Important information about how to set up a company in Belarus, what your options are and how long the process takes
The Belarusian government welcomes responsible foreign companies looking to set up in the country.
If you want to trade as a foreign or international company in Belarus, you need to set up in one of two ways:
Both options require you to register with the Tax Authorities.
Traditionally representative offices in Belarus were just that – organisations operating as ambassadors for foreign companies, but without a taxable presence in the country.
Today you can have a taxable presence with a RO, and can sign contracts and carry out negotiations.
However, if you want to carry out long-term commercial activity within Belarus, setting up a legal entity may be a better option.
In Belarus there are three main types of legal entity. These are:
Joint Stock companies are companies whose capital is divided into a definite number of shares. They fall into two categories:
A Limited Liability Company (Obshchestvo s Ogranichennoy Otvetstvennostyu or OOO) is the most flexible type of company structure.
As it does not technically have shares, it is not liable to Belarusian securities legislation.
Unitary enterprises are a popular choice among foreign companies trading in the Belarus economy. With this structure, the company founder retains ownership of the assets.
Representative offices have the simplest set-up procedure, requiring just:
Representative offices must:
A new application-based registration procedure for legal entities has been in place since 1 February, 2009. The process involves:
The minimum Charter Capital for legal entities with foreign investment is 20,000 Euro.
Each case is different, but for general guidance the timescales are as follows:
Representative offices: once all documents are ready, the process should not take more than 7 days
Legal Entities: generally 7-10 days (but longer for Joint Stock Companies, which need to register their Share Issue with the State Securities Commission)
Remember that it can take some time to get the necessary documents together, and you should also allow time for notarisation of official papers.