Kuwait company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN KUWAIT IN 2017

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 LLCFast solution LLCAgency agreementFree zone LLCJoint stock companyLLPRepresentative officeBranch office
Also known asJoint venture (WLL)Wholly foreign owned LLCFast solution LLCAgency agreementFTZKSCLLPRepresentative officeBranch office
Best use of company?All products and servicesSpecific business activitiesClose a customer deal nowAll products and servicesManufacturing and export tradingListing on Boursa KuwaitProfessional servicesMarketing & researchSpecific projects
How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts?6 months7 months1 month1 month5 months6 months5 monthsNo4 months
How soon can you hire staff?6 months7 months1 month1 month5 months6 months5 months4 months4 months
How soon can you sign a lease agreement?1 week1 week1 week1 week1 week1 week1 week1 week1 week
How long to supply corporate bank account numbers?7 months8 months2 months2 months6 months7 months6 months5 months5 months
How long to supply company registration/tax numbers?6 months7 months1 month1 month5 months6 months5 months4 months4 months
Corporate tax rate on annual net profits?15%15%15%0%0%15%15%0%15%
Limited liability entity?YesYesYesNoYesYesYesNoNo
Government grants available?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Government approval required for foreign owners?YesYesYesNoYesNoNoYesYes
GCC resident director/manager required?NoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesYes
Minimum paid up share capital?US$3,300US$3,300US$3,3000US$3,300US$82,500US$3,300N/AN/A
Can bid for government contracts?YesNoYesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Corporate bank account location?HSBC KuwaitCitibank KuwaitABKKFHGulf BankNBKCBKKIBAhli UnitedBank
Can secure trade finance?YesYesYesNoYesYesYesNoYes
Average total business set up engagement costs?US$103,740US$75,190US$128,453US$15,200US$48,665US$47,715US$37,455US$44,825US$53,875
Average total engagement period?6 months8 months7 months2 months7 months8 months7 months6 months6 months

See full table

Accounting and tax considerationsLLCWholly foreign owned LLCFast solution LLCFree zone LLCJoint stock companyLLPRepresentative officeBranch officeAgency agreement
Statutory corporate tax payable?15%15%15%0%15%15%0%15%15%
Legally tax exempt if properly structured?NoNoNoYesNoYesYesNoNo
Group HQ tax incentives?YesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesNo
Must file an annual tax return?YesYesYesNoYesYesNoYesYes
Must file annual financial statements?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Must appoint an auditor?YesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
Access to double taxation treaties?YesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYes
Company RegistrationLLCWholly foreign owned LLCFast solution LLCFree zone LLCJoint stock companyLLPRepresentative officeBranch officeAgency agreement
GCC resident director/manager required?NoNoYesNoNoNoYesYesNo
Minimum number of shareholders/partners?222255Parent companyParent company0
Maximum shareholding for foreigners?49%100%100%100%100%49%100%100%0
Minimum statutory paid up share capital?US$3,300US$3,300US$3,300US$3,300US$82,500US$3,300N/AN/A0
Security deposit to be kept with government?NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Shelf companies available?YesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoNo
Time to incorporate/register a new entity?4 months7 months1 month5 months6 months5 months4 months4 months1 month
Can easily convert to a PLC?YesYesYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Public register of shareholders and directors?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Can have preference shareholders?YesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoNo
Business ConsiderationsLLCWholly foreign owned LLCFast solution LLCFree zone LLCJoint stock companyLLPRepresentative officeBranch officeAgency agreement
Good entity for trademark registration?YesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesNo
Can secure an import and export license?YesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesthrough the agent
Sponsorship by a local citizen required?YesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

Our Client needs to travel to Kuwait for business set up?No
Temporary physical office solutions available?Yes
You need a local resident as bank signatory?No
Withholding tax on payments to foreign shareholders?0%
VAT payable on sales to local customers?N/A
The entity will likely be regulated by?Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Minimum number of directors/managers?1
Monthly VAT reporting to the government?No
Must sign an office lease agreement during incorporation?Yes
Shareholders & directors documents to be attested/translated?Yes
Each foreign director needs a personal income tax number?No
Foreign director needs a residence visa?No
Maximum number of staff allowed?No maximum number for any entity
Expatriate to local staff ratio?Yes, ratio depends on business sector
Can secure residence visa for business owner?Yes
Other useful information
What will be included in my customer sales invoice?Click link
This country has signed free trade agreements?Yes
This country is a member of WIPO/TRIPS?Yes, WIPO only
This country is a member of the ICSID?Yes
Average custom duties suffered?5%
Government foreign investment approval required?Yes
Average monthly office rental? (US$ per sq m)24
Minimum statutory monthly salary?US$216
Average monthly US$ salary for local skilled employees?US$3,500
US$ deposit interest rate? (1 year average)1.75%
Overseas remittance currency controls?None
Banking considerations
Multi-currency bank accounts available?Yes
Corporate visa debit cards available?Yes
Quality of e-banking platform?Good
Crowd funding available in this country?Yes

Tell us what you need - we’ll send you a customised proposal in 5 hours!

  • 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, Mr. Seth Ochieng, directly:
client relationship officer - Seth