Saudi Arabia holds exciting potential and opportunity for investors. A G20 economy with a young, highly educated population of over 34 million inhabitants. It also boasts a strategic location at the heart of major trade routes crossing three continents and bountiful natural resources. As part of Vision 2030, a wide range of economic reforms has succeeded in: creating new business opportunities, leveraging Saudi Arabia’s key strategic assets, and driving economic growth and diversification. Reform is opening new economic opportunities in Saudi Arabia to the world.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia cares about its economy and prosperity. It aims to be an attractive and stimulating investment destination for continuation and expansion, so a ministry concerned with investment has allocated one of its most essential tasks to empowering investors to access investment opportunities and providing them with facilities, flexibility, and other services.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia advanced 29 ranks in the “Doing Business 2020” report issued by the World Bank. In addition to conducting more than 555 reforms to better serve investors leading to a reduction in the time required to start a business from 15 days to 30 minutes only. The Kingdom also increased the number of SMEs in 2020 to more than 626,000.
Government investments are the driving force behind Saudi Arabia's economic transformation. It is committed to leading local economic development, localizing cutting-edge technology and knowledge, investing in global sectors and markets through strategic partnerships, and launching initiatives that contribute to Vision 2030 goals.
Public Investment Fund
The concept of "sovereign funds," which are owned by countries all over the world, arose from the desire to protect and guarantee the budget and the economy in order to achieve extreme fluctuations in revenues and exports, achieve a higher return on cash, and assist countries in employing liquidity and increasing the volume of savings for future generations. Sovereign wealth funds are self-sufficient, with the majority of their resources derived from commodity revenues, and they seek to invest a portion of the surplus in meaningful investments.
The Public Investment Fund's existence and inception in the Kingdom dates back more than 50 years, as it was established in 1971, and throughout those long decades, the Fund was a national economic tributary that contributed - and continues to contribute - to the establishment of major vital companies locally, and financed many strategic projects for the national economy, and its presence has enabled the Kingdom's economy to progress at a faster pace. As the Kingdom's main economic and investment engine, the Public Investment Fund strives to achieve the goals of Vision 2030. The Fund has adopted an ambitious strategy that contributes to achieving its goals and achieving a set of unique achievements at the global level of sovereign funds.
- To view the 2021-2025 public investment fund program, click here.
Investments During Covid-19 Pandemic
The spread of Coronavirus has affected many countries, and its impact on the economy has been tremendous. The Kingdom was keen to fight the virus and reduce the losses resulting from it with every effort possible, and the economy and investment had a share of these efforts. The government has helped affected project owners and workers by providing material assistance amounting to 120 billion Saudi riyals to reduce the private sector's financial and economic impact.
- To view the Initiatives and services introduced by Saudi Arabian government authorities to support businesses during COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
Ministry of Investment Statute
The Ministry of Investment shall be the agency in charge of regulating, developing, and promoting domestic and foreign investment in the Kingdom and protecting the rights of investors. It shall, without prejudice to the powers and responsibilities of other agencies, undertake any action necessary to achieve its objectives.
- To view the Statute of the Ministry of Investment, click here.
Investment Principles and Policies in the Kingdom
- Ensure equality between Saudi and non-Saudi investors, and among non-Saudi
- Ensure the protection of investments, in line with the Kingdom’s regulations.
- Enhance the sustainability of investments and deal with investor complaints in a
- Provide investment incentives when needed and ensure full transparency when
granting. Provide a list of investment incentives and grant them in accordance with
general, clear, and non-discriminatory criteria.
- Maintain environmental and social standards in order to ensure that Saudi and
non-Saudi investors comply with regulations regarding labor, health, and
environmental safety in accordance with national regulations and policies and the
international conventions in which Saudi has acceded.
- Facilitate entry procedures for non-Saudi employees including technicians,
administrators, and their dependents. Arrange their residency in the Kingdom to
facilitate their participation in activates related to foreign investments in accordance
with the Kingdom’s regulations and its international obligations.
