Top 10 Client Questions Regarding Business Registration in Kazakhstan for Foreign Citizens and Companies

REVERA Kazakhstan lawyers have addressed the most frequently asked questions about process of business registration in Kazakhstan for non-residents.

1. Is it possible to open a company remotely?

Answer: Yes, you can. To do this, you need to issue a power of attorney to a representative, such as a lawyer.

2. Can a foreign citizen serve as the director of a Kazakhstani company?

Answer: Yes, it can. There are no restrictions on the nationality of the director. For other foreign workers, depending on their citizenship, a permit to hire a foreign worker may be required. Such authorisation is not required for citizens of EEU member states. Permission is also not required for first directors if the founder is a non-resident.

3. Is there an institution of corporate governance in Kazakhstan when the functions of a director are performed by another company?

Answer: no, only a natural person or a collegial executive body consisting of natural persons can be a director of an LLP. 

4.  Is it possible to remotely open a bank account for a newly established company?

Answer: In practice, to open an account and carry out KYC procedures, the bank may require the presence of a director of the established company in person. The requirements depend on the particular bank. 

5. What is the most popular company legal form?

Answer: an LLP is a limited liability partnership.

6. Are there any requirements for the registered capital?

Answer: yes, there is. As a general rule, the amount of the authorised capital is not less than 100 MCI*, as of the date of submission of documents for state registration. 

At the same time, for small businesses (up to 100 employees, income up to 300,000 MRP) the size of the registered capital may be 0 tenge. There are other exceptions to the general rule.

*1 Monthly Reference Index = 3450 tenge ≈ 7.62 $

7. Are there any nuances when registering a company by a foreigner?

Answer: yes, there is. As a general rule, a foreign citizen needs a C5 visa to open a company. This rule does not apply to citizens of EEU member states, as well as those who have concluded visa-free entry-exit agreements with Kazakhstan. Also, not all types of activities may be carried out by companies established by foreign citizens or companies. Such restrictions are established, for example, in the laws "On Security Activities", "On National Security of the Republic of Kazakhstan" and "On Mass Media".

8. How long does it take to register a company and open a bank account?

Answer: The timeframe for company registration depends on the timeframe for receipt of documents from the foreign founder (power of attorney, resolution, copies of the extract from the commercial register and statutory documents, etc.). Once the documents are received and submitted to the Public Service Center (PSC), the company will be registered within 2 working days. KYC of banks to open an account in practice can take from 1 to 15 working days depending on the bank, the length of the chain to the final beneficiary.

9. Is it possible to open a bank account in Kazakhstan for a foreign company?

Answer: Formally, there is no prohibition to open an account in Kazakhstani banks for foreign individuals or legal entities. However, banks set the conditions for opening such accounts, KYC procedures and other internal rules.

10. Are there any preferential tax regimes in Kazakhstan?

The answer is yes, there are. Preferential regimes are offered by different structures depending on the direction of business activity. Astana Hub - IT business, AIFC - finance and fintech, Free Economic Zones  - real sector. Also, under certain conditions, a legal entity can use a simplified taxation regime (3% of turnover), use retail tax (5%), or use the agricultural producer regime.

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