Neyla Rahal
Neyla Rahal

In the announcement of the strategic goals of Saudi Arabia’s capital entitled “the Future Investment Initiative Riyadh 2030” on 15 February 2021, the Saudi government established new requirements whereby international companies are required to relocate their regional headquarters (RHQ) into Saudi Arabia in order to access government tenders and contracts with institutions, agencies and funds owned by the Saudi government. This requirement is believed to be implemented as from 1 January 2024.

RHQ Licensing & Other Considerations.

Although until this day no law has been issued regulating the RHQ, various governmental authorities dealt with RHQs. Both Invest Saudi and the Ministry of Investment (MISA) gave the RHQ a similar definition providing that it is ” …, a unit of a multinational group duly established under the laws of Saudi Arabia for the purpose of supporting, managing, and providing strategic direction to its branches, subsidiaries and affiliates operating in MENA region”.

For its establishment in Saudi Arabia, a RHQ requires a license issued by MISA which typically includes filing  the following (i) a copy of the applicant’s commercial registration or trade license, (ii) copies of at least two commercial registration or commercial license issued in two different countries (excluding Saudi Arabia and the country in which the applicant’s headquarters is located), and (iii) the applicant’s annual audited consolidated financial statement of the last financial year; All these documents should be certified with the Saudi embassy in the relevant jurisdictions.

Following are MISA’s conditions to receive the RHQ’s license: (i) the applicant should have a minimum presence in two different countries excluding Saudi Arabia and the country in which the applicant headquarters is located, either through subsidiaries or branches; (ii) the RHQ should take the form of an independent legal entity i.e., either as a company or as a registered branch for a foreign company, (iii) RHQ should only generate revenue from conducting the RHQ’s licensed activity, (iv) RHQ must commence its mandatory[1] licensed activities within six months of issuing the license and at least three of its optional[2] activities within one year of issuing the license, (v) RHQ employees must have the relevant skills and knowledge developed at the headquarters or another regional headquarters of the multinational group (with at least three employees must be of executive director and vice-president level), and, (vi) the RHQ must employ at least fifteen full time employees deployed in the conduct of RHQ activities within one year of issuing the license.

Conversely, the RHQ’s license may be revoked by MISA in any of the following situations: (i) failure to commence the mandatory or optional RHQ licensed activities, or hiring the minimum number of employees within the stipulated time periods, (ii) the cessation of any mandatory RHQ activities or a minimum of three optional RHQ activities, (iii) the cessation of satisfying any of the RHQ license conditions by the RHQ or

[1] – Mandatory RHQ activities are the provision of strategic direction and management functions such as business planning and Budgeting etc

[2] – The optional RHQ activities such as Sales and Marketing Support, Human Resources, Training Services, Financial Management etc

the multinational group, and (iv) violation of any licensing regulation established by MISA constituting grounds for cancellation.


 As per Invest Saudi, RHQs benefit from several incentives as part of encouraging investment in Saudi Arabia, such as loan programs, energy and utility enablement, employment support program, exporting credit financing, guarantee and insurance, attractive tax credits and exceptions etc.


 The Saudi Vision 2030, which includes the RHQ program, constitutes an outstanding opportunity for multinational companies to take part in and benefit from the various opportunities available in Saudi Arabia. Per MISA, a large number of international companies have received licenses to relocate their regional headquarters to Riyadh as part of a program to attract regional headquarters. Given the Kingdom determination, more multinational companies are expected to relocate to Riyadh in 2023.

Meysan Obtains Rare Annulment of Previous ICSID Judgment; only 5% of Annulment Applications Granted in the History of ICSID – Agility Will Refile Claims Against Iraq.
Meysan Obtains Rare Annulment of Previous ICSID Judgment; only 5% of Annulment Applications Granted in the History of ICSID – Agility Will Refile Claims Against Iraq.

In a major Victory for Agility, this Action is a Bellwether of Whether there is a True Rule of Law for Those Who Invest in Iraq Three years ago, an international arbitration tribunal constituted under the auspices of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) denied claims… Read more

Meysan Secures Landmark Decision: Administrative Court Overturns Kuwait Capital Markets Authority’s Ruling
Meysan Secures Landmark Decision: Admini...

In a landmark decision, Meysan succeeded in obtaining an administrative court ruling overturning a decision by Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority.  Meysan represented a shareholder in a local logistics company who submitted a whistleblower complaint to the CMA, alleging that the company had failed to properly comply with local disclosure obligations,… Read more

Meysan Secures favorable judgment for Al Farwaniyah Property Developments LLC in a high-stakes litigation
Meysan Secures favorable judgment for Al...

Abu Dhabi, UAE - In a significant legal victory, Meysan has successfully secured a favorable judgment for its client, Al Farwaniyah Property Developments LLC, in a high-stakes litigation involving claims exceeding 137,000,000 UAE dirhams. The case originated when a bank initiated legal proceedings against Al Farwaniyah and other parties, seeking… Read more

Meysan advises Universe Group United Holding Company KSCC on the divestiture of its majority share in Universe Education Company KSCC.
Meysan advises Universe Group United Hol...

Meysan is delighted to announce its role as the sole legal advisor to Universe Group United Holding Company KSCC in the pivotal divestiture of its majority share in Universe Education Company KSCC. Universe Education Company KSCC is the prestigious owner and operator of Dasman Bilingual School, a leading educational institution in… Read more

Meysan Secures $490 million Judgment in favor of Agility against Kurdistan
Meysan Secures $490 million Judgment in ...

Meysan Secures $490 million Judgment in favor of Agility against Kurdistan Kuwait – January 31, 2024. In a landmark ruling, the Kuwaiti Court of Cassation rejected an appeal lodged by the Kurdistan Regional Government against a ruling of Kuwait’s Court of Appeal in favor of Alcazar Capital, a subsidiary of… Read more

Meysan’s Cairo Office Secures Moustafa El Sirty’s Immediate Return to Squash After Overturning ITA’s Two-Year Suspension
Meysan’s Cairo Office Secures Mous...

The Cairo office of Meysan successfully represented professional squash player, Moustafa El Sirty, resulting in his return to the courts with immediate effect after the International Testing Agency (ITA) had sought to impose a two-year suspension. In January of 2023, the ITA informed El Sirty that he had triggered an… Read more