Qatar’s Provisional Commercial Licence
The Provisional Commercial Licence in Qatar
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) along with the Ministry of Labour (MoL) and the Ministry of Interior (MoI) have announced the launch of a provisional commercial licence in Qatar which will enable prospective business investors to proceed with administrative processes around company formation while waiting for a final commercial licence to be issued.
This licence will be valid for a period of one year and will be available for commercial activities such as hotels, health facilities and others. The licence will not apply to non-commercial office and administrative activities including contracting, limousine services or cleaning services. The new initiative will be available for companies wishing to establish a presence in Qatar or for companies looking to expand their existing activities.
The provisional licence reinforces Qatar’s ongoing effort to encourage Foreign Direct Investment and to support the private sector by easing the requirements of doing business in the country. The provisional licence was launched primarily to help companies avoid delays whilst awaiting special external approvals. It enables the administrative processes involved in incorporating an entity to proceed in advance of having the final commercial licence in place.
It is not possible to trade or begin operational activities under the provisional licence. However, it allows companies to:
- Complete banking requirements and open bank account(s) in Qatar
- Import raw materials
- Establish relationships and promote the business
- Issue employment visas and bring in their labour force
If required, it may be possible to extend the provisional licence beyond one year. However, this would require an additional approval from the relevant department.
Practicing the commercial activity/ activities will be prohibited until the final commercial licence is in place. In order to obtain the commercial licence, Civil Defence approval and other external approvals will be required. A construction completion certificate will also be required in the case that this has not already been submitted. Applicants can only practice the commercial activity after obtaining the approvals required by law by the relevant authority.
How to obtain the provisional commercial licence
In order to obtain a provisional commercial licence, the following will need to be submitted to the MoCI:
1. The provisional licence application form
2. A lease agreement acknowledgement form
3. A construction completion certification, a building permit or a contract with the State of Qatar
4. A copy of the applicant’s identity card
Once the provisional licence has been issued, a note shall be placed in the description confirming that the licence is valid for one year only from the date of issuance and that practicing the commercial activity is prohibited before all requirements are met.
The Ministry stressed the need to comply with Article No (19) of 2015 which states that the licence shall be revoked in the following cases:
- If the company makes an amendment to the business site or engages in any activity other than those listed on the licence and in the case that the relevant approvals are not obtained
- If the business is no longer able to operate or does not meet the conditions stated in the licence
Additionally, the Ministry confirmed the need to comply with Article No. (20) which states that the licence shall be revoked in cases other than those stipulated in the previous article, if the public interest so requires.
At a press conference held at the MoCI premises, the Director of Commercial Registration and Licences Department, Ayed al-Qahtain reiterated that the launch of the provisional licence contributes to the development of the business environment in Qatar. The initiative consolidates Qatar’s status as a regional and global hub for investment and helps to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030. He pointed out that the service will reduce the time taken for procedures and subsequently gives the investor adequate time to obtain the commercial licence and establish their business activities.
How can PRO Partner Group help?
PRO Partner Group/Venture Partner Qatar has an experienced team with in-depth knowledge of business practices in Qatar and close connections with key government departments.
We can advise if it is possible to apply for a provisional licence based on the activities that your entity conducts. We can then assist you with completion of all relevant documentation and follow up on your behalf on the issuance of the provisional licence. Venture Partner Qatar can also assist with the renewal of the provisional licence should this be required.
If you need assistance with obtaining a provisional commercial licence or any other related onshore or offshore company setup, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman, or Saudi Arabia, then please do get in touch with us on +974 4478 8765 Qatar or +971 4456 1761 Dubai , or alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.