Qatar Business Setup Experts at Your Service

Welcome to QShield, your dedicated partner in making your business aspirations come to life in the thriving State of Qatar. With our expert guidance and seamless services, setting up your company in this dynamic market has never been easier.

We are your premier government relations service provider in Qatar. With extensive expertise and a deep understanding of Qatar’s regulatory landscape, we are dedicated to helping businesses navigate complexities and unlock growth opportunities.

Business structures in Qatar

LLC (Limited Liability Company)

An LLC is a business structure that provides limited liability protection to its owners, known as members. This means that the personal assets of the members are separate from the company’s liabilities, protecting their personal wealth in case of business debts or legal issues. LLCs can have one or more members, and they are common in various industries due to their flexibility and liability protection.

WLL (With Limited Liability)

WLL is a business structure commonly used in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including Qatar. It is similar to an LLC and offers limited liability protection to its shareholders. WLL companies typically require a local Qatari partner or sponsor, who holds at least 51% of the shares. The foreign investor can own the remaining shares. This structure allows foreign investors to conduct business in Qatar with the support of a local partner.

A representative office

Also known as a liaison office, is a type of business presence that foreign companies can establish in Qatar. Unlike branch companies or subsidiaries, representative offices do not engage in commercial activities or generate revenue. Instead, their primary purpose is to act as a communication and coordination center between the parent company and potential clients, partners, or government entities in Qatar.

Branch company

It is a type of business structure where a foreign company establishes a presence in the country without creating a separate legal entity. Establishing a branch company in Qatar can be a suitable option for foreign companies looking to expand their presence in the country without creating a separate legal entity. However, it is essential to consider the local legal requirements, taxation, and compliance aspects before proceeding with this business structure. Consulting with local legal and business experts is recommended to navigate the establishment process and ensure compliance with all regulations.

Here’s an overview of branch companies in Qatar:

Legal Status: A branch company is not a separate legal entity but an extension of the parent company. As a result, the parent company is fully responsible for the obligations and liabilities of the branch.
Ownership: The ownership of the branch company is held by the parent company located outside of Qatar. The parent company retains full control over the branch’s operations.
Activities: The branch company can only engage in activities that are similar to those of the parent company. The scope of activities must be stated clearly in the branch’s registration documents.
Local Sponsorship: To establish a branch company in Qatar, a local Qatari service agent is required. The local sponsor does not have ownership or control over the branch’s operations but assists in administrative and legal matters.
Licensing: The branch company must obtain the necessary licenses and approvals from the relevant authorities in Qatar to carry out its activities.
Profit Repatriation: Branch companies are allowed to repatriate profits to the parent company outside of Qatar subject to local tax regulations.

Types of Businesses In Qatar

In Qatar, there are two primary types of companies: mainland companies and free zone companies. Each type has its advantages and limitations, and the choice between them depends on the nature of the business and the objectives of the company. Here are the main differences between mainland and free zone companies in Qatar:


Free Zone

Mainland companies require a local Qatari partner or sponsor who holds at least 51% of the company’s shares. The foreign investor can own the remaining 49% but does not have full control over the company.
Ownership: Free zone companies allow 100% foreign ownership, which means the investor has full control over the company without the need for a local partner.
Business Activities
Mainland companies can conduct business anywhere in Qatar and are not restricted to specific areas or zones.
Free zone companies are limited to conducting business only within the designated free zone area and cannot engage in commercial activities outside the zone.
Mainland companies can set up their offices or establishments in any location within Qatar.
Free zone companies must operate within the boundaries of the specific free zone they are registered in.
Trading in Local Market
Mainland companies can freely trade with both local and international markets without any restrictions.
Free zone companies are restricted from selling goods or services directly to the local Qatari market. They can only trade with other free zone companies or international markets.
Labor and Immigration Laws
Mainland companies must follow the local labor and immigration laws, including hiring a certain percentage of Qatari nationals based on their workforce size.
Free zone companies have more flexibility in hiring expatriate employees and are subject to different labor and immigration regulations compared to mainland companies.
Tax Benefits
Mainland companies may not be eligible for certain tax incentives available to free zone companies.
Free zone companies often enjoy tax incentives and exemptions, including corporate tax exemptions and customs duty exemptions on imported goods.

Steps to Setting Up a Company in Qatar 

Opening a company in Qatar involves several steps and procedures. Here’s a general overview of the process:


  1. Business Idea and Market Research:

Begin by developing a clear business idea and conducting market research to assess the feasibility and potential demand for your product or service in Qatar. Understanding the local market will help you tailor your business plan accordingly.


  1. Legal Structure and Business Activity:

Choose the appropriate legal structure for your company. Options include a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Branch of a Foreign Company, or a Representative Office. Determine the primary business activity your company will engage in, as this will affect your licensing requirements.


  1. Company Name Reservation:

Select a unique and appropriate name for your company and submit it to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) for name reservation. This step ensures that your desired name is available and can be used for your business.


  1. Shareholders Agreement:

If your company will have multiple shareholders, draft a shareholders’ agreement outlining the rights and responsibilities of each shareholder.


  1. Memorandum of Association (MOA):

Prepare the Memorandum of Association, which defines the company’s objectives, activities, and the shareholders’ roles. This document needs to be notarized and approved by the MOCI.


  1. Local Sponsorship:

If setting up an LLC, you will need a local Qatari sponsor who will hold 51% of the company’s shares. The sponsor can be an individual or a company.


  1. Trade License Application:

Submit the required documents, including the MOA, lease agreement for the company’s premises, and other relevant paperwork, to the MOCI to apply for a trade license.


  1. Registration with Commercial Registry:

Register your company with the Commercial Registry at the MOCI to obtain your official registration certificate.


  1. Obtaining Commercial Registration:

After obtaining the trade license and registration certificate, apply for Commercial Registration with the Ministry of Finance. This step is necessary for tax purposes.


  1. Municipality Approval and Labor Department Registration:

Obtain approvals from the Municipality for the company’s physical location, and register your company with the Labor Department to comply with labor regulations.


  1. Chamber of Commerce Registration:

Register your company with the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry to become a member.


  1. VAT Registration (if applicable):

If your company’s annual turnover exceeds the threshold for Value Added Tax (VAT) registration, apply for a VAT registration number.