In the latest "Herald" we have already told you about the changes that have taken place in Lucky Hunter in the light of recent events — in particular, we have relocated our St. Petersburg office to Armenia. Our CEO Tatiana was among the first Russian entrepreneurs who came to Yerevan to manage their business issues there.
We talked with Tatiana about her personal experience of establishing a legal entity (individual entrepreneur) in Armenia, the difficulties that she had to face during the whole process, and some important points.
If the problem of choosing a country to open an office is relevant for you now and you want to know what procedures for registration of a legal entity are required in Armenia — read our interview below.
— Tanya, hi! Thank you for coming, we can imagine how crazy your schedule is right now.
— Hi! No problems, I'll be happy to talk. I hope my information will be useful.
— Great! First of all, please tell us which countries you have considered for relocating your business?
—I started thinking over possible options even when the special operation had just begun and there were talks that Russia would be disconnected from SWIFT. A large percentage of our clients are international companies and I didn't want to stop working with them. Therefore, I began to actively look for ways of solving the problem — I studied the available options and Georgia seemed to me the most obvious variant at that time. I remember that I spent the whole weekend trying to find an accountant in Tbilisi, figure out taxation and find tickets. However, nothing went right from the very beginning: firstly, there were no tickets — those few available flights were really inconvenient (for example, you had to fly through Dubai) and also expensive.
Secondly, on Monday my accountant told me that Georgia was temporarily suspending the opening of bank accounts for Russians.
— Why did you choose Armenia?
—When I realized that nothing would work with Georgia, I opened a Google doc with information on relocation (now the IT community is actively compiling and sharing a lot of useful materials about the possibilities of relocation for specialists and IT businesses) and saw that it is possible to create a legal entity in Armenia in just 2 days. Spoiler — no, it can't be done in 2 days. However, in general, I was ready for the fact that this whole process would take longer, so I quickly looked through the tickets, found a convenient direct flight, and flew to Yerevan.
— Did you go through all the legal procedures in Armenia on your own or did you hire a specialist?
— Yes, I had a lawyer whom I found on recommendation. In total, I had several possible candidates, so I chose a girl who seemed to be very empathetic and understanding — I think this is important, taking into account the whole situation.
— Were you satisfied with her work? How was the entire process organized in general?
— The cooperation turned out to be quite productive. Honestly, I always adhere to the position that if there is an opportunity, it is better to hire a specialist. Specifically, in my case, the lawyer's assistance in conducting negotiations with the tax service and banks turned out to be a strong advantage: very few employees speak Russian or English, so communication was mainly in Armenian. Also, of course, the lawyer helped to sign documents and receive bank cards.
— You mentioned that the process of creating a legal entity takes significantly more than two days. What is the more or less realistic forecast in this case?
— I arrived in Yerevan on Thursday, and left almost a week and a half later, on Monday. The legal entity itself can really be opened in almost fifteen minutes, but opening a bank account is already much more difficult and requires more time. I spent about four hours in the tax office (most of which I spent in a queue), and then a long journey through the banks began — by the way, they work until five p.m. It also took a lot of time to wait for their decision: you come to the bank, write an application for opening an account, after that the bank checks your documents and determines whether they will open an account for you. The cards were made for about three days, but there were the March holidays, so everything was a little delayed for this reason. But there is an important point here: I came in early March, so my information will not be the most relevant now.
The fact is that from that moment a lot of entrepreneurs from Russia came to Armenia intending to create a legal entity there, which directly affected all the processes: the terms of consideration of applications have greatly increased, and banks have actually raised prices tenfold.
— It's good that you managed to get into the first wave, if we can say so. So later there really became many more Russian entrepreneurs who came to create legal entities, right?
— Yes, there were a lot of people — I could hardly extend my reservation at the hotel, there were practically no available rooms. Queues at the tax service and banks were huge, moreover, some banks stopped opening accounts. Firstly, they believe that it is unprofitable to open bank accounts for those who are not going to live in the country, and secondly, they check everyone who submits an application even longer and more carefully — if you use some gray schemes in your work, then the bank will not open an account for you.
— Could you tell us please what documents are required to open a legal entity and a bank account in Armenia?
— In general, it is important to have a notarized copy of the passport translated into Armenian. I also made an Armenian social card at the passport office — this is not a mandatory requirement, but I thought that this card would make me a more reliable client in the eyes of the bank. However, in my case, I think the human factor still played an important role — a very nice manager worked with me, she was open for dialogue and generally sympathized with my whole situation, so we found a common language with her and my lawyer and resolved all issues. Everything turned out well, it was one of the largest banks in Armenia, so it was a relief for me.
— As we see, all communication in Armenia is mainly in Armenian, few people know Russian or English. Please tell us, what impressions do you have in general from the interaction? Was there any tension towards the Russians?
— No, everyone communicates very politely, there is no Russophobia. It seems to me that for those who are now looking for options for relocation, Armenia will be an excellent variant — there really are no prejudices towards Russians that can take place in Georgia today, for example.
— We are very glad to hear this. Finally, what did you remember most about the process of opening a legal entity in Armenia?
— I remember very well the moment when I got approval to open an account and a card. At that time, Russia was already disconnected from MasterCard, and when I learned that I would have cards working abroad, I was happy.
It was finally something good after the whole week of darkness and terrible news.
— Tanya, thank you so much for the detailed story. We are sure that the issue of opening a legal entity abroad is very relevant to many entrepreneurs now.
— I was glad to share my experience. I wish us all a peaceful sky over our heads.