How To Start A Business Abroad [Complete Guide]

Imagine this: You’ve got a killer business idea and a team with the drive to make it all happen. But there’s just one problem – the red tape in your home country is tying your hands. Sound familiar? It’s a frustrating scenario that many entrepreneurs face.

So the next logical step is – why not set up shop in a country that rolls out the red carpet for businesses? Countries with tax laws that don’t make your head spin, labour regulations that actually make sense, and governments that say “Welcome!” instead of “Wait!”

But hold on a second, starting a business abroad isn’t exactly a walk in the park. There’s a laundry list of things you need to consider: laws and policies that could make or break your venture, the political climate, the overall business environment, how they treat their workers, tax regulations, and a whole bunch of other rules and regulations.

In this article, we’ll explore the nitty-gritty of starting a business abroad, share some of the best places to start a business and discuss the common rules and regulations that need to be considered.

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Why Should You Start a Business Abroad?

There are several key benefits of setting up a business abroad. Some of the significant reasons you have to consider while starting a business abroad are:

  • Government Incentives: Many countries actively seek to attract foreign businesses and investments through various incentives. These can include relaxed corporate guidelines, streamlined labour laws, grants, subsidies, low-interest loans, or even free land for setting up operations. Some governments even offer special economic zones with reduced regulations and tax benefits.
  • Tax Advantages: Tax considerations often play a crucial role in the decision to start a business abroad. Many countries offer lower corporate tax rates, tax holidays for new businesses, or special tax regimes for foreign investors.
  • Reducing bureaucracy: Some countries offer a more streamlined regulatory environment compared to others. This means simpler business registration processes, fewer licensing requirements, or more flexible labour laws.
  • Capitalise on Cost Efficiencies: Operating costs can vary significantly between countries. Establishing a business in a country with lower labour costs, cheaper real estate, or more affordable raw materials can substantially reduce operational expenses. This is particularly relevant for labour-intensive industries or businesses requiring large physical spaces.
  • Unlock New Market Potential: Expanding into foreign markets opens up new customer bases and revenue streams. This is especially beneficial if the home market is saturated or if there’s growing demand for the product or service in other countries.
  • Diversify Your Business Risk: Operating in multiple countries helps spread business risk. Economic downturns, political instability, or natural disasters affecting one country may be offset by stability or growth in another. This geographical diversification provides a buffer against localised challenges and ensures more stable overall business performance.
  • Access a Global Talent Pool: Starting a business abroad provides access to a diverse workforce with varied skills and perspectives. This can be particularly advantageous if there’s a shortage of specific skills in the home country.

What Are The Factors You Should Consider While Starting a Business Abroad?

Starting a business abroad comes with its own set of considerations that significantly impact its viability and survivability.Some important factors to consider before starting a business abroad include:

  • Local Laws and Regulations: Every country has a specific set of corporate laws, rules and regulations to oversee business operations. Understanding and complying with these legal frameworks are crucial to ensure smoother business operations. These rules and regulations could be regarding business registration procedures, licensing policies, tax registration and other compliance regulations. 
  • Tax Regulations: Tax regulations play the most crucial role in making a country viable for business. Countries have varying corporate tax rates, rules, and tax incentives for foreign investors. Moreover, different countries offer sector and industry-based tax rates and incentives to invite or discourage foreign investment. For example, an LLC in Delaware and an LLC in New Delhi will witness different tax regulations. Analysing the tax structure can help with financial planning and identifying potential tax benefits. Look into double taxation treaties that can prevent your business from being taxed in both the home and host countries.
  • Regulatory and Compliance Policies: Regulatory and Compliance policies include the policies that a host country has put in place to oversee and regulate the development of its key areas. These can include environmental regulations, health and safety standards, and industry-specific compliance requirements. Compliance with these regulations is non-negotiable, and non-compliance can lead to legal penalties, operational disruptions, and damage to your business reputation.
  • Business Environment: The business environment refers to the factors that facilitate the ease of carrying out business operations. These could range from easy access to finance and raising capital to the availability of various business support services. Countries that rank high on the ease of doing business index typically offer streamlined procedures for starting and operating a business, making them attractive destinations for entrepreneurs.
  • Intellectual Property Protection: Intellectual property (IP) protection is a crucial aspect of many businesses. Thus, it is necessary to understand the host country’s IP laws and check if it is part of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or any other treaty to protect IP. Registering your IP, such as your trademarks, patents, and copyrights, in the host country can safeguard your innovations and brand reputation.
  • Infrastructure and Logistics: The availability and quality of infrastructural and logistics services in a country are crucial to determining whether your business operations will run smoothly. It is important to determine the reliability of services such as transportation networks, telecommunications, utilities, and logistics services to enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Market Research and Consumer Behavior: Understanding the host country’s market and consumer preferences is vital to establishing and growing your business. This includes studying consumer behaviour, preferences, and cultural nuances that can impact your marketing strategies and help you make informed business decisions.

