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The Ultimate Guide To
Employment in Kuwait

Kuwait Facts

Population size: 4,007,146
Currency: KWD (Approx. 3.3 USD)
Capital city: Kuwait City
Languages spoken: Arabic
Ease of Doing Business: 102

Employing in Kuwait: What You Need to Know

Shield GEO is not operating in Kuwait at this time. However, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to assist you with your employment needs or connect you with a trusted partner.

 

Key Factors to Consider When Employing in Kuwait

There are several key areas to be aware of within the Kuwait employment regulatory framework, especially for companies that plan to initiate a full local office and human resources department.  These challenges can be mitigated by use of a locally sourced payroll provider who is familiar with all of the local laws and rules for both local employees as well as foreign nationals.

  1. Contracts

    Anyone who has completed 15 years of age shall be eligible to conclude a work contract if the period of the contract is not specified. In the event where the period is specified, it should not exceed one year, until he will reach 18 years of age.

    The work contract shall be made in writing and contain, in particular, the signing and effective dates of the contract, the amount of remuneration, the term of the contract if it is for a specific period and the nature of work. The contract shall be made in three copies, one for each party and the third shall be lodged with the competent authority at the Ministry. In the event where the work contract is not established by means of a written document, it shall still be deemed to exist and the worker may, in such event, establish his rights by all means of evidence.

    Regardless of whether the work contract is for a specific of indefinite term, the remuneration of the worker may not be reduced during the contract validity period. Any agreement to the contrary, whether made before or after the effective date of the contract, shall be deemed null and void because this matter is related to the general order.

    All contracts shall be written in Arabic and translations to any other language maybe added thereto, provided that the Arabic version shall prevail in the event of any dispute.

    In the event where the term of the contract is specified, such term shall not exceed five years nor shall it be less than a year. The contract may be renewed after the expiry of the specified period with the consent of both parties.

  2. Probation Period

    The probation period of the worker shall be specified in the work contract, provided that it shall not exceed 100 working days. Either party may terminate the contract during the probation period without notice. In the event where the termination is made by the employer, he shall pay the worker’s end of service benefit for the period of work in the accordance of the provisions of this Law.

    The worker shall not be on probation more than once for the same employer. The Minister shall issue a resolution to organize the conditions and regulations of work during the probation period.

  3. Termination Procedures

    The employer shall obtain the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor’s approval of the tables of penalties before the implementation thereof. The ministry may modify these tables depending on the nature of the establishment or of the work and in line with the provisions of this Law.

    The employer may terminate the services of a worker without notice, compensation or benefit in the event where the worker has committed any of the following acts:

    1-      If the Worker has committed a mistake that resulted in a large loss for the employer.

    2-      If a was found that the worker obtained employment through cheating or fraud.

    3-      If the worker divulged secrets related to the establishment which caused or would have caused real losses.

    The employer may dismiss the worker in any of the following events:

    1-      If he been found guilty of a crime that relates to honor, trust or morals.

    2-      If he committed an act against public morals at the work site.

    3-      If he assaulted one of his colleagues, his employer or deputy during work or for a reason thereof.

    4-      If he breached or failed to abide by any of the obligations imposed on him by the contract and the provisions of this Law.

    5-      If he is found to have repeatedly violated the instructions of the employer.

    In the event where the employee is absent from work for 7 consecutive days or 20 separate days within a year without a valid excuse, the employer shall have the right to consider him as having resigned. In such event, provisions of Article 53 of this Law shall apply with regard to the worker’s end of service benefit.

    In the event where the term of the work contract is not specified, both parties shall have the right to terminate the same by means of a notice to the other party as follows:

    a- Three months prior to the termination of the contract for the workers earning a monthly remuneration.

    b- One month prior to the termination of the contract for other workers.

    In the event where the party wishing to terminate the contract does not abide by the period of notice, he shall be obliged to pay the other party a compensation for the notification period equal to the remuneration of the worker for the same period.

    c- In the event where the notification of termination is issued by the employer, the worker shall have the right to be absent one day or 8 hours per week in order to search for other work. He shall also be entitled to his remuneration for the day or hours of absence.

    The worker shall decide on the day or hours of absence and shall notify the employer at least one day prior to such absence.

    d- The employer may exempt the employee from work during the period of notification while but shall count such period within the worker’s period of service. The employer shall pay the worker all his entitlements and remuneration for the period of notification.

