Saudi Arabia

Starting a Business in

Saudi Arabia

Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Saudi Arabia. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 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 2015.

Compare Saudi Arabia to 188 other economies.

  • Standardized Company

  • Legal form: Limited Liability Company
  • Paid-in minimum capital requirement: SAR 0
  • City: Riyadh
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Reserve a company name
Agency: Ministry of Commerce and Industry

The name reservation is valid for 2 months and can also be done completely online through the website of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Less than one day (online procedure) no charge
2 Submit the articles of association to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for Authentication
Agency: Unified Center (UC)/Companies Department

The articles of association (AOA) must be submitted to the Unified Center/Companies Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI). Submission is now done online.

Once approved by the Companies Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the approved documents bearing the stamp of the Ministry and the official correspondence referring the applicant to the Notary will have to be collected personally.
Less than one day (online procedure) no charge
3 Receive the Ministry of Commerce and Industry's stamp on the articles of association (AOA) and Notarize the AOA with a Notary public
Agency: Notary

The notary public is located in the same building of the UC. After the articles of association are submitted online to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, it takes a few days for MOCI to review electronically submitted AOA and for the person to come on-site and get it stamped, as well as retrieve the letter of capital deposit from MOCI.

An appointment with the notary is then scheduled. The notary public reviews all the documents to make sure that they are complete. Currently, the notary public reviews up to 15 companies per day. The notary’s office consists of about 5-6 employees.
1 week no charge
4 Open an "under-formation" bank account
Agency: Bank

The entrepreneur applies for opening an "under-formation" company bank account at a bank of choice. After the certificate of registration is issued, the company founders go back to the bank to unblock their capital deposit and activate their bank account.
1 day no charge
5 Obtain a Business Location License from the Municipality and Register with Post Office “Wasel”
Agency: Municipality of Riyadh and Post Office

The business location must be registered with the municipality of Riyadh with an identification code number. Every shop must be licensed and the main location of the business is included in its certificate of registration. In addition, in order to register with the Ministry of Labor, the company must also register its address with the Post Office "Wasel".
1 day no charge
6 Pay the registration fee at the Bank window within the same building of the Unified Center
Agency: Bank

The registration fee can be paid at the bank that is set up at the UC.
1 day SAR 1,200 registration fee + SAR 650 publication of summary articles of association
7 Submit the approved documents and Obtain the Certificate of Registration
Agency: Unified Center (UC)/Companies Department

All notarized documents must be submitted at another window at the UC in order to be entered into the database. These include the certificate of capital deposit and the articles of association, together with 2 applications and one undertaking. The certificate of registration will then be issued within 2 days. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recently launched online certificate of registration issuance service, however, the company documents must still be submitted in person and the certificate picked-up in person.
2 days no charge
8 Make a company seal
Agency: Seal maker

The seal must include the Certificate of Registration number and the name of the company. It costs around SAR 40-50 to make. It is needed to attest signatories at the Chamber of Commerce, register with the General Organization for Social Insurance and for the companies’ invoices. It is commonly used in practice.
1 day SAR 50
9 Designate company signatories and pay the Chamber of Commerce membership fee
Agency: Chamber of Commerce

This fee can be paid in the same building of the UC. The company signatories must be approved and their signatures attested before the Chamber of Commerce. The documents must be physically submitted to Chamber of Commerce office. The physical collection of the certificate must be completed at MOCI.
1 day SAR 2,000 Chamber of Commerce fee
10 Register with the Ministry of Labor
Agency: Ministry of Labor

In order to register with the Ministry of Labor, the company must submit its certificate of registration, articles of association, Chamber of Commerce attested signatories and the business location license. Registration with the Ministry of Labor is needed to register with the General Organization for Social Insurance.
1 day no charge
11 Register with the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI)
Agency: General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI)

To register for social security insurance, the employer must open a file with the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI). This procedure can partially be done online as follows:

The employer visits GOSI’s website, completes an application and provides the company's Ministry of Labor number. He/she then prints the application and submits it to GOSI in person to complete the registration. The application must be stamped with a company seal. In addition, the location of the entity (business location license) and the designation of the authorized person to represent the company before GOSI must be included.

Upon presence on-site at GOSI, the ID of the authorized person is validated and checked, a username and password is then issued to the company. The Certificate of GOSI is also issued and may be picked up on-site. The number that GOSI gives the employer is different from his/her Ministry of Labor number. The employer enters username and password and registers the employees with their IDs, wages, occupation, nationality, date of commencement and location.
2 days no charge
* 12 Register with the Department of Zakat
Agency: Zakat

Zakat, a religious wealth tax, is assessed based on taxable income and certain assets. To register with DZIT, the employer will visit DZIT's website and complete an online application, attaching the Certificate of Registration and the details of the authorized person/signatory of the company. The authorized signatures must be certified by the Chamber of Commerce. Then, the employer receives a unique ID number. The Certificate of Zakat will be issued and sent by mail and email within 2-3 days. This certificate is needed for the company to participate in tender offers and government contracts, among others.
3 days, simultaneous with previous procedure no charge
  * Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.

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