Based on my personal experience in establishing branches of foreign companies in Greece, I hereby outline some simple and useful information regarding this process.
It is common practice for foreign companies setting up branches in Greece to exercise all or part of their activities in our country, either as a Limited Liability Company (Εταιρεία Περιορισμένης Ευθύνης, or E.Π.E.) or as a Societe Anonyme (S.A.), in accordance with Articles 50, 50a, 50b of Law 2190/20.
A Greek branch has the same tax and accounting obligations to a Greek company and its profits are taxed at the same rates applicable to domestic companies.
Under the latest legislation, a branch initially requires establishment approval from the local authorities. Upon approval, a fee has to be paid to the local Chamber of Commerce; the company receives a tax registration number and then it may commence its operations.
The authority responsible for the approval of the branch decides, according to the documents submitted, which Greek corporate form resembles the form of the foreign company and provides licenses respectively, either in the form of a Limited Liability Company or an S.A.
The branch is managed by the legal representative appointed by the foreign company and has the right to represent the branch in Greece. The legal representative is responsible as a member of the Board of directors of an S.A or the manager of an Limited Liability Company.
1. Decision of a foreign company to establish a branch in Greece specifying the purpose, location and name of the branch and the legal representative;
2. Memorandum of association of the foreign company, as applicable at the time of the application;
3. Notarized or Consular PoA appointing a proxy and procedural representative of the company in Greece, which may be the same person;
4. Certificate from the relevant authority of the country of the company that it has not been dissolved or its operation license has not been revoked;
5. Certificate of the legal representatives of the company at its registered office;
6. The registration number of the company;
7. Certificate of the share capital of the foreign company, issued from the relevant authority;
8. Receipt of the paid fee to the Tax Authorities, for the publication of the notice of approval to the Greek Official Gazette;
9. ACCI (Athens) certificate of pre-authorization of name and/or trade name of the branch.
- The above documents, which are issued abroad, must be apostilled, or be authenticated from a consular authority and be officially translated in Greek language.
- For companies based outside the European Union, there should be a reciprocal agreement with Greece for Limited Liability Companies.
- For the approval of the establishment in Greece of a foreign Limited Liability or S.A. branch, the minimum capital of the parent company, outside EU countries, must necessarily equal to the minimum required capital for the same legal form as Greek companies (mandatory Euro 2,4 thousand for Limited Liability Company and Euro 24 thousand for S.A).
- The proxy and procedural representatives, appointed and residing in Greece, must submit the following:
a) In case they are of EU member nationality: exact copy of their Identity Card/Passport or
b) if they are of non-EU nationality: exact copy of their residence permit for an independent economic activity or a residence permit as managers of a Limited Liability Company or/and as members of a Board of Directors at an S.A.