- Transfer and localize science and technology resulting from foreign direct
investment in accordance with the Kingdom’s international obligations.
To view International Investment Agreements, click here.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia cares about its economy and prosperity. It aims to be an attractive and stimulating investment destination for continuation and expansion, so a ministry concerned with investment has allocated one of its most essential tasks to empowering investors to access investment opportunities and providing them with facilities, flexibility, and other services. The following are some of the forms of support provided to Investors:
- Conducting economic analyses of the market, whether by providing various customary information or providing and developing reports and case studies, sharing information on databases, and assisting in feasibility studies.
- Building partnerships and linking with commercial and industrial entities and with local companies for potential partnerships.
- Preparing field visits to the investor, preparing logistics and reservations, and coordinating meetings with government agencies and related parties.
- Providing all assistance related to starting work from searching for a suitable location, providing legal advice, and coordinating with the competent authorities.
- Liaise with Gov. entities and provide advice on applying for visas, permits, licenses and utilities.
- Provide advice on corporate structure.
- Connect with executive onboarding assistance agencies.
- Connect with employee’s recruitment agencies.
- Generate publicity, joint press release, launch events.
- Connect with financial partners for co-financing and support.
- Business Case and Study Incentives
- Develop policy recommendations based on feedback.
- Submit investors’ proposals for amendment of legislation.
- Troubleshoot investor operational issues.
Investment License Requirements
Beneficiaries of the National Anti-Commercial Concealment Campaign must meet the following requirements in order to obtain an investment license:
- A review completion on the application submitted to the National Anti-Commercial Concealment Program platform.
- If the applicant is a resident of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi guarantor must submit a No Objection Certificate (NOC).
- Proof that the entity's revenues for the previous fiscal year were 2 million riyals or more, as determined by an approved budget, or that the number of employees was 50 or more, as determined by social insurance certificates.
- The new foreign partner must have a valid residence permit prior to the correction period and be employed by the applicant entity.
- The commercial registration of the applicant entity shall be issued prior to the correction campaign.
To check the status of your Investment License, click here.
Investing in the Kingdom's Vision 2030
The ongoing transformation of Saudi Arabia under the Vision 2030 plan is unlocking new opportunities at an unprecedented pace. The Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia is facilitating access to these opportunities by developing a vibrant cross-government investment ecosystem, while supporting businesses throughout their investment journey.
Each activity has its own journey, and the Kingdom was eager to assist investors and take their hands step by step to start a business in order to facilitate the start of investment activity. It gave them advice and direction on how to start a business in terms of the laws and licenses that must be obtained.
To view the detailed steps that will help you obtain your investment license, click here.
“Invest Saudi” Initiative
INVEST SAUDI is Saudi Arabia's nation-wide investment attraction and promotion brand. Overseen by the Ministry of Investment, INVEST SAUDI facilitates investments in Saudi Arabia that support the country's economic growth and position it at the forefront of the global business world. INVEST SAUDI is designed to provide a clear, unified, and effective message about the Kingdom's investment opportunities to both foreign and domestic investors, as well as private sector businesses. It is therefore the primary point of contact for foreign investors seeking assistance before, during, and after their entry into the Kingdom. As the Kingdom is living in an era where the economy is thriving and the nation is reviving, INVEST SAUDI brings ministries, government agencies, and the private sector closer together to promote a multitude of investment and business opportunities in the Kingdom, assisting in the Kingdom's long-term economic growth.
- To explore opportunities, click here.
- To set up your regional HQs in Saudi Arabia, click here.
- To view the investment guide, click here.
Saudi Business Center
A center dedicated to facilitating the procedures for establishing, operating, and closing economic businesses, as well as providing all related services in accordance with international best practices. The Saudi Business Center platform has consolidated all e-government services, from issuing initial licenses to establishing companies, on a single page. The center was successful in reducing the time required to start a business to 30 minutes rather than 15 days, as well as the time required to extract the commercial registration to only 180 seconds. In the same year, the number of small and medium-sized businesses increased to over 626 thousand. As a result, the Kingdom's ranking in the World Bank Group's Starting a Business 2020 index has risen 103 places.