These are some of the crucial factors that should be carefully considered so that you can make informed decisions and increase your chances of success in international markets. Comprehensive planning and due diligence are key to navigating the complexities of starting a business abroad and capitalising on the opportunities it presents.

What are the Best Countries to Start a Business?

Some of the best countries to start a business are:

New Zealand

It is one of the best places to start a business. It is known for its ease of doing business and offers a straightforward setup process for new companies, a transparent regulatory environment, and proactive government support for startups. Its economy is characterised by high levels of innovation and a competitive tax system, which includes no payroll, capital gains, or estate taxes. 


Ease of Doing Business
  • New Zealand offers a streamlined business establishment process, with simple procedures and a supportive government structure.
  • The World Bank has consistently recognised New Zealand for its ease of doing business, highlighting the country’s efficient approach to starting new ventures.
Regulatory Environment
  • The regulatory framework in New Zealand is designed to be transparent and conducive to business operations, minimising unnecessary hurdles.
  • This environment allows businesses to operate with confidence, knowing that the regulatory system is designed to support their growth and stability.
Government Support
  • New Zealand’s government provides substantial backing for startups through various incentives, such as grants and tax advantages.
  • This support is a testament to the country’s commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
Quality of Life
  • The nation boasts a high standard of living, with a focus on safety and cleanliness, making it an attractive place for talent from around the world.
  • The quality of life in New Zealand is a significant draw for professionals looking for a balanced lifestyle while pursuing their business ambitions.


Market Size and Geographical Isolation
  • While the domestic market size is relatively small, New Zealand’s businesses often leverage this to create highly specialised and competitive products and services.
  • Although geographical isolation is a challenge, it has led to innovative logistics solutions and a strong focus on export markets.

Best Industries For Business: 

  • Agriculture and Food Processing: With its rich natural resources, New Zealand excels in producing high-quality agricultural products and has a robust food processing industry.
  • Tourism and Hospitality: The country’s stunning landscapes and commitment to sustainability make it a prime location for tourism and hospitality businesses.
  • Information Technology and Software Development: A growing tech sector with a skilled workforce makes New Zealand a smart choice for IT and software companies.
  • Film and Creative Industries: Known for its scenic filming locations and a supportive creative environment, New Zealand is a hub for the film and creative sectors.
  • Renewable Energy: With an abundance of natural resources, New Zealand is at the forefront of renewable energy, offering numerous opportunities for businesses in this field.


This island nation boasts a strategic location in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a gateway for businesses looking to enter the broader Asian market. Singapore’s tax-friendly regime, world-class infrastructure, and strong commitment to protecting intellectual property rights make it ideal for entrepreneurs globally. 


Strategic Location
  • Serves as the gateway to Asia, offering unparalleled access to the region’s burgeoning markets.
  • Boasts one of the busiest ports in the world, facilitating efficient international trade.
Tax Benefits
  • Offers one of the most attractive corporate tax structures globally, with a cap of 17% on corporate income.
  • Provides numerous tax incentives, including exemptions and reductions for startups and specific industries.
Business-Friendly Regulations
  • Known for its transparent and efficient regulatory framework, which simplifies the process of starting and running a business.
  • Consistently ranks at the top in global ease of doing business indexes.
  • Features advanced and reliable infrastructure, from transport systems to telecommunications networks.
  • Maintains a strong rule of law with a robust legal system that protects business interests.


Cost of Living and Business Expenses
  • While the cost of living is high, the quality of life and availability of premium services justify the expenses for many to help offset business costs.
Limited Domestic Market
  • Although the domestic market is small, Singapore’s free trade agreements and economic partnerships provide access to international markets.