  4. Remuneration and Working hours

    Without prejudice to the social allowance and the children allowance, the remuneration shall include the payments made to the worker on periodic basis such as bonuses, benefits, allowances, grants, endowments or cash benefits.

    In the event where the worker’s remuneration is a share of the net profits and the establishment did not make any profits or made little profits in such a way that the worker’s share is not proportionate to the work he performed, his remuneration shall be estimated based on the remuneration determined for a similar job or according to the profession custom or the prerequisites of fairness.

    Remunerations are paid during the working days in the country’s currency, as follows:

    a- Workers with a monthly remuneration shall receive their remunerations at least once a month.

    b- Other workers shall receive their remunerations at least once every two weeks.

    Payment of remunerations shall not be delayed for more than seven days after the due date thereof.

    It is forbidden to allow workers to work for more than 48 hours per week or 8 hours a day, except in such events as are specified in this Law.  Working hours during the month of Ramadan shall be equal to 36 hours per week.

    However, it shall be allowed, by a ministerial resolution, to reduce working hours in hard jobs, jobs that are harmful by nature or for severe circumstances.

    a- Workers shall not be required to work for more than five consecutive hours a day without a break of a minimum of one hour that is not included in the working hours.

    The Financial, commercial and investment sectors shall be excluded from this provision and the working hours shall be equal to eight consecutive hours.

    b- After having obtained consent of the Minister, workers may be required to work without a rest break for technical and urgent reasons or in office work

    The employer may, by means of a written order, have workers work overtime if the necessity arises for the purpose of preventing a dangerous accident, repairing damages arising from such accident, avoiding a loss or facing an unusual work load.  The overtime work should not exceed two hours a day, a maximum of 180 hours a year, three days a week or 90 days a year.  The worker shall have the right to prove by any means that the employer required him to perform additional works for an additional period of time.  The worker shall also be entitled to a 25 percent increase over his original remuneration for the period of overtime.

    The employer shall keep a special record for overtime work showing the dates, number of hours worked and remunerations paid in consideration of the additional work assigned to the worker.

  5. Statutory Leave

    The worker shall be entitled to a paid weekend which is equal to 24 continuous hours after every six working days.  The employer may call the worker for work during his weekend if the necessity arises.  The worker shall be entitled to at least 50 percent of his remuneration, in addition to his original remuneration and to another day off instead of the one on which he worked.

    The preceding paragraph does not affect the calculation of the worker’s rights including his daily remuneration and his leaves.  This right is calculated by dividing his remuneration by the actual working days without including the weekends, although these weekends are paid.

    The fully-paid official holidays are as follows:

    a-      Hegeira New Year: 1 day

    b-      Isra’ and Mi’raj day: 1 day

    c-       Eid Al-Fitr: 3 days

    d-      Waqfat Arafat: 1 day

    e-      Eid Al-Adha: 3 days

    f-       Prophet’s Birthday (Al-Mawlid Al-Nabawi): 1 day

    g-      National Day: 1 day

    h-      Gregorian New Year: 1 day

    In the event where the worker is required to work during any of the above mentioned holidays, he shall be entitled to a double remuneration and an additional day off.

    The worker shall be entitled to a 30-day paid annual leave.  However, the worker shall not be entitled to a leave for the first year of work except after at least 9 months of service for the employer.  Official holidays and sick leaves during the year shall not be counted as annual leave.  The worker shall be entitled to a leave for the fractions year in proportion with the period he spent in actual service, even the first year of service.

    The employer shall have the right to determine the date of the annual leave and divide such leave after the first 14 days thereof, with the consent of the worker.

    The worker who spent two continuous years working for the same employer shall be entitled to 21 days leave with pay to perform Al-Hajj provided that he had not performed hajj before.

    Sick Leave

    The worker shall be entitled to the following sick leaves during the year:

    –          15 days – at full pay

    –          10 days – at three quarters of the pay

    –          10 days – at half pay

    –          10 days – at quarter pay

    –          30 days without pay.

    The worker shall provide a medical report from the doctor appointed by the employer or the doctor of the government medical center.  In the event of conflict regarding the necessity of a sick leave or its duration, the report of the government doctor shall be adopted.

