Representative office of a foreign company in the Russian Federation may be established only with the permission of the accrediting authority. In Russia such functions are performed by the State Registration Chamber of the Russian Federation and some other authorities.
To establish a representative office in any region except Moscow it is necessary to come to an agreement with local authorities.
Representative offices may perform only representation and protection of the interests of the foreign Company.
Accreditation is allowed for 1, 2 or 3 years and may be extended.
The State Registration Chamber accredits the representative office and registers it in the Consolidated State register. All representative office should be registered in the Register despite the accrediting authority. Certificate of registration is the official confirmation of the representative officeвЂ™s status on the federal level and is required to open bank accounts, for registration by tax authorities, application for Russian visas and customs procedures.
Normally the Certificate of registration and Certificate of accreditation are processed within 21 days from the day when the complete set documents was filed. When it is necessary the period of processing may be reduced to 7 days.
Here is the list of documents, required to open a representative office:
- Written application with the request to authorize establishment of the representative office of foreign Company in the Russian Federation (the application should be made on the Foreign CompanyвЂ™s letterhead and signed by the head of the Company, should bear Company's seal and include organization's name, the date of its establishment, location, sphere of business activities, purposes of establishment of its representative office in Russia, as well as the information regarding business cooperation with Russian partners and the prospects of development of such cooperation)
- Registration certificate of the foreign Company or extract from the Trade (Bank) Register (the document is valid for 6 months from the date of its issue)
- The charter of foreign Company (in case the charter is not stipulated by the legislation of the country of the foreign CompanyвЂ™s registration, a document confirming such legal rule is required, and it should be issued by corresponding authority of the country of registration)
- The decision of foreign Company to establish its representative office in Russia
- Recommendation letter of the CompanyвЂ™s bank in the country of its registration with the confirmation of the CompanyвЂ™s solvency (the document is valid for 6 months from the date of its issue)
- General power-of-attorney issued to the head of the representative office of foreign Company in the Russian Federation that grants him all necessary powers (submission of copy, certified by the notary, of the original document is possible)
- Power-of-attorney issued to the representative entrusting him to represent the Company in the Chamber with regards to filing the documents for authorization to open the representative office in the Russian Federation
- Charter of the representative office of foreign Company in the Russian Federation
- Document that confirms the address of the representative office of foreign Company in the Russian Federation (should be submitted in the form of a guarantee letter with the stamp of Technical Inventory Bureau or with enclosed rent contract or enclosed legal ownership certificate)
- Recommendation letters of Russian business partners (should be submitted at least 2 letters, made on companies' letterheads in a free manner bearing signatures of companies' heads and companies' seals)
- Document confirming that the location of the representative office is agreed with local authorities (is submitted in case the representative office is to be established outside of Moscow)
- Information card with data about the representative office of foreign legal entity (distributed by the Chamber, should be printed in 2 copies and have the signature of the representative of foreign legal entity and company's stamp).
It should be noted that foreign documents are accepted with original consular legalization stamps only or certified by apostille, unless such procedure is canceled by international treaties of the Russian Federation, and should have Russian translation, certified by the notary or by consular organization abroad.
Branches of foreign Companies
There is almost no difference between representative offices and branches. The main but the most important difference is that branches may perform all functions of the foreign Company as if it was the Company itself. On the contrary representative offices are allowed to perform only representative functions such as: protection of the CompanyвЂ™s interests, analysis of market and economic situation in Russia, search for business partners and control of ContractsвЂ™ performance.
The same is true with regards to the list of documents required to establish a branch in Russia.
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