Best Industries For Business:

  • Financial Services: A leading global financial hub with a strong regulatory framework and skilled workforce.
  • Biomedical Sciences: Home to a thriving research ecosystem and state-of-the-art facilities.
  • Information and Communications Technology: A digital economy pioneer with a robust ICT infrastructure.
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Strategic location and excellent connectivity make it ideal for logistics operations.
  • Advanced Manufacturing: Supports high-value manufacturing with a focus on innovation and productivity.

Hong Kong 

Hong Kong recently established itself as a lucrative place for starting a business by improving business ease and streamlining legal regulations. However, it remains a significant financial hub with a favourable tax system, including low personal and corporate tax rates. The region’s free-market economy provides minimal bureaucracy and a highly efficient banking system.


Economic Freedom
  • Hong Kong offers a high degree of economic freedom, ranking consistently at the top of global indexes.
  • The region’s minimal government intervention allows businesses to operate with flexibility and agility.
Low Taxes
  • With one of the lowest corporate tax rates globally, Hong Kong presents an attractive business tax environment.
  • The absence of VAT further reduces the financial burden on companies, enhancing profitability.
Gateway to China
  • Hong Kong serves as a strategic gateway for businesses to tap into the vast Chinese market.
  • Its unique position offers unparalleled access to trade and investment opportunities in mainland China.
  • The legal system in Hong Kong is grounded in English common law, offering transparency and predictability.
  • Intellectual property rights are strongly protected, providing a secure legal framework for businesses.


Political Uncertainty
  • Despite its advantages, Hong Kong faces political uncertainties that may affect business stability.
High Costs
  • The high cost of living and real estate can be a significant barrier for new businesses.

Best Industries for Business:

  • Finance and Banking: Hong Kong’s sophisticated financial services sector is a cornerstone of its economy.
  • Trade and Logistics: The region’s world-class infrastructure supports a thriving trade and logistics industry.
  • Professional Services: The demand for legal and accounting services is robust, given the complex business landscape.
  • Real Estate and Property Development: Despite high costs, there is continuous demand for real estate.
  • Retail and Luxury Goods: Hong Kong’s affluent population and tourist influx drive the retail market.


Denmark’s robust economy is backed by a transparent and efficient business climate. The country offers a high quality of life, a flexible labour market known as the “Danish Model,” and a reputation for innovation and design. Denmark’s strategic location also provides access to other European markets. 


Ease of Doing Business
  • Denmark’s streamlined processes make it easier for businesses to get started, with less red tape and bureaucracy.
  • The country’s supportive ecosystem for startups includes various initiatives that simplify the process of founding and running a new business.
Quality of Life
  • Denmark consistently ranks high in global quality of life indexes, which can attract top talent from around the world.
  • The comprehensive welfare state ensures all residents have access to healthcare, education, and social services, contributing to a happy and healthy workforce.
  • Denmark is known for its design and innovation, particularly in renewable energy and sustainable living areas.
  • The commitment to sustainability aligns with global trends and opens up opportunities for businesses in the green sector.
Skilled Workforce
  • With a strong emphasis on education, Denmark offers a pool of highly skilled professionals.
  • Businesses benefit from the availability of a workforce proficient in English and often other languages, which is essential for international business.


High Taxes 
  • While providing funding for the social welfare system, the high taxes can be a drawback for businesses.
Cost of Living
  • The high cost of living should be factored into salary negotiations and pricing strategies.

Best Industries for Business:

  • Clean Technology and Renewable Energy: Denmark’s commitment to sustainability makes it a leader in clean tech.
  • Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals: A strong healthcare system supports innovation in these fields.
  • Information Technology and Digital Solutions: The digital infrastructure in Denmark is well-developed, offering opportunities in IT.
  • Design and Creative Industries: Denmark’s design legacy continues to offer a competitive edge.
  • Advanced Manufacturing: The focus on quality and innovation drives the advanced manufacturing sector.

South Korea

South Korea’s highly developed infrastructural facilities and commitment to research and development make it a prime location for starting a business. The country also has a highly educated workforce and a culture that values hard work and innovation. Moreover, the government offers various incentives for startups, especially in the tech sector. 


