How to set up your own company in Bahrain

Marlie007 :

Another area of confusion that I need help with. I have a CR w/o licence for a partnership company. Me and my partner both have 50% share each. While applying for the licence I was asked for Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO). I put my name in but it would not accept it. Can someone explain this to me?

I don't have the link for MOA.  But you can ask an agent to get one for you or do a search for one.   Board resolution is simple - just type it out in a word document and print on your letter head. Sign and stamp it.   Just label it as Board resolution dated xyz and write out what you want to say.

Is the application progressing without UBO?  if so, go ahead and you can add it later.  This is something recent and is basically about designating a single point of contact for the whole company.

Thanks Xtang. I just went through the notes. Much clear now.
Can you please guide with good document clearing agent to begin process. Please PM if you can.
Appreciate your help.

Quick update: I have been to VFS today and enquired on visa fees.for Saudi business visit for Indian nationals:(Might differ for other nationalities)
It's 120bd for 6 months multiple entry business visit
150bd for an year (But they stopped processing this category for now).
So one could just apply for 6 months multiple entry business visa.

They have stopped for most nationalities anything beyond 6 months since last year.   I will see if I can find a good agency but in this, pretty much everyone is the same.  They are just coordinators and not much else.

That's the point. Everyone seems to be just delivery boys as you rightly pointed out earlier.
The much bigger issue is most of them doesn't seem to have any knowledge of the process.
For instance: I was with one the agents this noon and was shocked to hear that even Investors have to pay GOSI every month. My understanding was that 3% fee is only applicable to employees not business owners. This was confirmed again by another agent.

In addition to that, their prices.. Some need 650bd and most of them reasonably at 400bd.

Anyways please let me know if you come across any good agent.

Thanks again.

Understood. Thanks again.

XTang :

That is the tricky bit.   It used to be that you would get the 30 visas.  Nowadays, I am not so sure with the increased level of inspections and other issues.  Check in your EMS system - does it show the permit level?   check in the Update Unit/CR info (only responsible person can see this option) and it should show you as part of the Bahrainization calculator.  If it doesn't, then first ask e-support through raising a ticket.

Hi XTang,

Thanks a lot for your reply.

6)    At this stage, you need to upload draft “Memorandum of Association” which is in essence the charter for your company showing ownership, capital being deposited, shares of all partners etc.  It must be in line with the company law. Standard formats are available easily.

Sir where can these standard formats be found? I have seached using all the possible terms but couldn't find any.

Digen_star :

6)    At this stage, you need to upload draft “Memorandum of Association” which is in essence the charter for your company showing ownership, capital being deposited, shares of all partners etc.  It must be in line with the company law. Standard formats are available easily.

Sir where can these standard formats be found? I have seached using all the possible terms but couldn't find any.

I saw some on the internet a year ago.  But if not available, you can ask your agent to provide you the same and then keep a soft copy.

Kamran_here :

That's the point. Everyone seems to be just delivery boys as you rightly pointed out earlier.
The much bigger issue is most of them doesn't seem to have any knowledge of the process.
For instance: I was with one the agents this noon and was shocked to hear that even Investors have to pay GOSI every month. My understanding was that 3% fee is only applicable to employees not business owners. This was confirmed again by another agent.

That is wrong.  Investors don't have to pay GOSI.  Instead they fall under a category called voluntary insurance for self employed people and business owners i.e. it is your choice to register.  Go to the SIO website and you can see the details.

You have to understand the process.  When you set up your company, it DOES NOT get registered with SIO automatically.   You will find that out when you try and apply for an employee work permit and the application will be returned by LMRA saying that the salary record needs to exist at SIO.

SIO is a separate registration process.   Once registered, you can get your online account and see the invoices generated there.  For example, I just logged into my account and saw the January invoice for my company which has only investors and the number shown is zero.  There are also no owings for the past months - I registered with SIO back in Oct 2018.

Similarly, your company does NOT get registered automatically with BCCI either. You DO pay the fees at the time of registration but most people don't bother to keep up with the BCCI fees.  You can check different CRs on Sijilat and you will different expiry dates for BCCI membership and CR.   To register, you have to submit a separate form to BCCI with authorized signatures.   BCCI membership matters in different areas e.g. when you apply for a Saudi visa, they want your company to give an NOC, ATTESTED by BCCI.  And BCCI won't attest unless you have done the separate registration process with them and gotten a card.  Just paying fees online at MOIC won't matter.

There are lots of complexities in keeping a company running in Bahrain and most people don't know them.  When you have your first inspection from LMRA, you will come back here worried and ask for more details - the agents won't tell you those now :).

What about the expat who have come to Bahrain on a dependent visa and after a year of residing they decide to register their own company and get a business CR.

Can they continue on the same dependent visa after the CR registration or is it mandatory that they get their investor visa done?

If your name is on the CR and you don't have an investor visa:

1) Legally you cannot work on behalf of the company that you set up
2) LMRA will register establishment but will not give anyone EMS access unless or until they are on the visas of the CR
3) Your bank accounts won't be activated as banks make a big deal about all partners being on the visa of the company before they activate accounts

I don't see the reason why you would want to remain on a dependent visa after setting up a company in your name.

That was helpful. Thank you. My CR is under process for now. Will do the needful

Also, just a word of caution for everyone who is setting up their companies; LMRA is doing unprecedented and heavy inspections since Dec 2018.  The reasons for this are not clear but it must be due to some issue.

They are visiting literally every single company and marking offences (almost 100% of the companies have been hit in business centers & incubators i.e. the cheap monthly rental ones).  Then when you apply to clear the violation, they do a re-inspection.  And for the first time ever, companies are being asked to verify their genuineness i.e. show bank statements and work contracts. 

If you are setting up a company just for visas, it is not advised at all in the current climate.

I am having problems finding a soft copy as well. The only one I have found is for a bank in pdf. MoA and AoA

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