    Incurable diseases shall be excluded pursuant to a resolution issued by the competent minister, in which he shall specify the types of incurable diseases.

    Maternity Leave

    A pregnant woman is privileged to have a maximum of 30 days’ maternity leave before the date of delivery and 40 days after delivery. A pregnant woman can also be absent from work up to 100 days, consecutive or not, after the maternity leave but without pay.

    A medical certificate stating that the person is not yet fit to work needs to be presented as basis for the additional absences incurred after the maternity leave. This maternity leave will be forfeited on day-per-day basis until her annual leave are all taken.

Employee Entitlements

Information Explanation
Working on Sundays ?

Whenever a Worker is made to work in an official public holiday due to work conditions, such Worker shall be entitled to a double wage for that day.

Employee Protection and Anti-discrimination Rights ?

The Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, national origin, language, and religion; however, in practice, the Government did not uniformly or consistently enforce laws against discrimination.

Time Off Work ?

The Worker shall be entitled to a weekly period of rest not less than one day without pay, and in case the Worker is made to work in the weekly rest, he/she shall be entitled to a wage in return for that day equaling the original wage per day plus 50% at least.

Medical Leave ?

The Worker whose sickness is recorded in a medical certificate issued by a physician appointed by the Employer or by the attending physician of any government health unit shall be entitled to sick leaves during the year. The sick leaves shall be computed as follows:

  • Six days with full pay;
  • Then six days with three quarters of the pay;
  • Then six days with half of the pay;
  • Then six days with quarter of the pay;
  • Then six days without pay.

Employment Termination

Information Explanation
Severance / Redundancy Pay ?

The party terminating the contract may pay to the other party compensation in return for the notification equaling the wage due to the Worker for the period determined for the notification.

If the labor contract concluded with a definite period and is terminated by one party and the contract fails to mention anything dealing with such case, the party terminating the contract shall compensate the other party for damages. If such termination is initiated by the Employer and for reasons other than those prescribed, the Employer shall be obliged to compensate the Worker for any damage in accordance with the customary practices and work nature, the period of the contract, and in general the conditions where the damage is made certain and the scope of such damage, provided that the amount of compensation shall not by any means exceed the value of the remainder of the wage due to the Worker for the remaining period of the contract. If the termination is initiated by the Worker, the Worker shall be obliged to compensate the Employer for the loss that the Employer incurred as a result of the termination of the contract.

Termination of Employment ?

If the labor contract is for an indefinite period, each of the two parties may terminate it on condition of notifying the other party in writing of such termination.

The notification shall be provided as follows:

  • in the case of workers appointed on monthly wage basis, the notification shall be delivered at least fifteen days before the contract is terminated;
  • In the case of other workers, the notification shall be delivered at least seven days before the contract is terminated.

Payroll

Payroll Kuwait
Management Fee for Employer of Record Services / Monthly Payroll Costs

Shield GEO does not operate in Kuwait. 

Notes

N/A

Currency ? KWD (Approx. 3.3 USD)
Tax
Income Tax Rates

A 15% flat rate of income taxation is currently implemented in the country (before 2008 the tax rate was max. 55%).

Tax Returns Supplied

Shield GEO does not operate in Kuwait. 

Employers Social Security and statutory contributions

11.5% calculated on gross salary

Employees Social Security and statutory contributions

8% calculated on gross salary

Payroll and Tax in Kuwait

Shield GEO is not operating in Kuwait at this time. However, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to assist you with your employment needs or connect you with a trusted partner.

 

Kuwait applies a ‘source’ method to taxation, which means that, whilst tax is imposed only on the Kuwaiti-source income, a taxation liability can arise from activities not considered taxable in many jurisdictions.

The source of income is considered to be in Kuwait if the place of performance of services is within Kuwait. This includes, work carried out outside the country under a contract that also involves activity in Kuwait. Any significant presence of employees or short-term visits to Kuwait by representatives of a company may render the entire revenue from the transactions as taxable in Kuwait.

Information Explanation
Remote Payroll ?

A remote payroll system is where a foreign company, i.e. a non-resident company, payrolls a resident employee in Kuwait. Under Kuwait Law, companies registered in other countries are allowed to obtain a license to do business and have employees in the country.

Local Payroll Administration ?

