The Law Firm of Hazim Al Madani Attorneys and Legal Consultants
Regulations and Conditions for opening shops and businesses for 24 hours a day in the Kingdom
On December 29, 2019G, corresponding to Jumada Al-Awwal 2, 1441H, the Saudi Council of Ministers (Cabinet) issued a decision allowing shops and businesses to remain open 24/7 subject that they meet certain criteria and conditions.
The decision authorized the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs to verify and confirm that norms, conditions and regulations were fulfilled by applicants requesting a permit or an approval to remain open around the clock.
Applicants can get approval to operate 24 hours a day in return for certain fees contained in the decision issued by the Saudi cabinet, except for some commercial activities that have been exempted from paying such fees, as specified by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs.
The decision stipulated that the fees to be imposed upon commercial businesses willing to obtain an authorization to stay open round the clock shall not exceed SAR 100,000.
The Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs determines the estimate of such fees based on the nature of each commercial activity being undertaken around the clock, each separately, taking into account that the maximum limit of such fees must NOT surpass the amount provided in the cabinet decision, subject to the area of the shop and the type of the activity being practiced.
The Minister shall take also into consideration that there are some commercial activities that have been excluded from paying such fees, in accordance with the exigencies of the public interest or the nature of such activities. These activities are: pharmaceutical activities, medical activities, educational activities, petrol stations (fuel only service), and service centers located outside urban areas, wedding halls, rest houses, hotels, hotel apartments and resorts.
On the other hand, a permit or an approval to engage in a commercial activity 24/7 shall be issued in coordination between the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Interior.
The Ministry must also coordinate with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development when laying down the necessary regulations with respect to employing workers after completing their official working hours, which is determined in accordance with the labor law as 8 hours a day.
General Rules & Major Conditions required to obtain a permit from the Ministry to open shops and businesses around the clock
- Submit an application to obtain a permit through Balady e-Platform at the Ministry’s online portal.
- Provide the personal information of applicant of the permit such as National ID, Applicant Name and Contact Number. (Cell phone)
- Submit a declaration to undertake that the personal information provided is true and valid.
- Provide full information of the shop or the commercial facility, its name, the nature of the commercial activity, coordinates of the shop or the commercial facility and its geographical location.
- Submit a declaration undertaking to install surveillance cameras.
- Attach the cameras installation certificate in the Ministry’s website.
- Payment of fees required to obtain the permit via the online portal of the Ministry.
NOTE: The permit sometimes requires complying with further conditions with regard to some shops which undertake certain types of commercial activities. Some of the conditions are: to open the shop on a main street, to mention the number of employees working for the shop or the commercial facility; to state their names, addresses, their data ID, installing a certain light system, along with other additional conditions, which are provided upon the discretion of the Ministry, in its capacity as the competent authority to lay down the conditions, criteria and regulations that govern granting permits to applicants.
Electronic procedural steps to be followed to obtain permission to open shops for 24 hours:
- Submit an application to obtain the permit from the Ministry:
An applicant should first log into the website of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, access the Balady e-Platform and submit an application through the commercial activities licensing tab and click the option ‘Permits to open a commercial activity for 24 hours’.
- Submit a declaration by the applicant to undertake that the information given is true and valid:
After submitting the declaration undertaking that the information filed is true and authentic, and after reviewing the agreement on using the Balady e-Platform, the applicant then types his/her username and password.
- Review of the information of the principle license and the main information of the owner:
The applicant must review the license information, particularly the unified license number and forward it to the Ministry. The applicant must also review the information of the principle license such as the secretariat, municipality, license number, date of issuance, expiry date, the main information of the owner such as the National ID and the name of the facility.
- Insert the main data of the owner in terms of the National ID, owner name and name of the facility:
The applicant then fills the spaces required such as the National ID information, owner name and name of the establishment he or she owns. This is to be made through the Balady e-Platform.
- Submit a declaration undertaking that the commercial facility has been furnished with surveillance cameras:
The applicant then submits a declaration and sends it online over the ministry’s portal confirming that surveillance cameras system has been installed in the trading shop or commercial business.
This step is deemed the foremost requirement the Ministry demands to give its permit to open a business round the clock.
- Inserting mobile phone number and verifying it through sending a verification code:
After submitting the declaration and sending confirmation to the Ministry that the surveillance cameras system is in place, the applicant must type in the mobile number in the empty space provided and verify it, after which the Ministry will send back a verification code to the designated phone number. The applicant then types the verification code in the space provided so that the Ministry could verify the applicant of accepting the application.
- Inserting key information of the business and the type of commercial activity practiced and the geographical location, and attaching the certificate confirming that the surveillance cameras system has been installed:
The applicant then has to type the information of the commercial facility such as name and area of the shop, then type the nature of the commercial activity being engaged by the shop, i.e. to specify whether the shop is categorized under the IT and computer services or under another kind of activity such as imports and general trade offices. Lastly, the applicant shall insert the information of the geographical location of the shop such as coordinates, district and name of the street where the shop is situated. Later, the applicant must attach the certificate of installation of surveillance cameras.
- Paying the fees for obtaining the permit of the Ministry:
The applicant then pays the fees in exchange for obtaining the permit of the Ministry which shall take into account the maximum limit of such fees as well as the size of the activity and area of the shop.
Eventually, it is worth noting that the decision shall cater to the social needs of the community like contributing to provision of commodities and services to residents around the clock and will enhance the quality of life in cities.
The decision will open up new horizons for the business sector across all industries and stimulate the kingdom’s macro economy through a growth in demand for goods and services which will boost consumer spending and attract capital investments.
It will specifically help boost certain sectors such as leisure, tourism, transport and communications which will help increase sales and boost the economy.
It will contribute to creating new job opportunities and reducing the unemployment rate in the Kingdom.
The decision will also pave the way to companies, establishments, small and medium enterprises to beef up its contributions in the Kingdom’s GDP.
NOTE: The above content is not a legal opinion.