Ecuador: Import Export, Legal Processes and Taxes

How to open a foreign branch office in Ecuador

Snapshot of the Ecuadorian market to consider when registering a foreign branch office in Ecuador.

The Ecuadorian government understands the importance of opening up to the world and attracting foreign investment (FDI), and as such, has made extensive efforts to change the landscape of the Ecuadorian business world.

Ecuador’s trade agreement with the European Union (EU), the re-adoption of bilateral investment treaties with several countries and the expedition of the production promotion law that includes vast benefits to new investments in Ecuador are clear examples of Ecuadorian intentions to bring investment and economic growth to its market.

There’s never been a better time to make investments into the country. Registering a foreign branch office in Ecuador is one of the best ways to take advantage of the benefits that this great country offers.

Continue reading to learn about the requirements and process in opening a foreign branch office in Ecuador. We can also help you to set up a company in Ecuador if that is necessary.

The process of registering a branch office in Ecuador can be a bit tricky and slow-moving due to a great number of requirements. Therefore, having a local business service provider helping you to navigate the difficult waters of Ecuadorian bureaucracy will be vital to complete the task, as well as saving vital time and money.

The following are the required documentation/information needed to establish a foreign branch office in Ecuador:

  • Verification of the parent company’s incorporation deeds/bylaws and current bylaws (which should include permission to establish branch offices in foreign countries).
  • Verification of the Legal Existence Certificate granted by the corresponding government authority.
  • Verification of the Board of Directors Resolution authorizing the establishment of a branch office in Ecuador, assigning a minimum initial capital of at least USD$2,000 and appointing a company legal representative in Ecuador. Legal representation can be executed by a legal entity or a natural person. In the case of it being a legal entity, it must be an Ecuadorian company whose bylaws allow it to represent other companies. In the second case, the legal representative must be an Ecuadorian national or a foreigner with a resident visa in Ecuador.
  • Verification of the Power of Attorney (POA) granted to whoever is appointed as the company legal representative of the branch office in Ecuador. This POA might contain limitations but needs to allow the representative to fulfil the branch obligations and answer to local authorities. The law establishes that the branch must have a legal representative permanently established in Ecuador.
  • Ecuadorian Consulate Certification that the foreign branch office is incorporated and authorized by the parent company’s domicile country and that the company is allowed to do business in Ecuador.
  • Open a corporate bank account in Ecuador in the name of the parent company’s name and deposit at least USD$2,000.

All the documents described above must be legalized, translated into Spanish and apostilled.

4 Steps to Register a Foreign Branch Office in Ecuador
4 Steps to open a foreign branch office in Ecuador

Once all the documents are ready and the bank account is opened, you just have to follow 4 steps to register a foreign branch office in Ecuador:

  1. Step 1 – Present an application to the Superintendency of Companies signed by a local lawyer and include verifications of the documents listed above.
  2. Step 2 – The Superintendency will approve the registration (Domiciliación) and collocate the Power of Attorney into a resolution.
  3. Step 3 – The resolution and the Power of Attorney must be registered in the Mercantile Registry.
  4. Step 4 – The branch office must then obtain a local tax ID number (RUC) and the patente in the corresponding municipality.

FAQs on opening a Foreign Branch Office in Ecuador

In our experience, these are the most frequently asked questions from our clients:

1. Can a foreigner own a branch in Ecuador?

Yes, a business can be 100% foreign-owned by either legal persons (legal entities) or natural persons (individuals).

2. How long does it take to register a branch in Ecuador?

Registering a company in Ecuador takes 8 to 10 weeks.

3. Do foreign companies need to register with local authorities in Ecuador?

Yes, foreign companies must register with local authorities and comply with specific regulations and procedures outlined by the Ecuadorian government. This includes obtaining permits and adhering to taxation laws.

5. How can I choose the right location for my branch in Ecuador?

When selecting a location for your branch in Ecuador, consider factors such as proximity to transportation hubs, availability of skilled labor, and accessibility for customers and suppliers. Cities like Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca are popular choices for business expansion.

Want to open a foreign branch office in Ecuador?

This is one of the best moments to invest in Ecuador and the corporations of all sizes know it. Foreign investment is growing rapidly in Ecuador and the benefits and overall business conditions in Ecuador are getting better every day. If you are interested in opening a foreign branch office in Ecuador, please contact our bilingual Country Manager.

 He and his team will support with the establishment of commercial operations in the region. 

Once established, looking for a local partner that can provide corporate secretarial services in Ecuador will give you and your company an advantage, allowing you to focus on your business and its growth.  

Interested in forming a company in Ecuador? We can support you in that process too. 

Biz Latin Hub services
Biz Latin Hub can help you open a foreign branch office in Ecuador

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Legal Team Ecuador
Legal Team Ecuador

Legal Team Ecuador is the Biz Latin Hub leading experts on doing business in Ecuador The Team writes on the news, doing business, law, and changing regulations. The team are experts in corporate law, Administrative law, Employment law, Immigration law and legal advisory services. Read more about them here. You can contact Legal Team Ecuador via our "contact us page".

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