A branch office of a foreign company, a body corporate incorporated outside India, including a firm or other association of individuals are permitted to do only the following activities. Check carefully if any of the proposed activities fall outside the below listed permitted activities. In case your proposed activity is out of the scope of the below items, we can help you to obtain specific permission from the RBI, which is also known as prior approval for opening of the branch office in India for the activities which does not qualify for the automatic route.
In brief, we can say that the complete procedure to start a branch office of a foreign corporation is of five stages, 1. Documentation, 2. Application to RBI for the license to start a branch office in India, 3. Registration with ROC, 4. Registration with Local Police, 5. Tax registrations such as PAN, TAN and GST and Location-based registrations such as shops and establishment registration, trade license etc. – Detailed procedure and documentation for registration of branch office.
- Export / Import of Goods
- Professional or Consultancy Services, subject to sectoral regulators policy or approval. Please note that Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide its order dated July 4, 2012, and again on September 14, 2015, has barred foreign law firms from opening a branch office.
- To carry on research work for the areas where the parent company is engaged
- To engage in activities which promote technical or financial collaboration between Indian companies and parent or overseas group company
- To act as a buying or selling agent in India or to represent the parent/group company
- To engage in any business or technical activities for software development or for the rendering of any service related information technology.
- To provide technical support services to the clients in India for the goods or services supplied by parent/group company
- To act as an authorised representative for a foreign shipping or airline company in India.
The activities which can be pursued by a branch office is exclusively based on the list prescribed under regulation 4(b) of the Notification number FEMA 22 (R)/2016-RB dated March 31, 2016. (see the schedule I of Annex B of the before said notification)