Kuwait

Starting a Business in

Kuwait

Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Kuwait. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with up to 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2013.

Compare Kuwait to 188 other economies.

  • Standardized Company

  • Legal Form: Limited Liability company (WLL)
  • Paid in Minimum Capital Requirement: KWD 10,000
  • City: Kuwait City
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Register at the Department of Companies of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI)

To register, the entrepreneur must submit a completed standard application form to the Department of Companies of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), accompanied by the following documents:
1. Copy of the entrepreneur's identity card (ID)
2. Certificate issued by the Social Security Authority attesting that the Kuwaiti partners are not civil servants
3. Lease contract, a receipt of rent payment, and a certificate from the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) confirming that the premises are registered with PACI

The completed application must include the names of the founding partners and their respective shares; the capital, scope and objective of the company; and the name of the manager.
Once the application is approved, it is stamped and signed by the Department of Companies, and allocated a reference number. The MOCI electronically sends an inspection request to the Municipality to proceed with the inspection of the company premises at the relevant point of incorporation process. The MOCI also sends a request to the Ministry of Interior to run background checks verifying that the founding partners do not have a criminal record.

1 day no charge
2 Reserve a unique company name

The entrepreneur submits a company name reservation application to the Commercial Registry. The Commercial Registry searches the computer database to ensure that the proposed company name(s) does not already exist or resemble other reserved names. The Commercial Registry has certain guidelines to follow with respect to the company name selection, such as: the chosen name must not be in breach of "public morals." Once approved, the Commercial Registry issues a letter confirming the proposed name and reserves it for 3 months.
1 day no charge
3 Retrieve the letter addressed to the bank from the Department of Companies

The entrepreneur must return to the Department of Companies to retrieve the necessary letter addressed to the commercial bank of choice where the paid-in capital of the company will be deposited.
The Department of Companies may further issue additional letters addressed to different government authorities depending on the scope and activity of the company in order to obtain their approval of the company formation. For example, for restaurants and food establishments, a letter addressed to the Ministry of Health is issued; for the oil industry, a letter addressed to the Ministry of Oil and Energy is issued, and so forth.
1 day no charge
4 Deposit the capital at the bank and obtain proof thereof

In deference to the Department of Companies' letter, the bank open an account in the name of the company with the term "under formation" annexed to the account. The deposited capital remains frozen until the bank receives the notarized deed of incorporation and the commercial license of the company, following which the term "under formation" is removed and the account is activated. The bank issues a deposit certificate in the name of the company addressed to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, detailing the amount deposited by each partner against his/her share in the company.
1 day no charge
5 Receive inspection of the company premises by the Municipality

Once the municipality receives the request for inspection of the company premises from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, it contacts the entrepreneur to schedule an inspection date in order to verify that the premises comply with municipal health and safety regulations. This includes an inspection by the Fire Department to check for compliance with fire regulations. If the company premises successfully pass inspection, the municipality issues a certificate of no objection in the name of the company, allowing the use of the indicated premises as the company location. This process usually takes 5 to 14 days.
5 - 14 days no charge
6 Obtain the approval of the memorandum of association from the Department of Companies

The entrepreneur proceeds to the Department of Companies to submit the draft memorandum of association. If the entrepreneur does not use the standard form of the memorandum of association, the amendments or additions to the standard memorandum must be accepted by the MOCI before it approves the company incorporation.
Once the final draft is signed, the Department of Companies issues a letter addressed to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) requesting the authentication of the company incorporation, accompanied by the draft memorandum of association.
1 day no charge
7 Notarize the memorandum of association before a public notary

The entrepreneur submits the draft memorandum of association along with Department of Companies' letter and the bank capital deposit certificate to the Notary Public Department at the Ministry of Justice. The officer verifies that the required documents are complete and schedules an appointment for signing before the notary public at the Company Formation Department of the Ministry of Justice, during which the memorandum of association is signed by the founding partners and notarized on the set date in 3 originals: one for the company, one for the Ministry of Justice, and one to be field with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
2 days KWD 2 for the first page of the Memorandum and KWD 1 for every subsequent page
8 Register with the Commercial Registry

The entrepreneur files a signed and notarized copy of the memorandum of association at the Department of Companies of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. A copy thereof is then submitted to the Commercial Registry and a certificate of registration is obtained. The certificate of registration includes the company's full name and commercial registration number.
1 day KWD 7
9 Obtain the commercial license from the Department of Companies

Once the commercial registration certificate is issued, the entrepreneur obtains the commercial license from the Department of Companies.
2 days KWD 30
10 Register with the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The company must apply for membership at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry by submitting copies of its commercial license and memorandum of association, and filling out a specimen signature form signed by the company's authorized signatories. The membership is a pre-requisite to dealing with other government authorities, banks and participation in public tenders.
1 day KWD 82 for registration and KWD 55 for annual renewal
11 Register with Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI)

The company must register with the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) in order to obtain a civil number, which is required in dealing with other governmental bodies.
15 days KWD 5
* 12 Register at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

The Ministry of Labor may inspect the premises to determine whether the size of the company premises and its business scope are commensurate with the number of employees declared at the Ministry.
15 days (simultaneous with procedure 11) no charge
* Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.

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