Procedure for registration of a public organization in Ukraine in 2023
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Registering a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) is a responsible process that requires thorough preparation. With an idea and goal for establishing their own organization, clients often grapple with numerous questions: What are the steps involved in the NGO registration process? What are the most common mistakes when submitting documents for the organization's registration? Should one rely on their own efforts, or is it better to seek help from a professional who will assist in carefully preparing and completing the registration? We are ready to provide answers. In our article, lawyers will discuss all the important aspects of NGO registration and give practical advice to help you smoothly go through all registration stages.
Given the intricate nature of this process, which requires attention to many details, we recommend consulting with us for guidance and support in registering your NGO. With over 11 years of experience in registering and supporting NGOs in Ukraine, we are well aware of all the "pitfalls." With us, you will avoid mistakes and any unforeseen delays. We provide an individual approach to each client, the development of the Charter and organizational structure according to the NGO's purpose, and the prompt resolution of any complex tasks related to not only registration but also the functioning of NGOs.
Stages of Non-Governmental Organization Registration
Typically, the process of registering a Non-Governmental Organization begins with the careful coordination of all the necessary details and the meticulous preparation of registration documents. This initial phase holds significant responsibility, as the successful registration and subsequent operation of the NGO depend on it.
The charter serves as the foundational document that outlines the objectives, rules, and organizational structure of the non-governmental organization. Therefore, it is crucial to first understand the purpose behind registering the NGO and the specific functions it aims to fulfill. To facilitate this, we kindly request you to complete the provided questionnaire.
Once we have gathered the necessary information and clarified all the details, our team of lawyers initiates the registration process for the NGO, which encompasses the following stages:
1) Document Preparation. Our lawyers meticulously prepare a comprehensive set of documents required for the registration of the NGO. This includes the constitution, minutes of the founding assembly, attendance register, information about governing bodies, and a schematic representation of the ownership structure, among other necessary paperwork.
2) Document Signing. Attention to detail is essential during the signing of the documents. Errors in this phase can lead to registration rejections. Some common pitfalls include:
- The schematic representation of the ownership structure being signed by an unauthorized representative.
- The attendance register lacking signatures from the Chairperson and Secretary of the Founding Assembly.
- The minutes failing to include details about the authorized person responsible for submitting the registration documents.
Our lawyers will assist you in avoiding any problems during the NGO registration process.
3) Document Submission for NGO Registration.
4) Waiting for the Result.
Typically, the registration of an NGO takes around three working days.
If the Ministry of Justice raises any concerns, which is quite common, registration may be initially denied. However, such remarks can be addressed by making necessary revisions to the documents and resubmitting them.
The outcome is the successful registration of the NGO in the register of legal entities. We promptly inform our clients about this significant milestone.
6) Registration in the register of non-profit organizations usually occurs automatically within three working days from the date of registration.
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What issues can arise during the registration of a Non-Governmental Organization?
Typically, most problems during the registration process stem from the submitted documents. The Ministry of Justice conducts a thorough review and often provides feedback or raises concerns. Here are some common mistakes to be aware of:
- Non-compliance with Ukrainian legislation: The charter may contain provisions or terminology that do not align with the legal requirements. For example, using terms like "media" instead of the legally recognized term "mass media" until December 2022, even though an NGO has the right to establish media outlets.
- Inaccurate drafting of the minutes from the founding assembly: The minutes may lack crucial information or include details that do not match the charter. For instance, omitting a postal code in the address can be grounds for rejection.
- Incomplete submission of documents: Failure to include all the required documents can lead to complications and potential rejection.
- Missing signatures: Sometimes, founders forget to sign the documents, especially the attendance register. The absence of signatures can result in registration denial.
- Absence of contact information: It is important to provide contact details for governing bodies and authorized individuals responsible for submitting registration documents. This includes phone numbers or other means of communication. Neglecting to include this information or stating its absence can cause issues.
- Incorrect completion of the registration application.
To avoid these problems, it is advisable to seek assistance from legal professionals.
For example, we recently assisted a client who needed to register an NGO. Their desired organizational structure involved a Board of Directors, with the Chairperson serving as the organization's leader and several deputies.
The client's main concern was the ability to attract individuals to the NGO without compromising control. We developed a constitution that met the client's requirements regarding the management structure and also incorporated provisions for engaging "associate members" and granting "honorary member" status.
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What steps should you take after registering a Non-Governmental Organization?
Once you've successfully registered an NGO, it's important to complete the following actions:
1) Obtain a Certificate from the Register of Legal Entities: Typically, you can obtain this certificate within three days of registration. You can collect it from the Ministry of Justice or the local Center for Administrative Services. If we handle your NGO registration, we'll take care of obtaining the certificate for you.
2) Obtain a Certificate of Non-Profit Status: Since most NGOs are registered as non-profit organizations, you'll need to acquire a certificate confirming your non-profit status. There are two options available:
Option А): Submit a request to the tax authority at your organization's registered location and receive a printed certificate within three days.
Option B): After obtaining electronic digital signature (EDS) keys, you can order an electronic certificate through the online portal.
The electronic certificate holds the same legal validity as the printed version. However, some partners may request a printed certificate with an official seal. It's advisable to obtain both formats. This process is free of charge.
Our team of legal experts can assist you in obtaining the Certificate of Non-Profit Status.
3) Open a Bank Account
To facilitate salary payments, collect membership fees, and manage financial transactions, you'll need to open a bank account for your NGO. The choice of bank is up to you. However, it's recommended to seek legal assistance during the account opening process due to the following reasons:
- Banks may require additional documents, such as appointment orders or a detailed description of your organization's activities. These documents need to be accurately and professionally prepared. We've encountered cases where clients attempted to prepare these documents themselves, only to face revisions requested by the bank. In such cases, legal assistance becomes necessary.
- Completing the account application form correctly is crucial. Any errors or omissions may result in further inquiries from the bank, potentially causing delays in account activation. We've had clients who independently completed the form, traveled abroad, and subsequently received additional requests, necessitating their return to amend and resign the documents.
- Certain bank questions may be difficult to answer without legal guidance.
4) Obtain Electronic Digital Signature (EDS) Keys
If you plan to submit reports electronically, you'll need to obtain Electronic Digital Signature (EDS) keys. These keys provide secure authentication and enable you to electronically sign documents. EDS keys can be obtained from specific banks or specialized providers of electronic services.
Legal Assistance for Registering a Non-Governmental Organization
Sure, you could try calling the Ministry of Justice, searching for document templates online, and registering your nonprofit organization yourself. However, without the necessary experience and understanding, you're likely to run into problems when preparing the required paperwork. That's why it's recommended to seek the support of professional lawyers who can:
- Help you understand how to properly draft customized Charter.
- Prepare all the necessary documents.
- Guide you through the registration process.
- Address any remarks or concerns from the Ministry of Justice and make necessary adjustments to the documents.
- Obtain all the required documents.
- Provide additional services.
- Advice on any matters related to non-government organization activities.
If you're planning to register a non-governmental organization or association in Ukraine, feel free to reach out to us! We'll assist you in selecting the best option that suits your needs.