Saudi Arabia is rapidly transforming its economy to meet the goals of the ambitious Vision 2030 plan, which aims to reduce the country's dependence on oil revenues and diversify its economy. To this end, the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia, also known as MISA, is actively encouraging foreign investment in the country by streamlining the process of setting up a business. The new policies implemented by MISA allow international businesses to obtain commercial licenses with minimal paperwork, without the need for any local partnerships with Saudi citizens.
If you are considering expanding your business to Saudi Arabia, obtaining a MISA license is your entry ticket. Here's everything you need to know about the MISA license and how TASC can help you with your business setup process.
What Is A Misa License And Why Do You Need One?
Formerly known as the SAGIA license, the MISA license allows complete foreign ownership of businesses in Saudi Arabia without any local sponsors or restraints on capital. This means that you retain full control over your business operations and profits, making it a highly attractive option for foreign investors.
What Are The Advantages Of Choosing A MISA License For Your Business?Obtaining a MISA license is the most efficient and effective way to enter the Saudi market. Here are some reasons why:
Quick And Seamless Process: The MISA license application process is quick and streamlined, enabling you to set up your business in Saudi Arabia in a matter of weeks.
Complete Ownership: With a MISA license, you are the sole proprietor of your business, allowing you to make decisions without any input from local partners.
Access To Loans: As a MISA license holder, you will be eligible to apply for loans across the region, opening up new avenues for business growth and expansion.
No Repatriation Limitations: There are no limitations on the amount of revenue you can repatriate from your business in Saudi Arabia, enabling you to maximize profits and reinvest in your business.
No Local Sponsor Required: With a MISA license, you can operate in the Saudi market without the need for a local sponsor.
Simplifying the MISA License Application Process
To obtain a MISA license, the following documents are required:
1. Certified copy of the commercial registration of the shareholding partner from the Saudi Embassy and a copy of the national ID card of the partner if they are a GCC citizen (if their data is not registered in the ABSHAR system).
2. Financial statements of the foreign company for the previous financial year, certified by the Saudi Embassy.
Company Structures in Saudi Arabia: Which One is Right for You?
Limited Liability Company (LLC) - 100% Foreign Ownership Allowed Via MISA
Foreign investors often choose a Limited Liability Company (LLC) when entering the Saudi Arabian (KSA) market. The LLC limits personal liability for each shareholder to their contribution to the share capital.
The LLC is a popular legal entity type for foreign investors and is widely used in the Kingdom. The Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) allows foreign ownership of a company without a local partner and with minimal government restrictions. A business needs to register with MISA to establish a 100% foreign-owned company in Saudi Arabia.
Limited Liability One-Person Company
Now, a Single Shareholder Limited Liability Company can be set up in Saudi Arabia, which means that an LLC can be established by a single shareholder holding 100% of the shares, with the rights and powers of General Manager, Board of Directors, and Shareholders General Assembly. The individual shareholder is liable for the company, but their liability is limited to their contribution to the share capital if their intentions and practices are appropriate.
Joint Stock Company In KSA
A Joint Stock Company (JSC) is likely the most regulated company type in Saudi Arabia, with regulatory requirements for incorporation and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry's (MOCI) degree of control/ involvement. The liability of each shareholder in a JSC is limited to their contribution to the share capital.
Foreign Company Branch Setup In KSA
These branches are considered an extension of the parent company. Compared to LLCs and JSCs, branches can be established relatively quickly.
MISA licenses branches to perform a full range of activities, including engaging in public and private sector projects and promoting/ soliciting MISA-licensed activities throughout the Kingdom. However, branches are not allowed to conduct promotion, marketing, or trading activities.
Solidarity Professional Company/ Sole Establishment In KSA
An establishment is a sole proprietorship in Saudi Arabia that is suitable for small businesses. An individual/ sole trader owns the establishment and is personally liable for its activities. The license is issued in their name, and a company or corporate body cannot own the business. The sole proprietorship refers to the personally liable business owner.
Sectors In KSA Requiring Local Sponsors
Certain business sectors or industries require additional approvals from relevant government departments. If your business operates in one of the restricted industries, you may need to obtain approval before or after applying for a MISA license. These sectors include:
It is best to look for local advice before commencing the process of business setup in Saudi Arabia.
Take Control Of Your Business With TASC
Navigating the process of obtaining the MISA license and setting up a business in Saudi Arabia can be challenging for those who are not familiar with the regulations and procedures. That's where TASC comes in. Our strong partnership with MISA enables us to provide you with 360-degree assistance, from developing an in-depth understanding of the Saudi market to finding and hiring competent Saudis and expat talent.
With over 15+ years of local and global experience, our business setup experts can help you set up your business according to the latest legal requirements. Curious to learn more?
Get in touch with our business setup experts now to launch your operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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