Tech-Savvy Population
  • South Korea boasts a highly digitalised society with widespread adoption of cutting-edge technologies. This creates a fertile ground for tech businesses to thrive and innovate.
Government Support
  • The South Korean government offers robust support for startups, including financial incentives, subsidies, and resources aimed at fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • With state-of-the-art facilities and excellent connectivity, South Korea’s infrastructure is conducive to business operations, facilitating efficient logistics and communication.
  • The South Korean workforce is well-educated and skilled, particularly in technology and engineering, providing a strong talent pool for businesses.


Regulatory Complexity
  • Navigating the regulatory landscape can be daunting due to intricate laws and bureaucracy, which may require effective management guidance.
Cultural Barriers
  • Understanding and adapting to local business practices and language can pose challenges for foreign entrepreneurs, necessitating cultural acumen.

Best Industries for Business:

  • Electronics and Semiconductors: As a global leader in electronics, South Korea offers vast opportunities for businesses in the semiconductor industry, driven by constant innovation and demand.
  • Automotive and Shipbuilding: The country’s advanced automotive and shipbuilding sectors are renowned for their quality and efficiency, making them attractive for related enterprises.
  • E-commerce and Digital Services: With a robust digital infrastructure, South Korea is ripe for e-commerce and digital service ventures, supported by a tech-savvy consumer base.
  • Entertainment and Cultural Exports: The global popularity of K-pop and K-drama has opened avenues for businesses in entertainment and cultural exports, capitalising on the ‘Korean Wave’.
  • Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: South Korea’s commitment to research and development in robotics and AI positions it at the forefront of these cutting-edge industries.

United States 

The U.S. is an ever-popular location to start a business. It is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and offers a large and diverse market. Its competitive and innovative environment is supported by a strong legal framework for business and property rights. Access to venture capital and a culture that encourages risk-taking are additional benefits.

Most business owners choose to open an LLC or an INC (relevant for larger entities). In addition, the U.S. is a bit different. There are 50 states in which you can incorporate an LLC. Most go with Delaware, Texas, or Arizona due to their favourable tax, corporation, and privacy laws and, in some cases, a corporation court. Specifically, establishing an LLC in Arizona is a popular choice due to its advantageous legal environment. Similarly, Delaware is considered attractive for incorporating US companies due to its convenient taxation and legal structure.


Large Market
  • The U.S. boasts one of the world’s largest consumer markets, offering businesses a vast and diverse customer base.
  • High purchasing power and consumer spending contribute to a dynamic market environment.
Innovation Hub
  • Regions like Silicon Valley serve as global beacons of technological advancement and innovation.
  • A culture that encourages and rewards innovation attracts talent and ideas from around the globe.
Access to Capital
  • The U.S. provides ample funding opportunities with a mature venture capital ecosystem.
  • Entrepreneurs find support from a variety of sources, including angel investors, venture capitalists, and crowdfunding platforms.
Business-Friendly Policies
  • The U.S. government offers incentives and support for startups, including tax breaks and grants.
  • A strong legal framework protects intellectual property, encouraging creative ventures.
  • The choice of state for incorporation also plays a significant role. Delaware, Texas, and Arizona are top choices due to their business-friendly regulations. 


Regulatory Variability
  • Navigating the complex web of federal, state, and local regulations can be daunting.
  • Businesses must be adaptable and well-informed to comply with the diverse legal landscape.
Cost of Living
  • Major business centres like New York and San Francisco are associated with high living and operational costs.
  • Companies must strategically manage resources to maintain profitability in these competitive markets.

Best Industries for Business:

  • Technology and Software: Continual growth in demand for tech solutions provides a lucrative market for innovative products and services.
  • Biotechnology and Healthcare: Advancements in medical technology and an ageing population create opportunities for healthcare-related businesses.
  • Entertainment and Media: The U.S. is home to Hollywood and a major influencer in global media, offering vast opportunities in entertainment.
  • Financial Services: A cornerstone of the global economy, the U.S. financial sector is ripe for fintech innovations and traditional financial services.
  • E-commerce and Retail: With a shift towards online shopping, e-commerce ventures have a significant growth trajectory in the U.S. market.

United Kingdom

The UK’s business environment is characterised by a global financial centre and a flexible labour market. Post-Brexit, the country is working to establish new trade agreements and maintain its position as a competitive business destination. The UK also offers a range of financial incentives for businesses, particularly in the tech and creative industries.


