The Investment Promotion and Project Support Department of the MFA deals with the setting up procedures and regular activities of foreign companies representation offices in Belarus.
In particular, The Department:
- issues authorization on the setting up of and extending the operational period of foreign companies representation offices in Belarus
- extends the terms of capital assets formation of the enterprises with foreign investments
- maintains the consolidated list of all opened representation offices
- analyses their activities and elaborates relevant recommendations.
The formal procedure whereby a representation office of a foreign company is opened in Belarus is set out in the Decision of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus No. 1189 of December 31, 2013 “On the Procedure of Opening and Operation of Representative Offices of Foreign Organizations in the Republic of Belarus” (with changes and additions).
A representation office may be set up upon authorization of the Foreign Ministry.
A representation office of a foreign company is not a legal entity thus it can not conduct any commercial activities.
A representation office can be set up to do, inter alia, the following things:
- represent a commercial organisation
- help implement international treaties of Belarus in areas of trade, economy, finances, science, technologies, transport
- improving co-operation in these areas and encourage a larger amount of data on economic, commercial and scientific issues
- research domestic markets
- research on how and where to invest in the Belarusian economy
- launch foreign companies and joint ventures
- encourage closer trade and economic ties among countries
- protect the interest of a commercial organisation.
A representation office of a non-commercial organisation can be set up to, inter alia:
- represent a non-commercial organisation
- support social protection, social rehabilitation of unemployed, disabled persons and other people limited in their social abilities
- help prevent emergent situations and train people to be able to overcome the negative impact stemming from environmental, industrial or other types of disasters.
- encourage peace and understanfing among nations, prevent ethnic or religious conflicts
- encourage the image of a family
- support maternity and child protection
- secure co-operation in education, culture and science
- support health protection, healthy way of life and physiological stability
- help environmental and wild life protection
- support protection of premises or areas of historic or cultural value.
A representation office of a foreign education organisation can be set up to, inter alia:
- represent a foreign education organisation
- conduct advertising and awareness-raising campaigns
- learn the experience of domestic education organizations
- help secure new co-operation treaties between education companies
- help exchange the experience and data on education.
A representation office on a non-commercial organisation shall do its business in accordance with its programmes and projects that are endorsed by its supreme management body. These instruments shall include information about the concrete events contemplated to deliver concrete goals and about the terms and resources envisaged to implement those programmes and projects.
Within the implementation of those programmes and projects, a representation office may issue grants for both organisations and individuals. Grants beyond the programmes or projects are not permitted.
To obtain an authorisation on the setting up of a representation office, the following documents shall be sent to the Foreign Ministry:
1. application, that shall indicate:
- purpose(s) of setting up a representation office
- full title of a representation office
- date when a representation office is set up
- location of the main office
- description of the activities of a representation office
- individuals authorised to conduct business in Belarus on behalf the organisation.
There is no printed form of the application. The application shall be sent to the Foreign Ministry with the signature of either the organisations’ head or the authorised individual.
2. copies of constituent instruments, formally legalised, of the organisation
3. copy of the registration certificate, formally legalised, that proves the organisation is registered in the hosting country
4. letter of authority, formally legalised, for the head of the representation office;
5. copy of special authorisation of the state agencies of the hosting country if that is required by its legislation
6. letter of authority, formally legalised, for the individual authorised to conduct activities related to setting up a representation office;
7. memorandum of association setting out purposes of setting up a representation office, address, organisation structure, competences of the head of a representation office, and the way the office should be dissolved;
8. original document certifying a state fee payment (for the authorisation on setting up a representation office).
Documents under numbers 2–6 shall be formulated in one of the official languages of Belarus. The translation of these documents shall be notarised or certified by a diplomatic or consular posts of Belarus abroad.
The state fee for issuing the authorisation on the setting up of or prolongation of activities of a representation office shall be paid before the receipt of the authorisation. According to Belarus legislation, there are the following fees:
State Duty rates for permissions delivery
To open and extend the term of the activity of the representations of foreign organizations in the Republic of Belarus
For every one year
65 basic values
To open and extend the term of activity of the representations of non-commercial foreign organizations, and also the representations of foreign organizations carrying out exclusively charity activities on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, for a period of one year
20 basic values
A representation office is set up on the moment of the receipt of the authorisation in the Foreign Ministry and hence it may start operating. Without a representation office in Belarus, foreign organisations may not operate in Belarus.
An authorisation may be refused in case:
- all needed documents were not sent;
- false statements in the documents;
- activities of the organisation contradict Belarus legislation.
A representation office shall register in Belarus tax and other agencies.
In each year a representation office shall send a report to the Foreign Ministry.
The report shall contain information about the location, telephone and fax numbers, staff, activities of the office, with indication of investigation or market research that the representation office made for the main office, ongoing projects, their terms and resources, grants and their recipients.
A representation of a non-commercial organisation shall send to the Foreign Ministry programmes and projects, endorsed by the supreme managing body, that the organisation conducts its business on the basis of.
A representation office shall be dissolved in case or under:
- the organisation is liquidated;
- an international treaty, under which the representation office was set up, is no longer in force;
- relevant decision of the organisation which set up a representation office;
- court ruling in case of a breach of Belarus legislation;
- decision of the MFA in case of failure to comply with the points of the Regulation on the procedure of opening and activity of foreign representation offices in the Republic of Belarus, that is approved by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus of December 31, 2013 ¹ 1189;
- authorization’s term (on setting up of or prolongation of activities of a representation office) is over.
In case a representation office is dissolved, the organization that set it up shall send to the Foreign Ministry the following documents:
- notification that a representation office is dissolved
- certificate that a bank account is closed
- certificate of the tax inspection agency that all payments were made
- certificate of law enforcements that seals were abolished
- certificate of the customs agency that there is no debt over customs fees
- original authorization on the setting up of the representation office
- official ID cards.