National Competitiveness Center
The National Competitiveness Center, is an independent government center, established in 2019, and enjoys an independent legal personality, under the Council of Economic and Development Affairs. The center aims to improve and develop the competitive environment in Saudi Arabia, moving from the stage of facilitating the business environment to global competitiveness. That is in its most comprehensive concept, based on productivity, sustainability, and inclusiveness, and keeping pace with global trends towards climate change, carbon neutrality, the transition to a "green economy", and motivating the private sector to adopt practices in environmental, social, and governance. Furthermore, the NCC works to improve the Kingdom’s ranking in the relevant global indicators and reports; by studying, identifying, and analyzing the obstacles and challenges facing the public and private sectors, proposing solutions, initiatives, and recommendations. In addition to following up on their implementation and launching a new generation of legislative and procedural reforms in order to contribute to the economy’s transition to a productive stage and global competitiveness.
To review the economic reforms done by The Center, click here.
Private Sector Feedback Platform
It is an online platform that develops mechanisms of interaction between the private sector and government entities by receiving feedback from the private sector and monitoring the challenges they face, which is then directed to the appropriate government entities. In addition to working directly with other government entities on what the standards of challenges and obstacles are.
The Public Consultation Platform
Is a unified electronic platform that is affiliated with the National Competitiveness Center. The platform aims to enable the public and the government entities to express their views and feedback on law drafts related to economic and development affairs before they are approved, contributing to a safe and stable business environment.
- To offer your opinion in regard the economic and developmental affairs, click here.
- To view the legislative laws related to the business environment, click here.
It is an electronic portal that is the unified database and the main reference for all investors looking for real estate and municipal investment opportunities offered by all government agencies in various investment activities in a way that contributes to the development of the economies of Saudi cities. The portal aims to provide an integrated digital journey for the investor, facilitates access to investment opportunities for the development of Saudi cities, and save time and effort for the investor.
To view the services provided by Furas Portal, click here.
The social and economic transformations occurring in Saudi Arabia as part of Vision 2030 are driving exceptional growth in all promising sectors, providing investors with tremendous opportunities to grow and succeed.
The Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha'at) was established in 2016, with the aim of regulating, supporting, developing and sponsoring the SME sector in the Kingdom in accordance with global best practices, in order to increase the productivity of SMEs and their contribution to GDP from 20% to 35% by 2030. Monsha'at is mandated with developing, implementing, and supporting programs and projects that foster a culture of self-employment, entrepreneurship, and innovation. It strives to diversify the funding sources provided to enterprises, supports the initiatives within the venture capital sector, develops policies and standards for funding small and medium projects. Such measures will uncover a realm of endless possibilities for SMEs to unlock their full potential as they grow their administrative, technical, financial, marketing, and human resources capabilities.
- To view the services provided by Monsha'at, click here.
- To view Monsha'at's reports that provide the latest statistics and information, click here.
Standards for firms' compliance with market rules
- Existence of a valid and up-to-date commercial register.
- Opening a bank account for the establishment, and not using personal accounts for the establishment's transactions.
- Renewing licenses to practice the activity and updating the addresses of the facility associated with it.
- Registering the facility in the "wage protection" program and recording labor wages data.
- Documenting all employment contracts electronically, and not employing irregular workers.
- Documenting all established financial transactions and complying with the relevant regulations in this regard.
- Not granting the non-Saudi any tools that lead to the absolute disposition of the facility.
- Providing electronic payment methods and working on issuing and keeping invoices electronically.
- Financing the facility and its activities through the regular methods and documenting all those operations.
- Commitment to the regulations and instructions related to the exercise of economic activities.
