Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Foreign Community Clubs in Oman

In a post last month, we discussed local Omani associations, which are groups formed to carry out not-for-profit social, cultural or charity activities and are registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labour and Vocational Training (the “Ministry”).

This month, we cover a related topic: foreign community clubs. A foreign community club (or a foreign association) is similar, regarding its function and formation, to a local Omani association. However, there are some additional legal requirements for a foreign community club.

As with local associations, the Ministry supervises all foreign community clubs in the Sultanate of Oman. This includes monitoring their activities and issuing instructions and directives to them to maintain the purpose for which they were set up.

Eligibility for foreign community clubs

Each foreign community may establish only one club in the Sultanate of Oman and only one branch thereof in a region (provided that the number of community members is not less than five hundred in that region). Terms and conditions for the establishment of a foreign community club include:

• the number of the foreign community members working in the Sultanate of Oman is not less than two thousand;
• the number of founders is not less than one hundred (excluding those involved in diplomatic missions);
• each founder is above the age of twenty-five years; and
• a fee of OR 200 for the license is paid on establishment and renewal of the foreign community’s club or any of its branches.

Establishing a club

Applications are to be submitted to the relevant department at the Ministry along with the proposed articles of association. The articles of association are then approved by the Ministry and must be signed by all the founders and accompanied by a profile stating the founders’ names, community and professions.

The Ministry then reviews the application to ensure the foreign community club fulfills the necessary requirements to allow the granting of a license. Licenses are valid for two years, and may be renewed via the same process as the original application (except for the signature of the founders), provided approval of the renewal from the annual meeting of such club is submitted by the chairman together with other documents. The renewal application must be submitted to the Ministry at least two months prior the end of the license period.

The name, headquarters, purposes, financial year, number of directors and name of the chairman shall be recorded for each foreign community club at the Ministry. Any amendments must be approved by the Ministry.