Global Financial Center
  • London’s status as a leading financial centre is underpinned by its advanced infrastructure, diverse financial products, and a regulatory environment conducive to business growth.
  • The UK’s legal framework is well-established, offering clarity and stability supporting domestic and international business operations.
Access to Markets
  • Despite Brexit, the UK maintains access to European markets and benefits from a vast international trade network, facilitating global business opportunities.
Talent Pool
  • The availability of highly skilled professionals, bolstered by world-renowned educational institutions, provides businesses with the human capital necessary for innovation and development.


Economic Uncertainty
  • Brexit and other political factors have introduced a degree of economic uncertainty, impacting business planning and investment.
High Costs
  • The high cost of living and business operations, particularly in major cities like London, can be a barrier for startups and small businesses.

Best Industries for Business:

  • Financial Technology (FinTech): The UK’s progressive regulatory environment and tech-savvy population make it a fertile ground for FinTech innovations.
  • Creative Industries: A hub for fashion, design, and media, the UK’s creative sector is vibrant and globally influential.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics: With significant investment in AI and data analytics, the UK is poised to be a leader in these cutting-edge sectors.
  • Life Sciences and Biotechnology: The country’s strong research institutions and commitment to healthcare innovation make it a hotspot for life sciences and biotech ventures.
  • Professional Services: The UK’s professional services industry, encompassing legal and consulting services, is renowned for its expertise and global reach.

Each of these countries offers unique advantages for starting a business but also comes with its own set of challenges. The best choice depends on the business’s specific needs, the industry it operates in, and the entrepreneur’s long-term goals.

Starting a business abroad is no easy task; it involves a series of legal and regulatory processes that can vary from country to country. Here is a checklist of some standard legal procedures you need to follow to start a business abroad:

Step 1: Choosing The Right Jurisdiction

The first step towards setting up a business is choosing the right jurisdiction. Jurisdiction means the authority or governance system of a place under which your business will operate, encompassing legal, economic, and regulatory frameworks. Choosing the correct jurisdiction is a crucial aspect of starting a business abroad. This involves considering factors such as:

Economic Stability:

Analysing the economic stability of the country where you plan to start your business involves the following steps-

  • Assess GDP growth rates and economic forecasts- Look for countries with steady and positive GDP growth rates, indicating a thriving economy. Analyse economic forecasts from credible sources to predict future stability and growth potential. 
  • Evaluate inflation rates and currency stability- Low and stable inflation rates are crucial as they ensure predictable pricing and purchasing power. Assess the local currency’s stability against major international currencies to avoid exchange rate volatility.
  • Consider the country’s credit rating and debt levels- Refer to ratings from agencies like Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch to understand the country’s creditworthiness. High national debt levels can indicate potential economic problems, leading to instability.

Political Stability:

To understand the political conditions, you need to consider the following things-

  • Analyse Political Stability and Governance Indicators- Choose countries with stable governments and low risks of political upheaval. Good governance indicators include transparency, low corruption, and effective law enforcement.
  • Understand the Government’s Attitude Towards Foreign Businesses—Look for governments that actively promote foreign investment through supportive policies. Ensure measures are in place to protect foreign investors’ interests.
  • Assess the Risk of Policy Changes or Expropriation- Stable regulatory environments with consistent policies reduce the risk of sudden adverse changes. Understand the likelihood of a government takeover of foreign-owned assets without fair compensation.

Business Environment:

Evaluating the business environment entails the following things-

  • Review Ease of Doing Business Rankings- Refer to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings to gauge the regulatory environment. Consider factors such as the ease of starting a business, obtaining permits, and enforcing contracts.
  • Evaluate the Presence of Necessary Infrastructure- Ensure there is adequate infrastructure for transportation, logistics, and supply chain management. Reliable internet and communication networks are vital for modern business operations.
  • Assess the Availability of Skilled Labor- Analyze the availability of skilled and semi-skilled labour relevant to your industry. Consider the quality of local educational institutions and vocational training programs.

