In order to start a business in Bahrain, one of the first things you need to do is get yourself a commercial registration, known as a CR. It’s a unique number, registration, and license that formalizes your business and allows you to legally do business in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Sijilat, makes starting your business and getting set up a lot easier, more than ever. The government’s online platform launched in May 2016 by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Tourism and simplifies the process for business owners to apply for CRs, licenses, change/add activities, and much more.
In case you’re not familiar, Sijilat is an online platform where you can apply for a commercial registration for your business/startup.
The process of getting a CR might be a very heavy burden on your shoulder, especially if you’re unfamiliar with it, from printing and preparing your paperwork, driving back and forth to government offices and obtaining permits in this heat. But what if we told you, that you don’t have to worry about that anymore? With the Sijilat platform, you can do all of that through the comfort of your air-conditioned home or office.
Here are 8 things that you can do with the Sijilat platform you may have not known about:
- Register & apply for your CR: No longer will you have to run around Bahrain to get all your documents in check. Say goodbye to the traditional bureaucratic hassle, because with the Sijilat platform, all you need is a laptop, a WiFi connection, your advanced eKey and those precious documents. An advanced eKey allows you to access the Sijilat platform, and it’s very simple to get. All you have to do is visit an eGovernment center – there are three options to choose from. You can pick from going to the Information and eGovernment Authority Office in Isa Town, Bahrain Investors Center in the Financial Harbour, or the Social Insurance Organization in the Diplomatic Area. You can find more information on the locations here. Once you get there, you will be asked to scan your fingerprint and present your Bahraini CPR, and you have your advanced eKey! GCC nationals can use their government-issued IDs. In order to register, you should go to “New Registration” under the “Commercial Registration” menu.
- Track your application: Instead of waiting for your CR’s approval and calling the Investor’s Center every 2 days, through the Sijilat platform, you can track all the phases and stages after submitting your application all the way to its approval! Head over to the Sijilat website, click on “Commercial Registration” on the top menu, and select “Application Status Enquiry”. From there you will find all requests submitted in the period selected in “Request Date”. You can check the status of your application by clicking the link in the status column, which will show you the current status in red.
- Get a Virtual CR: You’re just starting out with your business, and you don’t have an office space yet, what do you do? We have the solution for you. Sijilat has launched a feature called Sijili, where you can get a Virtual CR, and the best part is, a physical address isn’t required. You can put your home address, work from a cafe, since everything you need is on a laptop. Instead of worrying about rent, you can invest in the quality of your business. We have a complete guide on how to get your virtual CR here. Please note that this is only available for Bahraini nationals.
- Amendments: You’re one step closer to completing the application process of your CR, but then you realize you made a huge mistake! Don’t worry, through the Sijilat platform you can request and process all the changes you desire, rather than having to stand in a queue in the dawn of day. You can change the company address (if you have one), the commercial name, activities (the nature of goods/services you will provide), branches, and more. It’s all under “Amendments” under the “Commercial Registration” menu.
You finished uploading the documents for your CR, but what if you want to change business activities? To change activities, go to the “Commercial Registration” menu on the top, select “Amendments” and click “manage activity”. From there, you will be asked to type the CR number, and you will be directed to change activities.
You finally received your CR, but you still can’t operate legally in Bahrain without a business license, which you can also get through Sijilat. The process is simplified by clicking on “Obtain license” under the “Commercial Registration” menu on the website, write the CR number, add in all the activities, upload all required documents, and click submit. Depending on the business activities, you will be guided to government agencies and the number of working days will vary.
- CR Renewal: Just when you think you’re finally over the bureaucracy of registering for your CR, it comes back again to bite you for renewal. Guess what? You can also renew your CR using the Sijilat platform, and no longer have to worry about the stress of going back to a very lengthy process, Sijilat has it all eased out for you! A CR is valid for one year and is renewed annually. It’s very simple to renew on the Sijilat platform. All you have to do is select “Public Service” on the top menu, and select “CR Renewal”, type the CR number, click search, and click renew. After renewing, an electronic certificate will be sent to your email.
- Submit annual report: Once you have your business up and running, every year you are required to submit an audit report that highlights the financial activities that you have done the past year. You can also do this on Sijilat by clicking on “Other Services” on the top menu, and click on “Annual Report”. Enter in your details and you have uploaded your annual report, as simple as that.
Now that you know the basics of the features of the Sijilat platform, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Sijilat, and learn more about getting a CR all within the comfort of your home/office. If you need any other clarifications, you can always use the live chat feature that’s there to answer all of your doubts!
While you’re at it, you can check out our complete guide on how to get your CR here.