Saudi Arabia is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the whole world. They were even awarded the record for the largest amount of money received from investments in 2021. This kingdom offers an attractive market for foreign investors. Among them, are the strategic location, political stability, young and consuming population, and diversified economy. It is important to note that there are some challenges and restrictions that all people who want to make foreign investment in Saudi Arabia must consider.

In this article, you will see everything you need to know about foreign investment strategies in Saudi Arabia and establishing business in the kingdom. The first thing is to give a step-by-step guide on how you can invest in the country. Especially in businesses that are in the process of formation. We will also show you information about very important licenses for the creation of companies. In addition, we will show you a set of strategies to be successful if you want to invest in Saudi.

How to Invest in Saudi Arabia for Business Setup

foreign investment in saudi arabia

If you are thinking about how to invest in Saudi Arabia, you should know everything that we will present in this article. Today, the KSA is a new center for business investment that has had a rapid emergence in the region. In addition, it has one of the largest economies in the Arab world and continues to grow at a high speed. Making it one of the best places to start a business in the Middle East.

Thanks to Saudi Arabia’s strong economy, it is a great place for foreigners to invest. The first thing to consider is taxes, an area where Saudi Arabia excels. In this way, the personal income tax obligations for foreign investors are lower. Furthermore, the country is dedicated to diversifying its economy and building a vibrant society with its 2030 vision.

Establishing a company in KSA is easy and that attracts many investors from all over the world to do business. In this way, the Ministry of Investments published a manual to make clear the procedures and conditions for the issuance of the pertinent permits. An investment license must first be issued, presenting to the authorities their financial statements of the previous year.

Then, it will be necessary to present a document to the Ministries indicating the inclination to the branches in foreign companies. Now, the commercial registry of the parent company will be necessary. Lastly, you will need to open the files and issue the CEO visa. The submitted documents must be translated into Arabic before you submit them to the authorities.

What is a MISA / SAGIA License and Why is Important for Business?

If you want to establish a company in Saudi Arabia, you will need a business license from Saudi Arabia. For this reason, if you are a foreigner and want to establish your company in the KSA, you will need to apply for a SAGIA/MISA license. Thus, being one of the best places to start a company in the Middle East, you must know about the investment license issued by MISA.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) or MISA is an organization that is run by the Saudi Arabian government. This handles all requests that are related to the foreign investment license in Saudi Arabia. Its main objective is to facilitate the entire process related to the application for a foreign investment license for companies.

They help business owners to apply for their investment trading licenses within 30 days. In this way, they will be able to start their business activities most efficiently and profitably. However, SAIGA also works with local businesses and entrepreneurs who want to comply with all the rules and regulations set by the KSA government.

In this way, it helps companies to configure their licenses so that they continue to operate legally in the country. On the other hand, it will be very useful for companies to take advantage of these services. So that they can carry out their procedures more efficiently. In this way, you will not waste time, money, or important documents such as tax documents, etc.

Foreign Investment Strategies in Saudi Arabia

foreign investment in saudi arabia

In order to be successful doing foreign investment in Saudi Arabia, it is good to be clear about certain tips. That is why, in this section, you will see all the possible tips and strategies so that you can invest in Saudi Arabia.

Establish and create connections: Many foreign entrepreneurs and investors agree that looking for partners outside the country is a challenge. But, to succeed in foreign investment in Saudi Arabia you must create a network of allies. Especially, those that are in the search process and that provide clues about which agents or companies are interested in investing.

Manage incentives: All potential investors internationally value incentives. For instance, tax reduction, trade agreements, and other more interesting. These things will allow you to have greater efficiency in the destination of your funds.

Be predictable and transparent: Investors are always looking for companies that provide them with accurate and clear data, according to research. A company that transparently reports results, projects, or acquisitions will attract the attention of many investors.

Provide guarantees: In any type of investment, it is crucial to have guarantees. Guarantees are the key to expanding and retaining flows in the long term. For this, it is important to grant and explain the legal protections that are present in the investment process.

Counter any perception of uncertainty: To make foreign investment in Saudi Arabia, it is important to analyze this factor before disbursing any amount of money. Although the economic conditions in KSA are extremely stable, companies must present a report where you can see what the probable risks are and how you would successfully face them in your financial operations.

Market Research and Analysis

A key step for successful foreign investment planning in Saudi Arabia is market research. It is important to critically evaluate and review all factors that influence investment. In addition, you must determine the ideal market for the investment that interests you the most and then, a profitable and efficient strategy in terms of time.

The first step is to collect trade data so you can gauge the size of the market. To do this, you must look for where there may be opportunities for foreign investment in Saudi Arabia. Subsequently, it is important to know if the demand increases or decreases. If you are interested in small businesses, it is good to identify 3-5 potential markets, which can be very beneficial.

Another step to follow in market research and analysis, you review the reports from Saudi Arabia and the industry that interests you. Thus, you can assess the conditions, market challenges, and opportunities. This will help you decide the market that represents the best opportunities and deserves the investment on your part.

