Saudi Arabia simplifies licensing process for overseas investors

Saudi Arabia simplifies licensing process for overseas investors

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) is making the licencing procedure for foreign companies and entrepreneurs wishing to procure visas seamless.

Ayedh Al-Otaibi, Director General of Saudi Arabia’s System Development and Investment Procedures Administration, said that the authority had reduced the prerequisites and the time to obtain the visas to about five working days.

Documentation needs were shortened to a) a general resolution for investors to declare investment in the Arab nation; b) a description of the firm’s investment plan and its effects; and c) a document indicating the financial ability of the investor to execute its operations.

The authority will also give investors the opportunity to extend their licences for a period of 15 years.

SAGIA said it was concentrating on the construction sector in a bid to contain risk for overseas investors.

Henceforth, construction firms can exercise the choice to procure a three-year licence to take stock of the market and ramp up their abilities. They can then go for a renewable licence, in case they are sure that they are in a position to employ the minimum workforce required, procure equipment and fixed resources.

Other choices include letting an entity obtain a temporary licence to execute specific contracts with government/quasi-government institutions. Meanwhile, the firms can also apply for a temporary permit to carry out a single government project provided they adhere to established regulations and criteria.

Ayedh also said that visa requirements for the investor and general manager had been brought in accordance for exclusive ownership of a limited liability company or a branch of a limited liability overseas firm.

To be eligible for an application, the company’s functions need to fall under ‘innovative activities’, in addition to a valid patent as portion of their products.

The firm should be an exporter of goods that are in accordance with Saudi, GCC or international standards. Besides, it should have at least 50 employees of whom only 25 percent can be overseas nationals. Of these, 10 percent should be managers and 15 percent workers and technicians.

The paid-in capital of the firm must also be a minimum of SAR37.5 million.

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