FREEZONES:
QATAR

Company formation in Qatar free zones is increasing in popularity as it offers investors clear 'tax holidays' in comparison to its GCC neighbors. The Freezones in Qatar - Qatar Free Zone (QFZ), Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) and Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).

About Free Zone Companies in Qatar

Qatar, recently ranked by Forbes in the top 40 best countries for business, is fast becoming one of the best places to expand your business.

To set up in Qatar, there are several key stages to be considered in developing a successful entry strategy to include; in-depth market research, developing a business plan, determining the right commercial structure, understanding the laws & regulations and finally considering implications of tax in Qatar.

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Qatar Free Zone Company Setup & Registration

Qatar is rapidly establishing itself as a key business hub in the Middle East, driven by its strategic development of specialised free trade and economic zones. These zones are designed to attract foreign investment and boost economic diversification, aligning with Qatar's broader goals to expand its economic footprint beyond traditional sectors. By offering compelling incentives and advanced infrastructure, Qatar's free zones provide a fertile ground for businesses looking to tap into the region's dynamic markets.

The primary governing body, Qatar Free Zone Authority (QFZA), oversees two primary free zones: Ras Bufontas and Umm Alhoul. The additional prominent zones that contribute to the country’s economic landscape are The Qatar Science and Technology Park and Qatar Financial Centre, however, QFC is not technically classified as a free zone.

Why Setup in a Qatar Free Zone?

If you are looking at how to start a company in Qatar or where to setup in Qatar, you should be considering the freezone options. In Qatar there are few legal company formation options including the Free Zones which makes the decision process much simpler than in many other GCC countries.

Free zones are designated areas whereby foreign companies can set up businesses, assuring them of a certain degree of autonomy over their enterprise. Free zones are common in Gulf countries and are often grouped for specific industries, such as media or technology. Freezones in Qatar, each have their own focus and advantages.

Free Zone Company: Qatar's main ‘free zones’

  1. Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Read more
  2. Qatar Free Zone (QFZ) Read more
  3. Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP)

QFC is not a true free zone as, although it offers 100% ownership, corporation tax applies at the same rate for mainland companies. There are also restrictions on activities in QFC, no ‘trading’ (sales and import) for example but you are allowed to do business in Qatar mainland, and this is particularly useful for service-based companies.

QFZ is a freezone under the Qatar Free Zone Authority (QFZA). There are currently three free zones operating under the QFZA and all are within 30 minutes of the country’s capital, Doha. QFZ has 100% ownership and a zero-tax regime, however, this free zone appeals to only a small number of specialised businesses. It should be borne in mind that as a general rule, government contracts are not awarded to companies that are not mainland companies with a local Qatari partner.

Benefits of the Qatar Freezones

Setting up a business in Qatar freezones offers core advantage such as 100% foreign ownership. Whilst this is key, there are limitations in accessing the free zones in Qatar and the success of your application will depend on your business activities. There may also be restrictions on where you can operate from and where/whom in Qatar you can conduct business with.

Top 5 things to consider before choosing a Qatar free zone:

  • Purpose of the company / business activities
  • Activity in mainland Qatar
  • Location
  • Lease facility requirements
  • Number of Visas required
  • Budget for setting-up

Qatar freezones represent an excellent option for foreign investors. They are considered separate from the domestic state ‘mainland’ area with regards to legal requirements and customs rules and as such have distinct benefits, including:

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 0% Corporate tax
  • Full capital repatriation
  • Zero customs duties on imports
  • Modern digital infrastructure
  • Flexible structuring options
  • A transparent, business friendly legal environment
  • Access to an investment fund for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs)
  • Numerous joint venture and partnership opportunities

They are mainly focused on three key sectors: logistics, technology and chemicals, where Qatar can provide unique advantages over other foreign investment destinations.

How can we help?

We understand that entering and developing in new markets is challenging. We can help you identify the correct legal entity for your business and assist you with all relevant PRO Services, such as Staff Visas, Immigration and Labour matters, and all relevant company licensing, corporate structuring and corporate governance.

If you need assistance in setting up a free zone company in Qatar, and for further information on any other related company setup, local partner or PRO service matter in Qatar, do get in touch with us on +974 4478 8765, email us at info@propartnergroup.com or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Type of free zones operating in Qatar

Qatar Free Zone FAQs
What is the difference between a Qatar Free Zone (QFZ) and Mainland company in Qatar?

The main key differences between the free zone and mainland jurisdiction companies are surrounding where they are allowed to operate, conduct business, and what activities they are permitted to engage with. Additionally, companies operating in the mainland are required to pay corporate tax, whereas companies operating in the free zones might benefit from tax holidays.

What are the fees for Qatar Free Zone (QFZ) set up?

The initial government fee to set up in QFZ is QAR 11,000, which is comprised of QAR 300 for the application, QAR 5,000 registration fee and QAR 5,700 annual licence fee.

What are the benefits of the Qatar Free Zone Companies?

Setting up in a free zone offers many benefits to a company including:

  1. 100% foreign ownership
  2. 0% corporate tax - renewable for 20 years (tax holidays)
  3. Full capital repatriation
  4. Zero customs duties on imports
  5. No personal income tax
  6. Mix of pre-built, land lease, flexible office space options to suit your current and future development plans

Whilst these are key, there are limitations in accessing the free zones and the application success can be dependant on business activity and your business plan.

What are the requirements for setting up in QFZ?

To start a business in QFZ there are 2 main steps – the application and the registration stages. Both are handled with the Qatar Free Zone Authority (QFZA) or through a service provider such as PRO Partner Group (PPG). PPG can act as an agent and main point of contact in assisting with set up and liaison with QFZA ensuring correct and timely set up.

What are the free zones in Qatar?

There are currently two main free zones in Qatar and all are within 30 minutes of the capital, Doha. The two free zones are: Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) and Qatar Free Zone Authority (QFZA), which oversees Ras Bufonas Free Zone and Umm AlHoul Free Zone.

Qatar Financial Centre is not recognised as a free zone but as an onshore platform for foreign investors.

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