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 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare Saudi Arabia to 189 other economies.

No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

Obtain husband's national identification card for national identification card

Agency: home

A woman needs to fill Form number 56/2 to obtain a national ID card which is specific to women. When obtaining an ID, a Saudi woman has to be identified by one of her male relatives like her father, brother, husband or son. Additionally, the National ID details of the relevant male relative has to be mentioned in the application for the National ID.
1 day No charge

Obtain husband's permission to leave the house and a driver

Agency: home

Although there is no clear regulation prohibiting women from driving, the state does not issue a driver's license to women, therefore she needs to get a driver to take her to the registry. Moreover, she is not entitled to financial alimony if she leaves the home without her husband's permission to leave the house as per Royal Decree No. 53 of 2012, Art. 75
1 day No charge

Hire a man to manage the business

Agency: Office

Resolution no. 120 (12 Rabi II 1425 AH) allows a woman to own a business. However, if the business will cater to female and male customers, it will need to be managed by a man.
1 day No charge

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

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

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.
3 days no charge

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

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

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 500 registration fee + SAR 650 publication of summary articles of association

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

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

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

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

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
* 15

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, a copy of the capital deposit certificate from a bank for Saudi companies, 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.

Applies to women only.