In some cases, a company will register their business in Kuwait under one of the forms available: Limited liability company, Shareholding companies and Partnerships; but prefer to have another company administering its payroll.  This can be accomplished through a payroll provider. It is important to note that the company, as the Employer of Record, is still fully responsible for compliance with employment, immigration, tax and payroll regulations. But the payroll calculations, payments and filings can all be outsourced to the payroll provider.

Internal Payroll ?

Larger companies with a commitment to Kuwait may wish to run their own local payroll for all employees, foreign and local. In order to accomplish this, they will have to complete incorporation, register the business and then hire the necessary staff.  There will be a need for in country human resources personnel who have the background needed to manage a Kuwait payroll, and can fulfil all tax, withholding, and payroll requirements.

This approach carries significant cost and requires some knowledge of local employment and payroll regulations. The company will need a local accounting firm and potentially legal counsel to ensure full compliance with Kuwait employment laws.

Fully Outsourced Payroll & Employment ?

Shield GEO does not operate in Kuwait. 

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Setting up payroll in Kuwait

Information Explanation
Currency ? KWD (Approx. 3.3 USD)
Employee Information Required ?

a) Copy of nationality certificate.

b) Copy of birth certificate or age assessment certificate.

c) Copy of the appointment decision, for governmental authorities.

d) Copy of Civil Identity Card.

Social Security Registration ?

The Social Security System requires the employer to provide the registration forms of the Kuwaiti employees who are working for him within ten days as from the date of joining the work, duly accompanied with the following documents:

a) Copy of nationality certificate;

b) Copy of birth certificate or age assessment certificate;

c) Copy of the appointment decision, for governmental authorities;

d) Copy of Civil Identity Card.

Documentation Required for New Employees ?

The Worker shall be employed by virtue of a Contract, verbal or in writing, comprising in particular the start date of appointment, wage agreed upon, term of the contract, if it is a fixed-term contract, and the nature of work. In case the Contract is concluded in a verbal form, the Employer and/or the Worker may by whatever means admissible prove the rights thereof.

Tax Figures

Information Explanation
Corporate Income Tax ?

15% on taxable profits

Income Tax Rate ?
Grossed income Tax Rate (%)

Liability for income tax

Kuwait does not impose income taxes on income earned by individuals.

Tax trigger points

There is no personal tax in the state of Kuwait. However, there is corporate tax applicable to foreign corporations in Kuwait. The Kuwaiti tax law does not define the concept of resident/nonresident and permanent establishment. As a result, there may be corporate tax implications where representatives/employees of the supplying/invoicing foreign entities are present in the country.

In practice, the Kuwait Tax Authority (KTA) considers even a single day’s visit in Kuwait to create a taxable presence in the absence of a double tax treaty between the corporation’s country of tax residence and Kuwait.

Types of taxable income

Sales Tax ?

Currently not implemented.

Withholding Tax ?

The rate of withholding tax on dividends is 15%.

Income Tax (Personal Allowance) ?

There is no personal income tax (employment tax) in Kuwait.

Time to prepare and Pay Taxes ?

98 hours

Time required to start a Business ?

61 days

Payments

Information Explanation
Payment Mode ?

The payment of contributions and other due funds for the Public Institution for Social Security shall be made as follows:-

By virtue of a checks in the name of the Public Institution for Social Security;

Payment in cash to the Public Institution for Social Security treasury; or

Under a deposit advice for the Public Institution for Social Security`s account

Frequency of Salary Payment ?

Wages may be determined per hour, per day, per week, per month, or per piece. Wages shall be paid in one of official work days and at the workplace of the workers in the currency legally in circulation, subject to the following provisions:

  • a worker appointed on a monthly pay shall be paid the wage thereof at least once per month;
  • a worker paid per hour, day laborer, worker with a weekly wage, or worker paid on the piece-rate basis shall be paid the wage thereof at least once every two weeks;
  • The Employer shall be prohibited to transfer a monthly paid worker to the category of day laborers or to category of workers appointed with a weekly wage or on a piece-rate basis except with the approval of the worker on transferring thereof.
Minimum Wage ?

In Kuwait, minimum wages vary depending on the job role and the job designation as on visa. On average, the monthly salary compensation is 100 KWD (Approx. USD 332).

Immigration and Work Permits in Kuwait

Shield GEO is not operating in Kuwait at this time. However, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to assist you with your employment needs or connect you with a trusted partner.

