Its often the case when Pakistani origin people living abroad or sometimes even the foreign companies, want to explore the business opportunities in Pakistan. When they come here, they usually have no clue how to setup a company, especially when there is an element present of non-local company in Pakistan, and eventually they lose time and resources finding answers and hiring professional companies. It would be surprising to know that such company registration scenarios are not so much different than any local company, except there are higher fees, long turn around times, and some approvals and licenses from government institutions; typical red-tape stuff. 

Good news is, things have improved over the past few years; digital inclusion has made all these processes rather smooth. But still, we would like to let you know what caveats might there be, so that you are aware. Here, we will discuss the process from the perspective of a person (foreign or local) who wants to either open a ‘local company with foreign directors‘ or a ‘liaison/branch office by foreign company‘ in Pakistan.

How to setup a Local Private Limited Company in Pakistan with Foreign Directors?

Foreign nationals interested in forming a company in Pakistan have to follow almost the same procedure as any local company incorporation in Pakistan.  So, follow the step-wise guide here: Beginners Guide to registering a company in Pakistan. However only difference is the additional step of seeking “Security Clearance” of Foreign directors/subscribers.

Inclusion of Foreign directors requires security clearance by Board of Investment (BOI) through Security agencies of Pakistan. It may take 2 months for inclusion of foreign national to shareholders register of proposed company by SECP after due process of security clearance.

For certificate of incorporation, SECP usually takes 12 Business days to issue the incorporation certificate after affidavit is submitted citing ongoing process of verification. To obtain the ‘certificate of incorporation’ from Companies Registration Office (CRO) submit the following documents,

  1. 8 Passport size Photographs.
  2. 8 Copies of CV (That includes past 10 years of work experience along with information related to countries of stay).

When certificate is issued, company is formally licensed to commence operations in Pakistan.

If this whole process looks rather haywire and you don’t want to put up with all these steps, than Clarity can help you with that. (Go to bottom of the article for a special offer)

How to setup a Branch or Liaison office of Foreign Company in Pakistan?

This type of Incorporation is a bit expensive and time taking. In this scenario, the only additional step along with usual procedure for company incorporation described above is:

  • License from Board of Investment: A license is required from Board of Investment that grants permission to foreign companies to open their branch or liaison office. All the steps of the procedure are mentioned at BOI website: Steps for opening a Branch/Liaison Office

Branch Office is established by a foreign company to fulfil its contractual obligations with the public or private sector in Pakistan. Their activity will be restricted to the work mentioned in the agreement/contract signed. However they cannot undertake any commercial/trading activities and operations of the company will be limited to specific project.

Estimated time for BOI to grant permissions in this scenario ranges from 4-6 months. Again, this is a lengthy process, see the offer below to get further Clarity!

Offer from professionals

We have a special arrangement with a Chartered Accountant Consultancy Firm that can help you in any type of company registration (foreign or local). The firm has registered multiple international and many local companies. As a favour from Clarity, you can get: 

  • free professional advice &
  • ask genuine market rates without blinking your eyes.

To avail this offer, drop us an email to get in touch with them.

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