11 steps to incorporating in South Korea in 2023
Incorporating a company in South Korea is straightforward. The whole process takes between two to three months to complete. The following is an overview of the typical engagement procedures:
- Our Client settles our fees and signs Healy Consultants Group’s engagement letter. Healy Consultants provides our Client with a detailed engagement plan, outlining the roadmap for the entire project, and minimising unwanted surprises;
- Healy Consultants Group collects the required due diligence from our Client, including passport copies, proof of address, and details of the company’s intended activities in South Korea. To avoid physically visiting South Korea, investors are required to sign a Power of Attorney (PoA) and all incorporation forms, and attest personal or corporate KYC i) in front of a notary public in their country of origin or ii) at the South Korean consulate. Notarisation and legalisation takes up to one week, and costs for completion of the same depends on our Client’s country of residence.
- Before Healy Consultants starts the company incorporation process, our Client will need to provide a lease agreement for their new office space in Korea. Alternatively, our Client may choose to temporarily rent shared space at Healy Consultants’ Seoul office if they are unable to find space of their own. In such cases, Healy Consultants will prepare an office agreement for our Client’s signature, stating the terms and conditions in the contract;
- Healy Consultants’ incorporation team submits the Foreign investment Notification to a Korean foreign exchange bank. Upon approval by the foreign exchange bank, Healy Consultants Group will arrange for our Client to remit the investment funds into the foreign exchange account. This is a temporary bank account in the name of the investor. This step is optional, and is only required for foreign direct investment (FDI) companies with a minimum paid up capital of US$100,000.
- Our Incorporation Team liaises with the Commercial Registrar’s Office in Seoul District Court to complete incorporation procedures and obtain the Court Registration Certificate (in the Korean language). We will also arrange translated incorporation documents in the English language for our Client.
- Healy Consultants will register the company for tax at the District Tax Office in Seoul and obtain a tax and VAT identification number, and business registration certificate;. We will also secure a company seal. In Korea unlike most other countries, the seal of a company is necessary for all business transactions. Korean banks, customers and suppliers will require it to be affixed to all forms and contracts signed by the company.
- Healy Consultants’ attorney visits a local bank to complete corporate bank account opening without our Client travelling. The account includes world-class multi-currency internet banking facilities in English. A sample of Korean banks we work with include Shinhan Bank, Citibank, Woori bank, and Korea Exchange Bank;
- The bank couriers to our Korean office a company kit including i) bank books ii) logins and password details iii) banking tokens and (when applicable) iv) a USB stick including the “gong gong” license of the business (authentication software required by some Korean banks for the completion of online transfers). Healy Consultants Group activates the online banking facilities then couriers the banking kit to our Client’s preferred address. Our Client will also be required to download several softwares to access the online banking platform and make transactions.
- Incorporation of our Client’s South Korean subsidiary is complete. Healy Consultants provides our Client with a complete company kit including i) original Certificate of Incorporation ii) a bound copy of the government approved Articles of Association iii) original share certificates and iv) an original government receipt as evidence of payment of annual business license fees;
- To support our Client’s South Korea business after incorporation, if required, we may assist with recruiting accountants and company secretary, and sourcing for a permanent local business address in the country;
- Depending on our Client’s business and nationality, the South Korean government may require a special regulatory licence for you to carry on your business in the country. Healy Consultants Group will assist our Client secure licence approval. There may be additional engagement fees for this service.