The markets are always in constant change and that is why carrying out a correct analysis is important. In addition, in order to be successful it is always necessary to study as much as possible about the market we want to enter and the growth opportunities that it offers us.

Partnering and Networking

Part of success in today’s business world is through networking and strategic partnerships. Whether you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner, the ability to form strong relationships and partnerships is very helpful. In addition, it allows you to expand your reach and your influence in the market.

Create networks in a process to meet and interact with people and thus achieve the exchange of ideas, information, and resources. In this way, it becomes a vital component for the construction of a very solid professional network. It provides many opportunities for personal growth, personal development, and new business opportunities. Networking takes various forms like conferences, online forums, etc.

On the other hand, when building strategic partnerships, it is about identifying and establishing relationships with other companies. In addition, we can include people who share the same vision and the same values. For this reason, associations can take different forms. These forms include joint ventures, and partnerships for marketing, sales, or product development.

It is important to take into account certain things when making these associations or establishing contacts. One of them is to clearly establish your objectives, define what you want to achieve, and see which company can help you. Identify potential partners and build relationships to achieve previously established goals. Also, communicate clearly and constantly follow up with your contacts and partners.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Some laws deal with issues related to foreign investment and it is important to take them into account. In the KSA foreign investment law, there are all the regulations that a foreigner must take into account when wanting to invest in the country. In this way, you will present the most important details that must be taken into account when investing in Saudi Arabia.

First of all, you find that Article 1 establishes a foreign investor as a natural person who is not of Saudi nationality or who is a legal person where the partners are not all Saudis. Additionally, Article 2 establishes that the authority will be in charge of issuing a license for the investment of foreign capital. All this in any investment activity in the country, regardless of whether it is temporary or permanent.

On the other hand, in Article 4 reference is made to the fact that the foreign investor can obtain more than one license for different activities. In addition, all this will be according to the regulation that will specify the requirements. Article 7 explains that a foreign investor can repatriate his share derived from the sale of capital, company profits, or liquidation surplus.

Investments held by the foreigner cannot be confiscated in whole or in part without a court ruling according to Article 11. In addition, the investor has to comply with all laws, directives, and regulations in force in the KSA. Also with international agreements in which the country is part.

Technology and Innovation

Technology and innovation have always been vital when helping foreign investment. They do so by generating products and services with a very high added value. In this way, they attract demand and competitiveness in the markets. On the other hand, they facilitate the transfer of knowledge, skills, and networks between foreign investors.

It generates opportunities for cooperation and collaboration between national and international actors. Thus, promoting research, innovation, and development in many strategic sectors. They even offer solutions to the different social and economic challenges that companies present and in this case foreign investors.

Thanks to technology and innovation, the country’s economy has grown substantially. For this reason, it is important to promote these aspects so that foreign investment companies can grow within the market. In addition, by strengthening the capacity for innovation, strategies can be promoted that allow great economic growth, not only for companies but also for the country.

The Role of Foreign Investors in KSA

Saudi Arabia has had a remarkable transformation phase, thanks to the opportunities offered to investors. In this way, it has managed to occupy a unique economic position within the countries of the group of twenty. Thanks to its abundant natural resources and being the union of 3 continents, it is the most important gateway in the world as a center of important commercial lines.

In 2020, foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia registered annual growth for the third consecutive year. Currently, the country is implementing very ambitious projects to attract foreign investment. In this way, the total inflows of foreign direct investment managed to rise to 907,000 million riyals at the end of 2020.

This huge growth of foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia occurred despite the large decline in the volume of foreign investment around the world. In this way, the great confidence that exists in the future of the Saudi economy and its growth potential is evident. For Saudi Arabia foreign investment flow can be divided into 3 sections.

These investments are direct investments within the economy, portfolio, and other investments. According to the data, foreign direct investment represented 45.2% of the total. On the other hand, portfolio investments represented 29.2% of the total, while other investments represented 25.6%. In this way, you observe how the Saudi market is highly influenced by these foreign investments.


Throughout this article, different foreign investment strategies and business establishments in the KSA have been explored. Noting that this is a country with many opportunities and challenges for foreign investors. In addition, all the main aspects to consider if you want to invest or establish a company in the growing market of Saudi Arabia were analyzed.

It is important to take into account which are the most promising sectors according to the 2030 vision plan. For this reason, you should learn about the fiscal and financial incentives offered by the Saudi government. Among these, you can find the exemption or reduction of income tax or the exemption of value-added tax better known as VAT.

It was possible to establish what are the options and the requirements. So that it could constitute a legal entity in the market. You can choose from a variety of entities such as Limited Liability Companies or joint Stock Companies. In this way, it is clear that Saudi Arabia is one of the most attractive destinations for foreigners. Especially, those looking for a country where to make their investments.

However, very careful planning and professional advice must be made. For this reason, it is recommended that you seek professional help and here at Company Formation Saudi. With us, you have all of that at hand from the best experts in the field. Look no further and start your investment abroad by contacting the number +971 43 31 6688 or email

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