How to Start a Business in Qatar as a Foreigner

20 February 2024



Starting a business in Qatar as a foreigner can be an exciting venture. The country's strategic location, business-friendly environment, and growing economy make it an attractive destination. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to start a business in Qatar as a foreigner.

Qatar has made significant strides in diversifying its economy beyond oil and gas. The government actively encourages foreign investment, creating opportunities for individuals looking to establish a business. However, navigating the regulatory landscape requires careful planning and adherence to legal procedures.

Before diving in, conduct thorough market research to understand the local demand, competition and cultural nuances. Identify a niche or service that aligns with Qatar's market needs. This step lays the foundation for a successful business strategy.

Selecting the right business structure is crucial. Foreigners in Qatar can establish businesses through various legal entities, such as With Limited Liability (WLL), Branch Office or Representative Office. Consulting Business advisors familiar with Qatari business laws will help in making an informed decision.

Compliance with legal procedures is essential. Foreign entrepreneurs must obtain the necessary permits and licenses to operate in Qatar. This includes registering the business with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Qatar Financial Centre, the Qatar Free Zones Authority, or Qatar Science Technology Park, and acquiring the necessary approvals from relevant authorities.

Business Registration Process

The business registration process involves several steps:

  • The business entrepreneur needs to understand the business activity that is going to operate in Qatar and accordingly, business advisors can advise which regime meets his objective. Selecting the best regime will avoid further challenges during the operation. 
  • Arrange and prepare a business overview about the business activities the company is going to operate in Qatar and a business plan. Then, the regulator can assess the application accordingly. 
  • Obtain Necessary Approvals: Gain approvals from relevant government bodies, such as the MOCI, QFC, QFZ, or QSTP, depending on the chosen regime that meets the entrepreneur objective.
  • Reserve a Trade Name: Choose a unique trade name and reserve it with the relevant regime
  • Draft Articles of Association: Create the Articles of Association outlining business activities, ownership structure and management details.
  • Register the Business: Complete the registration process, submit the required documents, and obtain the commercial registration certificate, trade license and computer card.
  • Obtain Necessary Visas and Permits: Foreign entrepreneurs need proper visas and permits to live and work in Qatar. Options include a Business Visa, Investor Visa or a Residence Permit tied to business ownership. Ensure compliance with immigration regulations to avoid legal issues.
  • Understand Taxation and Accounting: Qatar has a favourable tax environment for businesses, with low corporate tax rates as well as exemptions available, depending on your business type, ownership and other factors. Consult with a local tax specialist to plan your tax strategy.

Starting a business in Qatar as a foreigner requires thorough planning, compliance with legal procedures, and a deep understanding of the local market. By conducting comprehensive research, adhering to regulations and utilising local professional help, entrepreneurs can establish a successful business. At HLB AG, we are uniquely positioned to provide all the business setup support you need with a highly-experienced team well versed in local laws and regulations.


©2023 Antonio Ghaleb and Partner CPA and HLB AG-Members of HLB. All rights reserved. These highlights have been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only and do not constitute professional advice. You should obtain professional advice before taking action on the information contained in these highlights. Antonio Ghaleb and Partner CPA and its employees do not give any representation or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in these highlights. Antonio Ghaleb and Partner CPA and its employees do not assume any responsibility, liability, duty of care for any negative consequences that may result in reliance to these highlights and for any decision based on them.

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