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How to open a Russian bank account for a foreign company

SberSolutions Blog on
Ivan Katyshev
Owner of the SberSolutions legal and tax services product
The last two years have become a prerequisite for a massive change in business ownership patterns and business transaction chains.

This process is ongoing and probably will not stop in the coming years.

After the massive outflow of non-residents with subsidiaries, branches and representative offices in Russia, many previously occupied industries have opened their doors to new players.

But in order to work with large and largest Russian businesses, as well as the segment of individuals with their own capital, foreign companies have to open bank accounts in Russia.

This is due to the fact that money transfer schemes for cross-border transactions are constantly changing, and customers and clients from Russia do not want to bear the risks of non-payments.
Recently, the demand for opening accounts in Russian banks has mainly been generated by foreign companies from the following countries: UAE, Turkey, India, China and Hong Kong, Iran.

As a rule, Russian banks have stable transactions with banks in these countries.

The purpose of opening an account is different, but most often is a follows:
  • participation in tenders of Russian companies, payment of applications and receipt of payment to these accounts;
  • payment for transactions with real estate abroad;
  • receiving payments from Russian clients, including consumers of online platforms.
At the same time, if a couple of years ago non-residents opened offices, formed subsidiaries, and received accreditation for branches and representative offices, recently their presence has been limited to a bank account.
Registration in Russia
Before opening an account for a foreign company with a Russian bank, it is necessary to register for tax with a Russian tax service (Section XI of Order of the Ministry of Finance No. 293n dated 28.12.2018). As a rule, companies have some difficulties with this process.

It consists of the following stages:
1. Request and verification of documents of a foreign company.
2. Apostilling and consular legalization in the country of residence.
3. Notarial translation and translation certification in the Russian Federation.
4. Filling out an application for tax registration.
5. Submission of documents under a power of attorney.

The first stage requires knowledge of the work practice of the tax authorities in Russia, since the documents of a foreign company can vary greatly depending on the country.

It is important to choose a package of documents that will be accepted by the tax authority and you will not have to spend several weeks on processing new documents. As a rule, it is very difficult to do without local lawyers in Russia, even if you speak the language and know Russian law. The practical nuances of the procedures are important here.

The following documents are usually required for registration:
  • An extract from the commercial register of legal entities of the country of origin or another document of equal legal force confirming the legal status of the foreign company;
  • A document from the authorized body of the country of residence confirming the registration of the company as a taxpayer in that country, indicating the taxpayer's code (or an analog of the taxpayer's code). This can be either a certificate of residence or another document provided for by the legislation of this country. Or a document of the authorized body confirming the absence of such a code (its analog).
If the taxpayer's code (an analogue of the taxpayer's code) is indicated in the extract from the commercial register, the submission of the document is not required.

The second stage is performed on the side of the head office, there are usually no difficulties here.
It is only important to check which method of giving legal force to documents should be used for a particular country, whether treaties have been concluded on the recognition of the legal force of documents, whether the country is a party to the Hague Convention dated October 5, 1961.

This stage may take the most time, so it is important to carefully approach it and the previous first stage. Because in case of an error, you will lose up to a month to repeat the process.

The third stage requires communication and payment for translator's and notary's services. But in addition, you need to closely review the translations so that there are no contradictions between them, and the text of the documents corresponds to the wording of the law and the application form for the tax authority.

The fourth and the fifth stages usually do not cause much difficulty. The application is filled out in accordance with 11BS-Accounting form (Appendix 6 to order of the Federal Tax Service of Russia No. ED-7-14/376@ dated 09.06.2020), and is submitted by a representative by proxy.
The registration period after submitting the application is five business days (Clause 2 of Article 84 of the Tax Code).
Opening an account
After receiving a certificate from the tax authority, you can apply to the bank to open an account. However, before doing this, you should follow these steps:

1) Choose a bank where you want to open an account.
2) Find out the bank's requirements for the composition of documents.
3) Fill out and agree the questionnaires with the bank.
4) Pass a preliminary compliance check of the bank's service.

The first stage, just as when working with the tax service, requires good knowledge of the banking work practice and the specifics of procedures in each bank. In particular, some banks are working with the UAE, while others have branches in India and China. A lot depends on electronic access and the availability of English-language bank-client interface. All this is taken into account.

The second and the third stages are not difficult for an employee who often fills out such questionnaires.
But if you are doing this for the first time, then you will spend several days refilling the questionnaires and waiting for another check from the bank.

The fourth stage is quite formal, but you must be prepared for refusals. Recently, the security services of banks have been very careful in selecting clients. Therefore, it is better to send questionnaires to different banks so as not to waste time when opening an account. As a rule, the questionnaire does not oblige to further conclude the contract.
We will be happy to help a foreign company to open an account with a Russian bank. SberSolutions employees have many years of practice in the field of tax registration of non-residents in the Russian Federation and opening bank accounts in various Russian banks.

By contacting us, you will save both time and money, as our lawyers will help you to form the necessary package of documents and certify it correctly.
Among other things, our experts know what information a particular bank will require from a foreign company, which will significantly save time on opening a bank account in the Russian Federation.

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