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Has it Become Harder for Non-European Citizens to Open a Business in Romania?

Published: Thursday, May 18, 2023

While  Romania  has  been  a  country  that  has  been  constantly  inviting and  attracting  new  business,  being  a  non-European citizen  or  company that  aims  to  open  a  business  can  come  with  its  own  set  of  headaches.  These  are  in  part  due  to  changes  in  the  Global situation  and  further requirements  of  the  European  Union.

Certain  challenges  may  come  into  light  during opening  and  operating  a  business  in  Romania  one  of  them  being  the  relationship  with  the  local  banks  and  their  views  in  relation to  foreign  ownership of  Romanian  companies.

If  we  look  at  opening a  business  from  a  corporate perspective  the  recent changes  made  to  the  Romanian Legal  system  focused mainly  on  streamlining business  initiatives;  they  have  in  many  cases  given  foreign investors  a  clear  advantage  by  establishing  a  process  which  is  meant  to  simplify the  overall  process of  incorporating  and  opening  a  new  business inside  the  country.

Despite  the  introduction of  new  procedures for  incorporation  and  registration  and  taking  this  into  account, a  potential  investor must  be  wary  about  the  things  that  continue  to  pose  a  threat  to  them  whatever business  field  is. 

One  of  the  main  issues that  has  come  to  light  due  to  the  recent political  tensions  that  have  had  an  impact on  the  evolution of  the  economic and  financial  markets is  banks  increasing their  level  or  awareness.  Banks  became  more  and  more  cautious  in  regard  to  non-European  citizens looking  to  do  business  in  European  countries, even  more  so  when  said  individual  comes  from  a  country  that  is  categorized as  High  Risk.

Banks  have  since  then  implemented new  requirements  that  must  be  met  before opening  a  corporate bank  account.  This  limits  the  potential  for  new  businesses to  immediately  trade  efficiently  and  easily.

The  banks  have  in  some  cases  asked  that  the  company’s  shareholders if  individuals  resident in  Romania  prove  such  residency by  a  residence permit  issued  by  the  Romanian authorities.    Further,  the  company’s  shareholders must  obtain  documents issued  by  the  state  authorities whose  nationality  they  hold  in  order  to  prove  their  home  address.

Banks  can  also  ask  for  statements  in  regarding  the  ability  to  communicate  in  English  or  if  necessary ensure  that  a  translator  is  available  for  meetings.

The  exact  conditions that  are  being  demanded  by  any  given  bank  might  vary,  thus  delaying  opening the  company’s  activity.

Once  the  shareholder has  jumped  through these  “hoops”  and  the  account has  been  opened, any  mismatches  between the  statements  made  and  the  actual  financial activity  of  the  business  may  provoke  the  bank  into  suspending  the  bank  accounts until  the  issue  is  cleared or  the  company provides  new  evidence to  support  its  financial  activities.

A  company  with  no  employees suddenly  creating  a  payment  order  for  employee salaries  might  become a  reason  for  suspension  until  the  bank  is  convinced that  no  illegal activities  are  being  conducted.

Recent  policies  that  have  become a  thorn  in  the  back  of  businesses looking  to  conduct themselves  in  Romania can  include:

-         Refusal to  open  a  Business  Bank  Account  because the  shareholders  declared their  intent  to  conduct  business with  high-risk  countries such  as  China, Russia  or  Ukraine.

-         The  inability  to  use  internet banking  during  the  first  months of  business  activity.

-         During the  first  6–12  months  of  business  activity, international  transfers  must  be  initiated from  one  of  the  bank’s local  branches  even  though  some  banks  may  be  inclined to  accept  plausible explanations.

These  are  a  few  of  the  issues one  might  encounter when  deciding  to  do  business in  Romania.  They  should  not  be  seen  as  a  discouragement  but  should  be  treated  as  a  experience to  ensure  in  the  future their  business  operates effectively  and  successfully in  Romania.

Most  individuals  that  are  looking to  do  business in  such  countries, even  more  so  when  they  are  non-European citizens  or  come  from  High-risk countries  have  decided to  get  professional assistance  in  order  to  rest  assured  that  they  can  continue  doing  what  they  do  best,  leaving  the  intricacies  of  the  European and  Romanian  law  to  the  professionals  in  the  field.

Carmen  Tcaciuc


Nicholas S. Hammond
Hammond Partnership
Practice Area:
Phone Number:
0040 21 589 7892
Nicholas Hammond is a corporate and property lawyer by training. He is a qualified solicitor having spent 25 years in London before moving to Bucharest in 1994 to open the Bucharest office of a well-known international law firm. In 2004, he set up Hammond and Associates and is currently the managing partner in Hammond & Associates dealing with a multitude of legal issues. He regularly advises investors both private individuals and international businesses on commercial matters in Romania with an emphasis on M&A and corporate matters. He has been involved over the years in many major transactions in Romania advising foreign investors. Nicholas has extensive experience in the commercial sector having for example advised several insurance companies, aviation companies and companies in the oil and gas as well as renewable energy field. He continues to advise major companies from all fields on their business in Romania. He also advises upon employment issues. Nicholas has acted for foreign investors in the real estate field in respect of acquisitions and disposals as well as advising on leasing issues. He has provided legal opinions in relation to Romania as required.

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