A new law regulating the accreditation of the representative offices and branches of the foreign organizations was approved in Russia. The law enters into force on January 1st, 2015.
State authority providing accreditation of the representative offices and branches
At present accreditation of the foreign organization representative offices and branches can be obtained through State Registration Chamber of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation as well as the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation (hereinafter the Chamber of Commerce. From January 1st, 2015 accreditation will only be provided by an authorized state body. As of yet this body has not been defined, but it is expected that it will be the Federal Tax Service.
Accreditation order for the representative offices and branches
A new order for obtaining accreditation, providing changes to the information containing in the register and accreditation termination of the foreign organizations’ branches and representative offices as well as new lists and formats of the documents will be developed. There are no terms available on when these documents will be introduced, but we expect them to be approved before January 1st.
Starting from January 1st, 2015, before applying for accreditation of the foreign legal entity branch or representative office, the applicant party will have to provide information on the number of foreign employees of such branches (representative offices) to the Chamber of Commerce.
Changes affecting accredited representative offices and branches
Information on already accredited branches and representative offices will be added to the state register of the foreign legal entity’s branches and representative offices and published on the Internet at the official web page of the state body providing the branch (representative office) accreditation. For entry to the register of branches and representative offices with the accreditation terminating not later than April 1st, 2015, it will be required to provide the authorized state body with the relevant information by April 1, 2015. On April 1, 2015, for all branches and representative offices that do not provide information on time to the authorized state body, their accreditation will be terminated.
The new law established a list of information to be included in the mandatory provisions of foreign representative offices and branches. In case there are changes in the information provided to the state register of the accredited branches and representative offices concerning branch, representative office or foreign company, the branch or representative office has to notify the authorized state body about these changes not later than in 15 calendar days from the date of said changes.
Accreditation for foreign employees
The above changes on the legislative level set the necessity for all foreign employees working in offices and branches of foreign companies to pass personal accreditation at the Chamber of Commerce. Previously, the obligation was established by the subordinate legislation and such accreditation could be received at the Chamber of Commerce or at the State Registration Chamber of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation. From the January 1st 2015 personal accreditation will be provided only by the Chamber of Commerce. According to the results of personal accreditation, a certificate of personal accreditation will be provided instead of a previously issued personal accreditation card (service card).
We strongly recommend foreign organizations operating in Russia via branches and representative offices to take into account the above changes in the legislation as well as:
1. Check if changes in the regulations concerning branches and representative offices are necessary for their compliance with new requirements;
2. Provide information on the branches and representative offices to the authorized state body if their accreditation expires after April 1st 2015.