Market Entry in Saudi Arabia

>> Legal Structures & Formalities in Saudi Arabia

Companies looking to enter the KSA market have a range of options with regard to building their presence:

  • Identifying and appointing an appropriate Agent within the country to pursue business development opportunities
  • Setting up a wholly-owned subsidiary
  • Forming a JV with a local partner

Agency agreements can be relatively straightforward and provide the fastest means of getting most products and services into the market.  There are many elements to take into account in selecting an agent, and a thorough due diligence process is always advised before entering into any agreement.

Forming a company in KSA is fulfilled through the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) who offer a relatively efficient process for international businesses that have a clear and profitable track record.  With solid preparation, in theory, a licence can be delivered with a few weeks.  However there are several steps in the process, any of which can cause delays.  Some sectors or products have restrictions or additional qualification hurdles that can significantly prolong the obtaining of a business licence- clarifying this early is crucial for setting expectations.

In broad terms the steps for setting up a subsidiary or JV in KSA are:

  • Commercial name registration with


  • Issuance of SAGIA Licence
  • Commercial registration through

Saudi Chamber of Commerce

  • Issuance of Industrial Licence through the Ministry of Commerce
  • Open GOSI File (Social Insurance)
  • Open ZAKAT File (KSA tax body)
  • Open Labour File (to hire staff)
  • Municipality approval (for premises)

Latest version updated 12th January 2018

Country Breakdown





Saudi Riyal


$ 646.4