How to Register a Foreign Company in Australia: A Comprehensive Guide

Foreign enterprises eyeing Australia as their next business destination must adhere to the country’s corporate laws, licensing requirements, and registration procedures to operate legally. MYC Partners simplifies this process by offering end-to-end corporate solutions for your Australian venture.

Australia is renowned for its business-friendly environment. In the 2020 Doing Business Report by the World Bank Group, Australia secured the 14th position among 190 countries. The nation’s appeal lies in its open market, minimal import restrictions, a highly skilled workforce, and abundant natural resources.

How to Register a Foreign Business in Australia

In general, Australian law mandates that foreign enterprises register as Registered Foreign Companies with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Subsequently, foreign entrepreneurs must follow a seven-step process to fully establish their businesses for operations in Australia.

Step 1: Determine Your Business Structure

Before commencing operations, it’s crucial to identify the business entity type that aligns with your needs. Your chosen entity type affects various aspects of your company, including ownership, taxation, regulatory compliance, safety requirements, and personal liability. In Australia, foreign enterprises can select from four available business entity types:

  • Private Limited Liability Company (Pty Ltd)
  • Branch Office
  • Representative Office
  • Shelf Company The choice of business entity impacts taxes, corporate compliance, and other requirements, making it essential to choose wisely.

Step 2: Reserve and Register Your Business Name

Foreign enterprises must reserve and register their business name as an initial step. You can verify the availability of your chosen business name using ASIC’s business name search tool. If the name is available, submit Form 410 (Application for Reservation of a Name) to secure it. ASIC reserves business names for up to two months, so prompt registration is advisable. The application incurs a reservation fee of AU$51.

Step 3: Complete the Necessary Documents for Form 402 Application

As a foreign company, you must complete Form 402 (Application for Registration as a Foreign Company). Before submission, ensure that you include the following documents:

  • Certificate of Registration (dated no more than three months before lodgment with ASIC)
  • A certified copy of the company’s constitution (certified by ASIC, notary public, or a company officer with a certified affidavit)
  • A completed Form 418 (Memorandum of Appointment of Local Agent)
  • A memorandum outlining directors’ powers Once all documents are ready, submit your Form 402 application to ASIC at the specified address. The lodgement cost for foreign company registration is AU$506.

Step 4: Wait for Your Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN)

Upon approval, ASIC issues an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN), a unique nine-digit identifier for your company. This number distinguishes your business under ASIC. Processing and approval usually take up to 28 business days. After receiving your ARBN, you must display it on all public documents, including those published and signed in Australia.

Post-Registration Checklist for Foreign Registered Companies in Australia

In addition to registration and documentation, foreign registered companies in Australia must fulfill post-registration obligations:

1. Appointment of a Local Agent

Australian law mandates that registered foreign companies appoint a local agent to handle their affairs. The local agent is responsible for ensuring the company complies with the Corporations Act and can be personally liable for penalties imposed on the foreign company. Form 418 (Memorandum of Appointment of Local Agent) is used for appointing, replacing, or changing local agents.

2. Proper Display of Company Name and ARBN

Companies must prominently display their name outside every office and place of business in Australia. Additionally, they must display their place of origin, “registered office,” and use “Limited” or “Ltd” if applicable. The ARBN must also be displayed on all public documents.

3. Lodging of Financial Statements

Foreign companies must submit annual financial statements in Australia. These statements include a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, Form 405 (Statement to Verify Financial Statements of a Foreign Company), and other required documents based on local regulations. The lodgement fee is AU$1260. Enterprises exempt from Form 405 can submit Form 406 (Annual Return of a Foreign Company) for the same fee.

Streamlining Your Company Incorporation Process in Australia

Expanding your business to Australia offers numerous advantages. MYC Partners boasts regional and in-country teams ready to support your incorporation journey in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region.


This article is intended to provide general information only and does not constitute financial advice. Every effort has been made to ensure the information provided is accurate, but it should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice. Please consult with a financial advisor before making any decisions regarding your cash flow management. The author and the website are not liable for any losses or damages that may arise from using this information.

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