According to the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, a foreign company may establish a representative office or open a branch in the Russian Federation, but they will not be separate legal entities, act as independent parties in contractual agreements, have property or personal non-property rights, or the right to independently appear in court as a defendant or plaintiff. Branches and representative offices also do not have the legal right to perform all types of industrial activity.

Currently, the main piece of legislation governing the accreditation of foreign representative offices and basically all foreign investment in the economy of the Russian Federation is Federal Law N 160-FZ “On Foreign Investment” from July 9, 1999, which regulates the procedure for the creation and liquidation of commercial organizations with foreign investment as well as branches of foreign legal entities. However, this law and all of its positive qualities does not include any legislation on the accreditation of foreign representative offices in Russia and, therefore, does not provide for a clear understanding of said representative offices.

A representative office is recognized as a separate subdivision of a legal entity located outside of the locality which represents the entity’s legal interests and protection. The representative office’s director acts on the basis of a power of attorney.

One form of legalization of a foreign legal entity in Russia is accreditation of foreign representative offices. It is necessary to distinguish representative offices of foreign organizations in the civil sense – that is, representative offices of a legal entity and foreign diplomatic or consulate representatives in Russia, as well as representatives supporting foreign trade and economics, that obey public regulations.

Accreditation of foreign representative offices are carried out by state authorities of the Russian Federation.

 Accreditation of a foreign representative office is the creation of a representative of a foreign legal entity in the Russian Federation for the purposes of coordination and development of cooperation in economics, investment, and foreign economic relations.

Accreditation of foreign representative offices in Russia is a way for foreign companies to gain presence on the Russian market. In general, the main tasks required of representative offices are to carry out market research, develop business contacts and client acquisition, made possible through the activities of the parent company in Russia and the preparation of agreements with Russian clients in the interests of the parent company.