To represent interests in Belarus, foreign organizations may open their representative offices on its territory.
A representative office of a foreign organization is its separate division located in the territory of Belarus, which is not a legal entity, which protects and represents the interests of a foreign organization in the territory of Belarus. The representative office of a foreign organization has a name that contains an indication of the foreign organization which opened it. As of the end of 2018, more than 120 representative offices of foreign organizations have been opened in Belarus.
A representative office in Belarus can be opened by a commercial and non-commercial foreign organization, foreign educational institution, and the main purpose of opening a representative office is to carry out socially useful activities. The representative office cannot carry out commercial activities.
The list of purposes is open, for the representative offices of non-commercial organizations it is:
– social support;
– preparation of the population for the prevention of accidents, man-made situations, disasters, various conflicts, assistance to victims of repression, refugees and internally displaced persons;
– promotion of peace, friendship and harmony among peoples; to strengthen the prestige of the family in society; protection of motherhood, paternity and childhood; activities in the field of education, science, culture, art, enlightenment, spiritual development of the individual; activities in the field of prevention and health protection; activities in the sphere of physical culture and mass sports;
– environmental and animal protection;
– protection of historical, cultural, environmental sites and territories, burial places;
– implementation of international cooperation in the field of education (representative offices of foreign educational institutions).
For the representative office of a commercial foreign organization, the objectives are to carry out on behalf of the foreign organization:
– assistance in the implementation of international agreements in the field of trade, economy, finance, science and technology, transport, exchange of economic, commercial and scientific and technical information;
– study of the goods and services markets of Belarus, opportunities for investment, creation of commercial organizations with the participation of foreign investors;
– ticket sales and seat reservation for air, rail, road and sea transport companies.
To open a representative office in the territory of Belarus it is necessary:
1. To obtain permits to open a representative office in the Regional Executive Committee or Minsk City Executive Committee at the place of its proposed location (hereinafter – the Executive Committee);
2. To register in the state authorities and organizations:
in the tax authority – within 10 days from the date of obtaining the permit;
in the body of the Social Protection Fund;
To register in the BRUIC “Belgosstrakh” as a policyholder within 1 month from the date of obtaining the permit;
3. To submit information to the Executive Committee on registration in the above mentioned authorities, as well as written information about the staffing, contact information within one month from the date of obtaining the permit;
4. To open a bank account.
To issue a permit to open a representative office the following documents are submitted to the Executive Committee:
– an application;
– a legalized extract from the trade register of the country or other equivalent confirmation of the legal status of the organization (document date – not later than three months before the date of application for the permit);
– the regulations of the representative office, approved by the foreign organization that contains information about: the purpose of discovery; location; organizational structure; competencies of the Head; order the cessation of activity;
– a program of activity – if the organization is non-commercial. It should contain a set of activities, time and resources for their implementation;
– notarized powers of attorney for the Head of the representative office and the person authorized to open the representative office;
– confirmation of the state fee payment.
If the documents are written in a foreign language, they must be translated into Russian or Belarusian, notarized and legalized.
The term of consideration of documents and issuance of permit as a general rule is 30 days; it can be extended to 2 months if you need to make a request to other state authorities.
For the opening of a representative office, it is charged a state fee in the amount of 65 basic units for each year of validity of the permit; it is established a privilege on the state fee for the representative offices of non-commercial foreign organizations, – 20 basic units (from 1 January, 2019 1 basic unit is 25.5 Belarusian rubles (USD 12.5 or EUR 11).
The term of validity of the permit is three years, it can be extended by filling in an application and submitting a receipt for payment of the state fee, the issue is considered within 10 days.
A representative office of a foreign organization is considered to be open and can carry out activities from the date of issue of the permit for its opening.
Employment in representative offices of foreign organizations is carried out in accordance with the labour legislation of Belarus.
Management of the representative office is carried out through the Head of the representative office appointed by the foreign organization acting on the basis of a power of attorney. The Head of the representative office may be the Head of the foreign organization. In this case, when applying for the permit a power of attorney is not required.
The requirements for the number of foreign citizens-employees of the representative office are established – no more than five people, including the Head. The representative office has to obtain a special work permit in Belarus for each foreign employee (except for the Head of the representative office and for citizens of the EurAsEC member states).
If an employment contract with a foreign citizen-employee of the representative office was concluded in the territory of Belarus, it is subject to the law of Belarus. The representative office has the right to attract Belarusian citizens-employees under employment contracts (contracts), civil contracts, including contracts of work and labour.
Thus, foreign organizations can carry out non-commercial activities in the territory of Belarus through a representative office, while the process of establishing a representative office is clearly regulated by the law, which greatly simplifies the process.