Kuwait company registration

Kuwait company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN KUWAIT

Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has been efficiently and effectively assisting our Clients with i) Kuwait business registration ii) business licensing iii) Kuwait business banking solutions iv) visa options and staff recruitment strategies and v) workspace rental solutions.

Summary51% LLCWholly foreign owned LLCFree Zone LLCLLPBranch officeAgency AgreementRepresentative Office
Best use of company?Trading products and servicesManufacturing activitiesManufacturing and distributionProfessional ServicesFor a specific projectTrading products and servicesMarket research
Legally tax exempt if properly structured?NoYesYesYesYesNoYes
Corporate bank account location?HSBC KuwaitCitibank KuwaitGulf Bank KuwaitNational Bank of KuwaitCommercial bank of KuwaitHSBC KuwaitHSBC Kuwait
How soon can you legally invoice Clients'?4 months5 months5 months5 months4 months1 month4 months
You need a local Kuwaiti citizen as a sponsor?YesNoYesYesYesYesYes
Wholly foreign owned entity?NoYesYesNoYesNoYes
Must appoint a Kuwaiti as bank signatory?NoNoNoNoNoYesNo
Security deposit to be kept with Government?NoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Client must travel to the Middle East?NoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Can secure trade finance?YesYesYesNoYesNoNo
Limited liability entity?YesYesYesYesNoYesNo
Average total engagement costs?US$47,175US$57,175US$48,665US$57,175US$43,875US$33,300US$43,875
Average total engagement period?5 months6 months6 months6 months5 months2 months5 months
Accounting and tax considerations51% LLCWholly foreign owned LLCFree Zone LLCLLPBranch officeAgency AgreementRepresentative Office
Statutory corporation tax payable?15%15%0%15%0%15%0%
Must file an annual Kuwait tax return?YesYesNoYesNoYesNo
Must file annual financial statements?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Must appoint an auditor?YesYesYesYesNoNoYes
Investment income is legally tax exempt?YesYesYesYesYesNoNo
Access to double taxation treaties?YesYesNoYesYesYesYes
Legally tax exempt entity?NoYesYesYesYesNoYes
Company registration51% LLCWholly foreign owned LLCFree Zone LLCLLPBranch officeAgency AgreementRepresentative Office
GCC resident director/manager required?NoNoNoNoYesNoYes
Minimum number of shareholders/partners?2225Parent companyNoParent company
Maximum shareholding for foreigners?49%100%100%99%100%No100%
Minimum number of directors/managers?11111No1
Minimum paid up share capital?US$3,300US$3,300US$3,300US$3,300000
Foreign investors need govt. approval?NoYesNoNoYesNoNo
Shelf companies available?YesYesNoNoNoNoNo
Time to incorporate a new entity?4 months5 months5 months5 months4 months1 month4 months
Can have preference shareholders?YesYesYesYesParent companyNoParent company
Business considerations51% LLCWholly foreign owned LLCFree Zone LLCLLPBranch officeAgency AgreementRepresentative Office
Can invoice local customers?YesYesNoYesYesYesNo
Can hire local staff?YesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Can rent local office space?YesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Secures a residence visa for business owner?YesYesNoYesYesYesNo
Good entity for trademark registration?YesYesNoYesYesNoNo
Other useful information51% LLCWholly foreign owned LLCFree Zone LLCLLPBranch officeAgency AgreementRepresentative Office

Average monthly office rental? (US$ per sq. m)US$24
Minimum statutory annual salary?US$200
Avg. monthly US$ salary for local employees?US$3,500
Kuwaiti Dinar deposit interest rate? (1 year avg.)1.25%
US$ deposit interest rate? (1 year average)2%
Overseas remittance currency controls?None
Withholding tax on dividends to parent co?None
Public register of directors and shareholders?Yes
Banking considerations
Multi-currency bank accounts available?Yes
Corporate visa debit cards available?Yes
Quality of e-banking platform?Good

  • In Kuwait, the most popular business entities are the LLC and the branch (of foreign company). An LLC will be 51% owned by a local shareholder, unless it is setup in a free zone or approved by the Kuwaiti Investment Agency;
  • A 51% LLC will be subject to annual corporate tax of 15%. A Free Zone company, on the other hand, will be completely corporate tax exempt;
  • Some of our Clients prefer to simply conclude an agency agreement with a local Kuwaiti agreement to reduce their business setup costs. However, income earnt through an agency agreement will still be subject to corporate income tax;
  • Lastly, there is no withholding tax levied on payments from Kuwaiti entities to their non-Kuwaiti shareholders.

Frequently asked questions

  1. How many directors must be appointed for starting a new business in Kuwait?
    If you are registering a limited liability company in Kuwait with 51% local shareholding, 1 director will be appointed. However, if a wholly locally owned LLC is incorporated, 2 directors must be appointed.
  2. Is it mandatory to have a resident director or shareholder for Company Registration in Kuwait?
    Yes. Resident director and resident shareholder are mandatory for registering a company in Kuwait. Please refer to our section on Different Kuwaiti business entities for more information.

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in Kuwait, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Olivia Stanciu, directly:
client relationship officer - Olivia