Foreign registration

Project Office Registration

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This information is for general guidance only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult with Company Avenue Advisory (CAA) or other qualified professionals for specific advice tailored to your company's needs and requirements.
Establishing a branch office in India allows a foreign company to extend its operations and activities directly within the country. Unlike liaison offices, which are limited to liaison and communication purposes, branch offices can engage in commercial activities, generate revenue, and employ personnel within the specified scope of their registration.

There are no specific minimum requirements for foreign companies seeking to establish a branch office in India. However, certain regulatory restrictions may apply based on the company’s industry, nationality, and proposed activities. It’s crucial to consult with experts to determine your eligibility and navigate any potential limitations.

Benefits of Branch Office Registration:
  • Direct market access: Establish a physical presence in India, providing closer proximity to customers, partners, and resources.
  • Enhanced brand visibility and credibility: Demonstrate your commitment to the Indian market, fostering trust and confidence among local stakeholders.
  • Greater operational flexibility: Conduct business activities directly within India, including entering into contracts, employing personnel, and managing finances.
  • Potential tax benefits: Access specific tax treaties and exemptions available to registered foreign entities in India.
Registration Process:

Setting up a branch office in India involves two key stages:

  1. a) Approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
  • Automatic Route: Certain eligible entities and activities can obtain RBI approval through an automated online process.
  • Prior Permission Route: For non-eligible entities or activities, a formal application with supporting documents must be submitted for RBI approval.

b) Registration with the Registrar of Companies (ROC):

  • Once RBI approval is obtained, file Form FC-1 with the appropriate ROC office within 30 days.
  • Submit requisite documents, including RBI approval letter, company incorporation documents, financial statements, and details of authorized representatives.
  • Upon successful verification, the ROC issues a certificate of registration for the branch office.
List of Required Documents:
  • RBI approval letter (if applicable)
  • Certified copies of foreign company’s incorporation documents (MOA, AOA)
  • Certificate of Incorporation (COI) of the foreign company
  • Audited financial statements for the past three years
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining branch office activities
  • Business plan for the Indian operations
  • Power of attorney appointing authorized representatives in India
  • KYC documents of individual shareholders holding ≥10% equity

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Common Questions

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A Project Office is a temporary establishment set up by a foreign company to execute a specific project in India. It acts as a liaison between the foreign company and its project stakeholders in India.

Any foreign company undertaking a specific project in India, funded by inward remittances from abroad, can register a Project Office with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Key requirements include approval from the RBI, submission of project details, appointment of a local representative, and compliance with Indian tax and regulatory laws.

Project Offices can be established for specific projects in sectors such as construction, engineering, consultancy, and research, subject to approval from the RBI.

Project Offices must adhere to RBI guidelines, maintain proper accounting records, file annual returns, and comply with Indian tax laws.

Branch offices must comply with Indian laws and regulations, and their activities are restricted to the scope of their registration.

Yes, processing fees are applicable for both RBI and ROC filings.

The validity period is typically linked to the duration of the project, as specified in the project approval letter issued by the RBI.

No, a Project Office can only engage in activities related to the specific project for which it was established, as approved by the RBI.

No, a Project Office cannot be converted into another type of business entity. It is meant to be a temporary establishment for project-specific activities.

The registration process for a Project Office usually takes around 2 to 3 months, subject to approval from the RBI and timely submission of required documents.

Company Avenue Advisory offers expert guidance and support throughout the Project Office registration process, including RBI approvals, documentation, compliance, and liaison with regulatory authorities.

The branch office must comply with ongoing reporting requirements and tax obligations in India.

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Project office registration in India is essential for foreign companies looking to execute specific projects in the country. A project office is a temporary setup that facilitates the execution of contractual projects awarded to the foreign company by an Indian entity.


The process of registering a project office in India begins with obtaining approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The foreign company must submit an application to the RBI through an authorized dealer bank, providing details of the project, the Indian client, and the duration of the project. The application must include the foreign company’s certificate of incorporation, a copy of the project contract, and a board resolution authorizing the establishment of the project office.


Once the RBI grants approval, the project office must be registered with the Registrar of Companies (ROC) by filing the necessary documents, including the certificate of incorporation, board resolution, and details of the project. Upon successful registration, the project office will receive a Certificate of Incorporation, allowing it to operate legally in India.


The project office must also apply for a Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number (TAN) to comply with Indian tax regulations. Additionally, if the project involves the supply of goods or services, the project office may need to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST).


Project office registration in India offers several benefits to foreign companies. It allows them to manage and execute projects directly, ensuring better control and coordination. The project office can also open a bank account in India, facilitating smooth financial transactions related to the project.


However, it is important to note that a project office is a temporary establishment and can only undertake activities related to the specific project for which it was set up. Upon completion of the project, the office must be closed, and all accounts settled.


In summary, project office registration in India is a strategic option for foreign companies looking to execute specific projects in the country. The process involves obtaining RBI approval, registering with the ROC, and complying with tax regulations. The benefits of direct project management and operational control make it an attractive option for foreign companies seeking to execute contractual projects in India.

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