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in Kuwait, as established by immigration laws.  Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the Kuwait market.

Have Your Own Business?

According to the Private Sector Kuwait Labor Law, each employer shall maintain a file for each worker wherein shall be kept copies of the worker’s work permit, work contract, civil ID, documents relevant to annual leaves and sick leaves, overtime hours, work injuries and occupational diseases, penalties imposed on the worker, end of service date and reasons behind, copy of receipts proving that documents he submitted to the employer such as documents, tools, certificates have been returned to him after the end of his service.

In order to live and work in Kuwait, expatriates shall obtain a residency visa (iqama), which can only be issued on the basis of a valid employment offer from a private company or a Kuwaiti government organization. The Kuwaiti employer then applies for the iqama on behalf of the expatriate employee.

The employee is then issued a so-called “No Objection Certificate” (NOC) with which he/she can enter Kuwait. The employee will be issued the actual residency visa once he/she have entered Kuwait. In order for the residency visa to be issued, an extensive medical certificate is necessary, including testing for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and tuberculosis.

Once the residency visa is issued, the employee can apply for a Kuwaiti Civil ID (bitaqa-almadaniyah). This application has to be submitted within 30 days of receiving the residency visa.

Documents required in order to get a Work Visa are:

– Valid Passport with a minimum of six (6) months prior to expiration date.

– One completed current visa application form as issued by Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs

– One passport-size photo.

– HIV test (AIDS test).

– Health Certificate:  Obtained from the local doctor certifying that the patient is in good health and free from contagious diseases. Lab test results for the following: Hepatitis B & C, Malaria, Filariasis, Syphilis and Chest X-Ray for Tuberculosis

– Police Clearance of No Criminal Record obtained from the:  Federal Bureau of Investigation – FBI, and should be dated after the issuance date of the Work Permit.The Police Clearance has to be certified first by the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC (Tel: (202) 647-5002 or (800) 688-9889), then legalized by the Embassy with an Authentication fee. The Authenticated Police Clearance should be presented to the Kuwaiti Authorities for residency purposes.

– The work permit.

Please contact us for a quote.

Types of visas in Kuwait

Category Description of Visa
Business Visitors

General Requirements

– Valid passport with a minimum of six (6) months prior to expiration date.

– Two completed current visa application forms.

– Two photographs.

– Letter from the national firm requesting the issuance of a visa and guaranteeing the applicant while in Kuwait.

Please contact us for a quote.

Persons Going for Employment

General Requirements

– Valid passport with a minimum of six (6) months prior to expiration date.

– Two completed current visa application forms.

– Two photographs.

If Government Contract: copy of Letter of Appointment from Kuwait.

If Private Sector: Work Permit issued by the General Department of Immigration Affairs in Kuwait. (If spouse or family members are accompanying applicant, Work permit, No Objection Certificate or Letter of Appointment must indicate that.)

Contact the Embassy for other nationalities. Cost depends on the nationality of the employee. Please contact us for a quote.

Setting up a company in Kuwait

When setting up a company you may want to consider these factors:

  1. Business Factors

    From 2014 to 2015, Kuwait made starting a business more difficult by increasing the minimum capital requirement and by increasing the commercial license fee. On the other hand, in 2016 Kuwait made starting a business easier by reducing the minimum capital requirement.

    Kuwaitis characterised by a complex business environment, which requires flexibility, patience, and persistence. Many exporters and investors in Kuwait are challenged by inconsistent, sometimes contradictory policies, lack of transparency in decision-making, reversal of tenders once awarded, and a judiciary that heavily favors the local population.

    On top of that, the government does not implement anti-corruption laws effectively, and public officials reportedly engage in corrupt activities with impunity.

    The State of Kuwait, however, is undergoing significant expansion in the building and construction industry and the traditional import sectors of automotive, oil and gas, computers/ICT, telecommunications equipment and construction equipment remain strong.

  2. Religion

    Islam is practiced by the majority of Kuwaitis and governs their personal, political, economic and legal lives. Despite over 95% of the population are Muslim, Kuwait is known for its religious tolerance.

  3. Ethnicity

    There are different types of ethnicities in Kuwait that must be considered while doing business, such as Kuwaiti 45%, other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, other 7%.

