Accreditation of Foreign Representative Offices

A representative office is a format a foreign entity may choose to act in the Russian Federation. With an established representative office, a foreign company may elaborate contracts and projects, conduct market research and build up relations with partners.

A representative office of a foreign organization meets the following criteria:

— Executives of a representative office are appointed by the parent company
— Branches have no legitimate grounds to exercise rights of a legal entity. They must follow the established regulations.
— A representative office is set up outside the location of the parent company.
— A certain portion of the company’s assets is transferred to its branches; the assets are recorded on dedicated accounts and entered in the parent company’s books.

It is the parent company that will be liable for the actions of its foreign representative office. To set up a branch in a foreign country, it is allowed to use a professional lawyer’s service.

Accreditation of branches: required documents

To initiate the accreditation procedure, the senior manager of a foreign entity must file the following documents with the relevant authority:
1. An application drawn up by the head of the parent company, with indication of the representative office details.
2. A registration certificate (or any other document certifying that the company is legally registered).
3. Documents stating the company’s financial condition and reputation.
4. A notarized power of attorney drawn up according to the prescribed rules that authorizes the head of the branch.
5. Reference letters from two business partners both being Russian citizens.
6. A documentary evidence of the branch set up in Russia.
For accreditation of representative offices, a legal support service provider may be engaged. All documents must be made in accordance with the Russian laws; they must be made in the official language of the Russian Federation (or translated to Russian) and notarized.

Accreditation: obtaining and prolongation

A foreign representative office may be accredited by virtue of a permit of the relevant authority. Accreditation is valid for 1 to 3 years and may be extended at the option of the business owner. During the whole period of operation in the Russian Federation, a foreign representative office may employ personnel accreditation and passport services. Operations of a representative office are deemed legitimate and compliant with the legal standards.

To extend the accreditation validity period, a foreign legal entity must file an application. If application is made with delay, the representative office will be considered closed and its operations illegitimate. To extend accreditation, the documents obtained at the initial accreditation (registration certificate and permit to establish the representative office) will be re-issued.

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