Step 2: Choosing An Appropriate Business Structure 

This step involves choosing a business structure that is necessary to determine taxation, liability, and operational flexibility. Some of the common business structures are-

  • Sole Proprietorship: A business structure where an individual owns and operates the business alone. The owner has unlimited liability for business debts.
  • Partnership: A business structure where two or more individuals share ownership and responsibilities. Partners have shared liability for business debts.
  • Corporation: A separate legal entity that provides limited liability protection to its owners (shareholders). Corporations have complex legal requirements and are subject to corporate taxes.
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): A hybrid business structure that combines the benefits of a partnership and a corporation. It offers limited liability protection to partners and allows flexibility in management.

Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages regarding personal liability protection, tax treatment, and complexity of formation and maintenance. The choice should be based on your business goals, the number of owners, liability concerns, and tax considerations.

Step 3: Selecting a Business Name And Registering It

In this step, you need to choose a name for your company. Some things you need to keep in mind while naming your company are- 

  • Choose a Unique Name: Select a unique business name that reflects your brand and is not already in use by another entity in the jurisdiction.
  • Naming Regulations: Ensure that the chosen name adheres to the host country’s naming regulations, including any restrictions on certain words or phrases.

Choosing a unique name is vital for the recognition of your business. Next, you need to register your chosen name. The registration process involves-

  • Checking trademark databases to avoid potential conflicts.
  • Submitting the business name for approval to the relevant authority and registering it with local or national business registries.

This step helps protect your brand and prevents legal issues.

Step 4: Incorporating The Business (Drafting Moa & Aoa, Bylaws)

This is one of the most critical steps towards setting up a business abroad. 

Incorporation refers to the legal process of forming a corporate entity or company. This process transforms a business into a corporation, recognised by law as a separate entity from its owners and shareholders. 

Incorporation is a pivotal process for establishing a company as a legal entity, separate from its owners. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps involved:

Drafting Key Documents

  • Memorandum of Association (MoA): This document outlines the company’s constitution and the scope of its activities. It includes the company’s name, the location of its registered office, and the objectives for which the company is formed.
  • Articles of Association (AoA): The AoA governs the company’s internal operations, detailing the rules for the company’s management and the rights of its shareholders.
  • Bylaws of the Company: These are the rules and regulations that manage the company’s daily affairs, including the process for holding meetings, issuing stock, and conducting business.

Registering with the Relevant Authority

Registrar of Companies: The company must register with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) in its respective country. This involves submitting the MoA, AoA, and bylaws, along with other required forms and fees. Upon successful registration, the RoC issues a certificate of incorporation, legally recognising the company as an entity.

Step5: Complying With Tax Laws

To ensure compliance with the tax laws of the host country, you need to follow these steps: 

  • Research Local Tax Laws: Before setting up a business, it’s crucial to understand the specific tax obligations in the foreign country. This includes corporate tax rates, VAT/GST requirements, and any other relevant taxes.
  • Obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN): Apply for a TIN, which is necessary for tax filings and communications with the tax authorities. The process varies by country but generally involves submitting an application and supporting documents.
  • Register for VAT/GST: If the business activities are subject to VAT/GST, complete the necessary registration. This often requires providing details about the business, projected turnover, and other financial information.
  • Understand Double Taxation Agreements (DTA): Check if there’s a DTA between the home country and the foreign country to avoid being taxed twice on the same income.
  • Set Up Record-Keeping Systems: Implement accounting systems that comply with local regulations, ensuring accurate tracking of income, expenses, and tax payments.
  • Stay Informed on Filing Deadlines: Be aware of when tax returns and payments are due to avoid penalties and interest for late submissions.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Consider hiring a local tax consultant or accountant who can provide guidance tailored to the business and help navigate the complexities of the tax system.
  • Regular Compliance Checks: Review tax compliance regularly to ensure all obligations are being met and to adjust for changes in tax laws.
  • Prepare for Audits: Maintain thorough records and documentation in case of audits by the tax authorities.
  • Update Registration Details: Keep tax registration details up to date, including any changes in business structure, address, or activities.

Step 6: Obtaining Necessary Permits And Licenses (Obtaining General Business Licences And Industry-Specific Licenses)

Every country has their own set of regulatory compliances in the form of permits and licenses that you need to obtain to operate your business. Some of these permits and licenses are-

  • General Business Licenses- These are broad or basic licenses required by local, state, or federal governments to allow the operation of a business within a local jurisdiction
  • Industry-Specific Licenses- These are licenses required for businesses operating within specific fields like healthcare, food service, or finance. These are obtained from industry-specific licensing boards and reflect adherence to specialised regulations.

