• Anis Ben Fraj,

How to set up your company in Kingdom of Bahrain

Since I receive lots of questions concerning starting a restaurant business and how to register a company I thought to put the process and bullet point to get you started easily in your company formation

To start your company and before you get to that you have to choose your legal set up of the company such an SPC (Single person company) or WLL (With limited liability, can have more than one partner). Depending on the activities you choose, you can get investor visas for each partner, plus 6 to 15 employment / work visas this is for Food and beverage activities whether brick and mortar location or mobile truck. You need to put a deposit or capital to finance your company in the bank to start. The requirements have been reduced and in fact, there is no strict requirement but it has to be coherent with what you planning to start. Most people choose to open it with 10000 BHD.

There are other company types but I will not talk about them as they are more complex and are not relevant to starting a one unit restaurant or cafe.


CR: Commercial registration. The certificate with unique number for your company like identity it will show company name, CR number, activities you are allowed to trade and work in.


Activities: The business your company is licensed to work. Choose carefully the activities you need for your company

The first 3 activities on the CR cost 100 BHD and thereafter any additional single activity cost 100 BHD

Restaurant activities have additional approval from municipality affairs, civil defense and ministry of health


Sijilat: The Ministry of Industry and Commerce website which is very user friendly. Through it you can apply for the CR, amendment, adding branch etc… but you need the Ekey to access the sign in part, you can activate it in one of the counter of the ministry of commerce located in financial center, just ask you want to activate your ekey (take your CR with you.

Step by Step company formation:


· Login to Sijilat website with your Ekey and apply for a new CR. You need to have name for your company in English and Arabic, partner’s details (CPR/Passport), the chosen activities ready, the authority levels choice(Solely or Jointly), shareholding of each partner, roles of each partner etc.

· The application will go security check if all is fine application will be approved. It takes around 3 days to get outcome.

· At this stage you have created you commercial registration without activities to apply in next step

Now to get a license, you need to have four things:

· Address for your business. A physical office depending on the activities listed in the CR. The cost is anywhere from a 100 BHD per month to 500 BHD per month. You need to upload a lease contract in the website of MOIC

· Bank account for the company to exercise its transactions you will need to take all company documents: active CR/ board resolution on company letter head stamped nominating authorized parties/ lease contract/passports, CPR copies of all partners. Then you have to make the capital deposit as per your agreed MOA. Bank will issue a capital deposit certificate.

Please be aware that you cannot operate the account until all partners are on the visa of the new company.

· Upload the bank letter and lease agreement. You should get approval and your CR will show as active. You are ready for business.

Registration of the company with LMRA

· Go to LMRA with a board resolution nominating responsible and authorized persons, passport copies, CPR, lease agreement, copy of active CR, electricity bond etc and apply at the counter to register your company

· LMRA will register your company but may not issue logins for EMS (Expat Management System which you need to apply online for permits) until the partners start getting on the visas for the company

· You can apply for an investor visa through EMS or at the LMRA counter. After a time period ranging anywhere from 1 weeks to 4 weeks, you will get your visa and will be able to get your passport stamped. You might have to do a medical if you haven’t done one in Bahrain before (if you are not in Bahrain)

· Update CPR (need residential address) and bank to let them take details in CPR reader, all the partners need to do that. Your account is ready for transaction

· For the EMS login, go to LMRA counter again and request them. It really is essential for you to keep track of all labor related requirements online and pay the monthly and visa fees

· Then you need to prepare your drawings showing the different section of the restaurant as per the ministry of health requirement, you need to take the drawings and get them approved and stamped before you start working on your shop. The process takes around 5 days.

· Same apply for the Civil defense authority you need to prepare the drawings showing the safety precaution required get them approved by the civil defense, they will visit the site to make sure all is correct. Process take 5 days

That’s all for this time


Investor guide: https://www.sijilat.bh/PFL/009.System%20Process%20English.pdf

FAQ’s: https://www.sijilat.bh/PFL/011.FAQs%20English.pdf

For more information on starting your company, Cooking pot F&B consultancy can help, please complete this contact form or call and we will be happy to guide you through the process.

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