Shield GEO is not operating in Kuwait at this time. However, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to assist you with your employment needs or connect you with a trusted partner.

 

In 2012, the companies law in Kuwait, was updated providing a more realistic and practical perspective than the previous companies law.

In addition, the Companies Law provides more types of companies that can be established in Kuwait, such as:

  • company with limited liability;
  • shareholding company (public and closed);
  • limited partnership or;

Each of these business forms has distinct advantages and disadvantages, as well as differing scope of business activities, registration requirements and minimum capital requirements.  In most cases it will depend on the degree of commitment a company has to Kuwait and the planned business activity.

Limited Liability Company

This is the most common corporate entity in Kuwait, and the main route adopted by foreign companies or investors to enter the market.

Register at the Department of Companies of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI)

To register, the entrepreneur must submit a completed standard application form to the Department of Companies of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), accompanied by the following documents:

– Copy of the entrepreneur’s identity card (ID)

– Certificate issued by the Social Security Authority attesting that the Kuwaiti partners are not civil servants

– Lease contract, a receipt of rent payment, and a certificate from the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) confirming that the premises are registered with PACI.

The completed application have to include the following:

  • names of the founding partners and their respective shares;
  • the capital, scope and objective of the company; and
  • the name of the manager.

Once the application is approved, it is stamped and signed by the Department of Companies, and allocated a reference number. The MOCI electronically sends an inspection request to the Municipality to proceed with the inspection of the company premises at the relevant point of incorporation process and a request to the Ministry of Interior to run background checks verifying that the founding partners do not have a criminal record.

Reserve a unique company name  

The entrepreneur submits a company name reservation application to the Commercial Registry. The Commercial Registry searches the computer database to ensure that the proposed company name does not already exist or resemble other reserved names.

The Commercial Registry has certain guidelines to follow with respect to the company name selection, such as: the chosen name must not be in breach of “public morals.” Once approved, the Commercial Registry issues a letter confirming the proposed name and reserves it for 3 months.

Retrieve the letter addressed to the bank from the Department of Companies

The entrepreneur must return to the Department of Companies to retrieve the necessary letter addressed to the commercial bank of choice where the paid-in capital of the company will be deposited.

The Department of Companies may further issue additional letters addressed to different government authorities depending on the scope and activity of the company in order to obtain their approval of the company formation. For example, for restaurants and food establishments, a letter addressed to the Ministry of Health is issued; for the oil industry, a letter addressed to the Ministry of Oil and Energy is issued, and so forth.

Deposit the capital at the bank and obtain proof thereof

In deference to the Department of Companies’ letter, the bank opens an account in the name of the company with the term “under formation” annexed to the account. The deposited capital remains frozen until the bank receives the notarized deed of incorporation and the commercial license of the company, following which the term “under formation” is removed and the account is activated. The bank issues a deposit certificate in the name of the company addressed to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, detailing the amount deposited by each partner against his/her share in the company.

Receive inspection of the company premises by the Municipality

Once the municipality receives the request for inspection of the company premises from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, it contacts the entrepreneur to schedule an inspection date in order to verify that the premises comply with municipal health and safety regulations. This includes an inspection by the Fire Department to check for compliance with fire regulations. If the company premises successfully pass inspection, the municipality issues a certificate of no objection in the name of the company, allowing the use of the indicated premises as the company location. This process usually takes 5 to 14 days.

Obtain the approval of the memorandum of association from the Department of Companies

The entrepreneur proceeds to the Department of Companies to submit the draft memorandum of association. If the entrepreneur does not use the standard form of the memorandum of association, the amendments or additions to the standard memorandum must be accepted by the MOCI before it approves the company incorporation. Once the final draft is signed, the Department of Companies issues a letter addressed to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) requesting the authentication of the company incorporation, accompanied by the draft memorandum of association.

Notarise the memorandum of association before a public notary

The entrepreneur submits the draft memorandum of association along with Department of Companies’ letter and the bank capital deposit certificate to the Notary Public Department at the Ministry of Justice. The officer verifies that the required documents are complete and schedules an appointment for signing before the notary public at the Company Formation Department of the Ministry of Justice, during which the memorandum of association is signed by the founding partners and notarised on the set date in 3 originals: one for the company, one for the Ministry of Justice, and one to be field with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Register with the Commercial Registry

The entrepreneur files a signed and notarised copy of the memorandum of association at the Department of Companies of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. A copy thereof is then submitted to the Commercial Registry and a certificate of registration is obtained. The certificate of registration includes the company’s full name and commercial registration number.

