Qatar Financial Centre (QFC)

Qatar Financial Centre (QFC)

- Yuliya Ihnatsenka

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), situated in Doha, Qatar's capital, is a prominent global hub for business and finance. Its onshore platform serves as a gateway for expansion into and out of the Middle East. Established in 2005, the QFC's initial purpose was to create an environment exclusively attractive to international and domestic financial service institutions, supporting their operations.

However, QFC has expanded its scope and now welcomes business registration applications from various service providers beyond the financial sector. This includes recruitment, sports, management consultancy, and entertainment. The objective to add variety and diversify Qatar's economy while growing the financial services sector within the country.

QFC Company Formation

Within the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), there are several entity types available for establishment, which include:

1. Limited Liability Company (LLC) -

    A Limited Liability Company combines features of both a corporation and a partnership. Granting limited liability protection to its owners (known as members) while offering management flexibility and advantageous tax treatment.

    2. Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

    3. Branches of LLCs and LLPs

    4. Limited Liability Company (Guarantee) - LLC (G)

    5. Foundations -

      The businesses operating within QFC Qatar are subject to regulation by the Qatar Financial Center Authority. This authority is entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing and governing the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), ensuring its effective operation as a top-tier global business and financial hub. The establishment of the QFC Authority is aimed at managing regulatory frameworks, dispute resolution, licensing, supervision and compliance, as well as the promotion and development of activities within the QFC.

      License Options within QFC

      In the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), a range of licenses is available to accommodate various business activities:

      Non-Regulated Business Activity Licenses:

      • Corporate Solutions
      • Family Offices
      • Ship Broking & Shipping Agents
      • Professional and Business Services
      • Classification Services & Investment Grading
      • Companies Limited by Guarantee
      • Other Grading Services

      Financial Services Licenses: Financial services in QFC are subject to regulation and include the following activities:

      • Banking
      • Asset Management
      • Insurance/ Reinsurance
      • Islamic Finance
      • Alternative Finance
      • Fund Administration, Advisory, and Fiduciary Businesses
      • Representative Office

      These licenses provide a comprehensive framework to enable diverse business activities while ensuring that financial services operate under regulatory oversight within the QFC.

      Incorporation Process in QFC Simplified

      The process of establishing your presence in QFC has been significantly streamlined, as you can conveniently submit and monitor your application using the QFC Qatar app.

      Businesses planning to set up in QFC should follow these straightforward steps for incorporation:

      1. Begin by submitting an expression of interest form to initiate the setup process in QFC.
      2. If applying for non-regulated business activities, complete the online application form.
      3. Upon review of your application form, and if it meets the requirements, you'll receive the entity certificate along with the scope of the license.
      4. Once you have received the scope of the license and the licensing letter, you're authorized to commence your operations.
      5. After incorporation, take consideration of the subsequent steps, like establishing a presence on the QFC online portal, applying for a computer card for immigration, and opening a Qatar corporate bank account.

      PRO Partner Group is available to provide comprehensive assistance throughout the entire incorporation process in QFC, as well as further support services aimed at simplifying the acquisition of all post-incorporation necessities, including immigration support and assistance with bank account opening.

      Post-Registration Procedures in QFC:

      1. Gain access to the QFC E-services portal.
      2. Apply for a business computer card to meet immigration requirements.
      3. Establish a corporate bank account.
      4. Acquire office space within QFC's designated building and share the registered office agreement with the monitoring department.
      5. Initiate the immigration process for your employees.
      6. Register for taxes online, with the issuance of your tax card expected within 10 days.
      7. Ensure the completion of Senior Executive Function (SEF) residency within 3 months.
      8. File the annual return and submit the UBO (Ultimate Beneficial Owner) annual report on the registration anniversary.
      9. Submit the annual financial statement.
      10. File the annual tax return, with both the filing and payment of taxes due within 6 months following the end of the accounting period.

      Prominent Features of Qatar Financial Center (QFC):

      1. Onshore Jurisdiction: QFC serves as an onshore jurisdiction, enabling companies registered in both QFC and Qatar to align with international legal and tax standards.
      2. Regulatory Framework: QFC has a distinct legal and regulatory framework, based on English common law. Boasting an autonomous financial regulator, the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA), oversees and regulates financial activities in QFC.
      3. Tax Advantages: Businesses within QFC enjoy several tax benefits, notably a 10% flat corporate tax rate on locally generated profits. Employees in QFC have absence of personal income tax benefits.
      4. Foreign Ownership: QFC permits foreign entities to fully own their businesses within its boundaries, creating a favorable environment for international investors and companies.
      5. Versatile Business Opportunities: QFC caters to an extensive array of financial and non-financial business activities. Including asset management, banking, investment advisory services, insurance, as well as legal, consulting, and accounting services.
      6. Modern Infrastructure: QFC offers contemporary office spaces, cutting-edge infrastructure, and access to top-tier services, ensuring it fulfills the diverse needs of businesses within its premises.
      7. Global Connectivity: Positioned strategically, Qatar boasts exceptional global connectivity, facilitated by its modern airport and seaport. Making it an enticing location for enterprises aiming to establish a presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

      QID Renewal Assistance for QFC Registered Companies

      PRO Partner Group offers valuable support to clients with companies registered in the Qatar Financial Center (QFC) for the renewal of their employees' residence permits, available for a duration of 1 to 3 years. Our expertise ensures swift approval from the Ministry of Interior (MOI), often securing approval within 24 hours.

      The comprehensive scope of work provided by the PRO Partner Group team for QID renewal includes:

      1. Collection of the expired QID from the client's premises.
      2. Submission of the RP renewal request in the QFC portal.
      3. Delivery of the expired QID to QFC authorities.
      4. Ongoing hourly follow-up with both MOI and QFC regarding the acceptance of the requested RP duration.
      5. Adjustment of the request as necessary until the issuance of the new QID.
      6. Collection of the new QID from QFC on behalf of the client.
      7. Delivery of the new QID to the client's premises.

      How can PRO Partner Group assist?

      PRO Partner Group can assist clients with incorporation in Qatar Financial Centre. The process of how to start a company in Qatar can be complex to navigate and deciding which freezone to incorporate in can cause confusion. Setting up a business in Qatar's QFC has been developed to be easily accessible. PRO Partner Group can assist businesses with set up in Qatar QFC and all the continued support services required from licensing, bank account opening assistance, visa and PRO support for employers and employees.

      Find out more about QFC

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