Researching and identifying the target country’s specific requirements is essential, which may vary based on the business sector. The process of obtaining the necessary permits and licenses is as follows:

  • Gathering necessary documentation: Gather all necessary documents, which may include the company’s incorporation papers, registration certificates, and any other forms required by the local authorities.
  • Submission of application: Fill out and submit the application forms for the required licenses. Depending on the country’s system, this may be done online or in person.
  • Compliance Verification: Ensure that your business complies with all local laws and regulations, which may involve inspections or additional documentation.
  • Paying the required fees: Pay any applicable fees associated with the licensing process. These fees can vary widely depending on the country and the type of business.
  • Review and Approval: Wait for the authorities to review your application. This can take varying amounts of time, again depending on the country and the complexity of your business operations.
  • Receive License: Once approved, you will receive your business license, which may come with a unique identification number like the Unified Social Credit Number in China.
  • Post-Registration Compliance: After obtaining the license, comply with all local regulations, including tax obligations and permit renewals, as required.

The exact process can vary significantly from one country to another, and it’s essential to understand the nuances of the local business environment. For instance, some countries may issue business licenses during the incorporation phase, while others treat it as a separate procedure to be completed after registration. However, ensuring compliance with all licensing requirements is crucial for your business’s long-term success and credibility in a foreign market.

Step 7: Opening a Bank Account

It is important to set up a bank account for starting a business as

  • Improves operational efficiency: A local bank account streamlines business transactions, payroll, and vendor payments.
  • Provides financial legitimacy: It establishes the business as a legitimate entity within the host country.
  • Assists in capital raising: A bank account is essential for securing funding and managing investments.

Setting up a bank account is also important to adhere to the regulatory and compliance requirements of the host country. Some of the standard regulatory guidelines are:

  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML): It is a set of guidelines designed to prevent the illegal generation of income. AML measures include monitoring financial transactions and reporting suspicious activities.
  • Know Your Customer (KYC): It is a component of AML and involves verifying the identity of clients, understanding their risk profiles, and monitoring ongoing financial activities to prevent fraud.

The common steps you need to follow to open a bank account are:

  • Selecting the right type of account: Choose between checking, savings, or specialised business accounts.
  • Choosing the bank: Research and select a bank that suits your business needs and offers favourable terms.
  • Gathering required documents: Prepare business registration documents, ownership details, and identification for all major stakeholders.
  • Submitting the application: Complete the application process, which may be done online or in person at the bank.
  • Verification Process: The bank will conduct due diligence, including KYC procedures, to verify the information provided.
  • Account Funding: Deposit the initial funds as required by the bank to activate the account.

Step 8: Complying  With Foreign Investment Policies

This means understanding the foreign investment policies of the host country, such as regulations regarding foreign direct investment (FDI), ownership limits, rules on the repatriation of profits, currency exchange controls, transfer pricing and sectoral caps, avoid financial and legal issues. The compliance procedure involves:

  • Researching and Understanding FDI Regulations: Begin by thoroughly researching the host country’s regulations on foreign direct investment. This includes ownership limits, sectoral caps, and any restrictions on foreign entities.
  • Assessing Ownership and Control Limits: Determine any limitations on foreign ownership and control within your target industry, as these can vary significantly from one sector to another.
  • Reviewing Profit Repatriation Rules: Understand the rules governing the repatriation of profits, including any taxes or fees that may apply when transferring money back to your home country.
  • Analysing Currency Exchange Controls: Be aware of any currency exchange controls that could affect the movement of capital and the conversion of profits into your home currency.
  • Examining Transfer Pricing Regulations: Transfer pricing rules are designed to prevent tax evasion through the manipulation of pricing for transactions between related entities. Ensure your pricing strategies comply with local laws.
  • Navigating Sectoral Caps: Identify if there are any caps on investment in specific sectors, which may require seeking local partners or restructuring your business model.
  • Engaging with Legal and Financial Advisors: Consult with local experts to navigate the complexities of the host country’s investment policies and to ensure compliance.
  • Developing a Compliance Strategy: Create a comprehensive strategy that addresses all regulatory requirements, including documentation and reporting obligations.
  • Monitoring Policy Changes: Stay informed about any changes in the host country’s investment policies, as these can impact your operations and compliance status.
  • Implementing Internal Controls: Establish robust internal controls to effectively manage compliance with foreign investment policies.

