed decision as to where you wish to establish your company.
Confidus Solutions is here to provide you with the best financial advice, a neat corporate structure offering full privacy as well as tax compliance and incisive legal advice on jurisdictions within the Middle East.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are a corporation or private entrepreneur planning to expand your business.
All Middle Eastern countries are independent, which makes it difficult to recommend one specific legal entity for registering a company. However, if you are looking for an easy-to-follow tutorial on the major legal structures for companies in the Middle East, please continue reading, as there are a number of factors that may present significant challenges and risks. Confidus Solutions’ top-choice suggestions are Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Israel.
Bahrain today is one of the most up-and-coming and prosperous countries in the Middle East, offering international entrepreneurs and investors a receptive environment for setting up a business. A foreign company in Bahrain can incorporate as a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership company or a branch of a foreign company. Although Bahrain may not offer a low-tax regime, due to its rapidly growing economy it is considered to be a prestigious jurisdiction in which to run a company, and so may be a viable option if you are looking to invest your assets.
Qatar has many foreign companies operating within its borders, mostly in the oil, mining and engineering industries. However, Qatar is supportive of any foreign company willing to invest and operate on its territory. Qatar offers almost all of the same legal structures as any Western country: partnerships, joint-stock companies, companies limited by shares, limited liability companies and holding companies.
United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)
As you will know, the U.A.E. consists of several emirates, each of which has its own local legislation and government. We would strongly recommend considering Dubai as a location for the incorporation of your foreign company. Dubai attracts more and more foreign investors every day due to its rapid economic growth and its perfect facilities and infrastructure. Dubai is a modern city, famous as a regional business centre and a tax-free zone. The best option for your international company would be to incorporate a free zone company or a foreign company. However, there are some legal requirements involved, including licenses, and so we strongly recommend that you contact our lawyers for more detailed information regarding the company incorporation process in Dubai.
In Lebanon, you can incorporate a holding company, an offshore company, a branch of a foreign company, a representative office or one of number of other entities. Please contact us to find out more.
In Jordan, we would suggest that you register as a foreign company, which is specifically aimed at non-Jordanian nationals and foreign businesses operating in Jordan. Jordan also has other legal entities that we haven’t listed here. Contact us and we will help you choose the most suitable company type for your corporate needs.
Saudi Arabia, among many other options, offers the chance to register a private limited company (in Arabic شركة ذات مسئولية محدودة), joint-stock company (in Arabic شركة مساهمة), general partnership company (in Arabic شركة تضامن), limited partnership (in Arabic شركة التوصية البسيطة), foreign company (in Arabic شركة أجنبية) or individual establishment (in Arabic مؤسسة فردية ).
SAOG stands for
société anonyme omanaise générale, which has a legal structure similar to a public joint-stock company. An SAOC is a
société anonyme omanaise close, similar to a closed joint-stock company.
In Israel, you can register a foreign company or a limited liability company (keep reading for further explanation). A foreign company is basically a branch office registration. In Hebrew, בע"מ is “be'eravon mugbal”, which literally means
by limited liability/warranty.
شرکت سهامی عام in Farsi denotes
sherkat sahami am, which is a legal structure similar to the United Kingdom’s plc. A شرکت سهامی خاص is a
sherkat sahami khas, which is equivalent to a private plc in the UK. A شرکت با مسئولیت محدود is a
sherkat ba masouliyat mahdoud, comparable to the United Kingdom’s limited company (Ltd). Finally, an Iranian شرکت مختلط غیر سهامی (sherkat mokhtalet gheyr sahami) is similar to a limited partnership.
Before incorporating a company in Iran, you may wish to look at other options in Asia, as Iran’s political situation is not the most favourable for international trade.
Company formation procedure
As you will have gathered, choosing the right jurisdiction and business type within the framework of a wider corporate structure is not easy, but don’t worry — Confidus Solutions is here to help. Each of the above-mentioned states and dependencies has its own systems, and so it would be a difficult and time-consuming task to devise general guidelines for company registration. However, the company registration process is fairly uniform across most Middle-Eastern countries.
Choosing a jurisdiction
The location in which you establish your company (commonly known as its legal address) is quite an important decision that should be given careful consideration before you proceed to the next step. Confidus Solutions can provide you with extensive advice regarding trading laws, registration procedures and registration fees.
Ask us about due diligence once you have chosen the country in which you wish to establish or expand your business.
Choosing a company name
The company name is a key decision when preparing to incorporate a company. Some countries specify the language and script that must be used, and you should be aware that some charge government processing fees. You can rely on us to help you with due diligence for the country you are interested in.
This process ensures that the name you have selected is not in use by any other registered entity.
Once all the preparation steps are complete, we can move forward with registering the company with the government agency responsible for commercial activity within that country.
You will need several essential documents for this, including the company’s
articles of association, which lists the name, ownership details, shareholder details and administrative structure of the business entity. The articles of association (a.k.a. articles of incorporation) is a legal document that requires professional legal assistance to draft in compliance with all legal requirements.
Confidus Solutions’ team of lawyers will help here as well. In some countries, these documents must be reviewed by a notary public before they are signed.
Does your company provide tangible goods or services? If so, you will need to set up an extensive structure in order to process payments, circulate funds within the corporation and submit annual tax returns to the government.
An income tax is usually imposed by the government, and so your company must complete the relevant tax registration process and obtain a tax number, which is required by law. In most countries, registering for a tax number is a free or low-cost process.
Licences and permits
Additional licences might be needed if your company is involved in one of a number of specific industries that are regulated and monitored by the state. These might include silver mining, forest management or financial operations.
If this is the case, talk to us for advice on all the legal requirements your company will need to meet before your business starts operating commercially within a specific Middle-Eastern country. In addition to licences, certain permits may be required as well. Many businesses, for example, operate in one of the large number of industries requiring construction site or health permits.
When you are looking to register a company in Asia, we offer the whole package. Please be advised that the precise amount of investment required will depend solely on the nature and scope of the services you have in mind. Contact us now by email, phone or Skype.