Obtain the commercial license from the Department of Companies

Once the commercial registration certificate is issued, the entrepreneur obtains the commercial license from the Department of Companies.

Register with the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The company must apply for membership at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry by submitting copies of its commercial license and memorandum of association, and filling out a specimen signature form signed by the company’s authorised signatories. The membership is a pre-requisite to dealing with other government authorities, banks and participation in public tenders.

Register with Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI)

The company must register with the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) in order to obtain a civil number, which is required in dealing with other governmental bodies.

Register at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

The Ministry of Labor may inspect the premises to determine whether the size of the company premises and its business scope are commensurate with the number of employees declared at the Ministry.

Processing Time: Approx. 1 month

Cost: KWD 323 (Approx. USD 1,000)

Shareholding Company

Shareholding companies are either public or closed. They must be composed by at least five shareholders. The Kuwait shareholding company (SAK or KSC) is similar to a common law limited liability company, with a board of directors and share certificates.

It can engage in any form of activity, but has a higher capital requirement of KWD 100,000 or more. Foreigners are allowed to participate in the formation and ownership of public shareholding companies within the 49% limit indicated above, except where 100% ownership is permitted in accordance with the foreign direct investment law. The founders of a public shareholding company are required to subscribe to at least 10% of the capital.

(SAKC or KSCC) are joint stock companies that do not offer their shares to the public. Regulations concerning foreign participation in such companies are broadly similar to those applicable to Kuwait shareholding companies.

On a different note, a closed shareholding company may take the form of a holding company (sharika qabida ) in accordance with law number 117/1992. A holding company may own shares in Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti companies, including limited liability companies and may take part in the founding of such companies, provide loans to them and guarantee them against third parties in accordance with limits specified in the law.

Incorporation Process (Public)

  • Prepare and submit an application stating the activities to be performed to the MOCI,
  • MOCI would communicate advice to the:
    • Legislative,
    • Ministry of Councils,
  • Promoter’s would deposit 30% of the capital,
  • Publish the Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Association in the official Kuwait Gazette,
  • Obtain promoters signatures on Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Association,
  • Start public subscription and allotment process,
  • Issue of share certificate,
  • Manage the General Assembly of the newly incorporated company.

Incorporation Process (Closed)

  • Prepare and submit an application stating the activities to be performed to the MOCI,
  • Promoter’s and shareholder’s would deposit capital,
  • Prepare and submit the Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Association to the MOCI,
  • Obtain signatures of promoters and shareholders on the Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Association,
  • Publish the Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Association in the official Kuwait Gazette,
  • Issue of share certificate,
  • Manage the General Assembly of the newly incorporated company.

Processing Time: If a licence is granted, incorporation typically takes six months.

Partnership

The Commercial Companies Law also governs the formation of partnerships, both general and limited. A general partnership is an association of two or more persons formed under a specific name to carry on commercial business. It has a separate legal personality, but its members are jointly and separately liable for its obligations to the extent of their entire personal property.

There are two types of limited partnership: the simple limited partnership and the partnership limited by shares. A simple limited partnership consists of joint liability members (general partners), who are jointly and separately liable for the partnership debts to the extent of all their assets, and sleeping members (limited partners), who are liable only to the extent of their respective contributions. A partnership limited by shares is a limited partnership whose capital is divided into shares. Members are generally subject to the same rules as shareholders in a shareholding company.

Branch

Foreign corporate bodies are not entitled to set up a branch in Kuwait (except in specific cases where the foreign corporate body has obtained an approval from KDIPA). If the foreign corporate bodies do not wish to do business in Kuwait through a participation in a shareholding company or a limited liability company, it can engage in business in Kuwait only through a Kuwaiti commercial agent or a Kuwaiti service agent (as explained below).

Under the CCL a branch is not a recognised legal form for foreign investors. It should be noted however that for the purpose of tax filing and certain other practical purposes, it is convenient to refer to Kuwait operations of foreign corporate bodies as “branch” operations.

  • Kuwait Employer of Record Overview

Kuwait Employer of Record Overview

  • Kuwait Employer of Record Overview

Kuwait

Kuwait

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