By complying with foreign investment policies, your business can mitigate the risks associated with non-compliance and position itself for successful international ventures.

Step 9: Protection of Intellectual Properties (Registration of Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents)

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols, names, and images used in commerce. If your business involves the usage of intellectual properties such as trademarks, copyrights or patents, then it is crucial to register them in order to protect them and maintain competitive advantage and legal rights. Some of the primary types of IP protections are:


A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights.

Procedure for Registration:

  • Search for existing trademarks to ensure uniqueness.
  • Apply with the relevant national or regional trademark office.
  • The application is examined for any conflicts and adherence to legal formalities.
  • If approved, the trademark is published for opposition; if no opposition arises, the trademark is registered.


Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright include books, music, paintings, sculptures, and films, as well as computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and technical drawings.

Procedure for Registration:

  • Create an original work that is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.
  • Submit a copy of the work along with the registration form to the copyright office.
  • Pay the required fee.
  • Upon examination and approval, a certificate of registration is issued.


A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something or offers a new technical solution to a problem.

Procedure for Registration:

  • Conduct a patent search to ensure the invention is novel and non-obvious.
  • Prepare and file a patent application with the relevant patent office.
  • The application undergoes a rigorous examination process.
  • If the invention meets all criteria, the patent is granted.

Some of the key factors you need to consider before registering your intellectual property are:

  • Assessment of IP Value: Determine the economic value of your IP and how it contributes to your business.
  • Type of IP Protection: Choose the appropriate protection—trademark for brands, copyright for artistic works, and patents for inventions.
  • Search for Existing IP: Conduct thorough searches to ensure your IP is unique and does not infringe on existing rights.
  • Legal Requirements: Understand the legal criteria for protection, such as originality and novelty.
  • International Protection: Consider whether you need protection in just one country or multiple jurisdictions and ensure that the host country is a part of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Remember, the process can vary depending on the country and specific IP laws.

Step 10: Following Labour Laws And Regulations

To follow the labour laws and regulations of the host country, you need to:

  • Understand Local Labour Laws: Research and understand the labour and employment laws applicable in the country where your business operates.
  • Draft Employment Contracts: Create clear employment contracts that include terms on wages, working hours, benefits, and termination conditions.
  • Register for Employee Benefits: Ensure all employees are registered for social security, health insurance, and other mandatory benefits as per local regulations.
  • Implement Workplace Safety Measures: Adhere to workplace safety regulations by establishing a safe working environment and providing necessary training to employees.
  • Maintain Employee Welfare: Follow employee welfare laws, which may include provisions for breaks, recreational activities, and a harassment-free workplace.
  • Regular Compliance Checks: Conduct regular audits to ensure ongoing compliance with all labour laws and regulations.
  • Update Policies as Needed: Stay informed about changes in the law and update company policies and procedures accordingly.

Labour and employment laws differ from country to country, and it is important to comply with such laws and regulations. Employment contracts mainly involve terms on wages, working hours, benefits, and termination conditions.

Step 11: Other Compliance And Regulatory Measures

Apart from the above laws and regulations, a business must follow other necessary compliance and regulatory measures specific to the host country. Some of the common compliance and regulatory measures that you need to keep in mind are:

  • Specific Local Regulations: Research and understand the compliance and regulatory measures specific to the host country where the business operates.
  • Auditing and Disclosure: Implement auditing processes to ensure financial transparency and disclose financial information as required by local laws.
  • Annual Reporting: Prepare and submit annual reports detailing the company’s financial and operational status in accordance with the host country’s regulations.
  • Environmental Regulations: Adhere to the environmental laws of the host country, focusing on reducing pollution and conserving resources.
  • Wastage and Emission Standards: Establish standards for waste management and emissions that comply with local environmental regulations to minimise ecological impact.
  • Health and Safety Regulations: Follow industry-specific health and safety guidelines to provide a safe working environment for employees.
  • Data Protection and Privacy: Ensure the company’s data handling practices comply with the host country’s data protection and privacy laws.