What are the licensing requirements for foreign law firms in Saudi Arabia?

14 March 2023

Mohamed Firas Badawi

A guide for foreign law firms expanding its footprint in Saudi Arabia

Foreign law firms must have a distinguished international reputation in the legal profession. Foreign law firms must have been established for at least 10 years. The firms must have representation or partnerships in at least 3 countries or 5 regions within one country.

They must name at least 2 partners committed to residing in Saudi Arabia for at least 180 days per year. Foreign law firms must pay the license fee. The firms must not have a final judgment against them for a crime against honor or trust or a serious professional violation within the past 5 years.

Licensing Procedures
License applications for foreign law firms must be submitted electronically through the Najiz.sa portal. Required documents include authorization for the legal representative, licensing documents for the foreign law firm and its partners, and an acknowledgment of no prior judgments or decisions against them.

Foreign law firms must obtain a license from the competent authority to grant licenses to foreign investment in KSA. Before practicing in Saudi Arabia, foreign law firms must be registered with the Saudi Bar Association and establish a headquarters for practicing the profession.

Licensing duration & Activities allowed
The license duration is five years, renewable for another period or periods. Renewal applications must be submitted at least 90 days before the license expiry date.

Activities allowed under the license include consulting in matters related to international and non-Saudi regulations, alternative dispute services, and specialized project or legislation-related consulting.

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