In the franchise business, the franchisor grants another party (the franchisee) the right to use his or her trademark for the purpose of investing it for his or her own account in exchange for a financial or non-financial consideration. In this manner, the franchisee can obtain an existing brand with customers and fans from the start, while the franchisor can expand with less effort and at a lower cost. The franchise Law ensures that the rights of all parties are preserved and defines the boundaries of the relationship that help achieve common success. To supplement the efforts of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises to support and develop the Kingdom's small and medium enterprise sector, the Franchise Center was established to contribute to the prosperity and sustainability of this industry by creating new horizons for investors and entrepreneurs to expand and grow their businesses, resulting in the creation of many job opportunities, increasing GDP, improving business and investing.
- To view the available Franchise Opportunities, click here.
- To view the Controls of practicing brokerage activities in franchising, click here.
Centers specialized in emerging technologies that work to empower enterprises and entrepreneurs and contribute to achieving the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, by contributing to the creation of emerging innovative companies and increasing the efficiency of small and medium enterprises. The centers aim to enable the small and medium enterprises sector to employ advanced technologies to develop these enterprises and increase their competitiveness and to be the link between entrepreneurs and decision makers in their specialized fields.
To view the services provided by the center, click here.
The Kingdom provided private sector protection through the bankruptcy law and its bylaws, which are intended to allow debtors to reconcile their financial issues and resume their activities while creditors' rights are maintained. The Bankruptcy Commission is also established by the Law, and it is tasked with raising awareness in the business community, issuing rules and standards that regulate and supplement the legislative framework, developing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Law's application, and achieving confidence and transparency.
To view the Bankruptcy Law, click here.
The most important goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 are to raise the economic level and diversify income sources. The Saudi government has worked hard to entice foreign investors to invest in the country. It has implemented regulations and controls for foreign investors to ensure that the desired goals are met while investors' rights are protected.
To view the foreign investment law, click here.
the National Program to Combat Commercial Concealment
Commercial concealment, as defined in the Anti-Concealment Law, means an agreement or arrangement through which a person enables another non-Saudi person to engage an economic activity in the Kingdom that he is not licensed to engage in using the license or approval issued to the concealer. A citizen is considered concealed when he enables the expatriate to use his licenses, commercial registration, or name in the commercial activity. A foreigner shall also be considered concealed if he obtains a license for foreign investment and enables another expatriate to work for him, in violation of the Foreign Capital Investment Law. The Kingdom has developed over 40 initiatives to combat commercial concealment, launched awareness campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of commercial concealment, evolved indicators to identify suspected commercial concealment, and established regulations to correct the status of violators within 180 days of the updated law's entry into force. This has aided in the development of municipal requirements for a variety of activities where commercial concealment is common.
- To view the anti-concealment law, click here.
- To view the Regulation for Correcting the Status of Violators of the Anti-Concealment Law, click here.
- To apply for status correction online, click here.
Survey of Foreign Direct Investment
Ministry of Investment (MISA) seeks to support the private sector in the KSA by developing FDI. Therefore, MISA has electronically carried out the direct survey directed to the companies having FDIs inside the KSA during the referred-to quarter, Best international standards and methodologies are applied.
For more details about Survey of Foreign Direct Investment, click here.
The Saudi Exchange “Tadawul” conducts listing and trading in securities for local and international investors. The Exchange is instrumental to achieving the long-term growth plans for the Group and providing market participants with attractive and diversified investment opportunities. A foreign investor can directly access the Saudi financial market through the "Qualified Foreign Investor Program" offered by Tadawul as part of its programs for developing the financial sector in Saudi Arabia. This program has been modified to ease registration requirements and expand the range of qualified investors.
- To view the exchange rules and procedures, click here.
- To view the Exchange's annual reports, click here.
- Renewal of Residence Permit (Iqama) of the Investor
- Issuing a Main Commercial Register (Register a Business)
- Buying Investment Opportunity Specifications
- New sports Investment Request
Regulations and legislation
- Investment principles and policy in the Kingdom
- Bilateral agreements between states and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- Laws and Regulations
- Terms and conditions for using the Ministry's electronic services
- Most Frequently Asked Questions - Qualified Foreign Investors
- Investment sectors in the Kingdom
- Business environment
- e-services rating