General Information Banking
Business Etiquette Tips Embassy Locations and Registration
Employment-Legal Requirements Entry and Exit Requirements
Intellectual Property Legal and Registration of a Business Entity
Safety and Crime Taxes

General Information

BangladeshFormerly known as East Bengal and East Pakistan at different times, Bangladesh is a democratic republic that was formed in 1971 following a civil war that resulted in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) seceding from West Pakistan (now Pakistan). Currently, Bangladesh is a developing country located in South Asia that boasts a substantial garment industry. Other industries include sugar, tea, leather goods, newsprint, pharmaceutical, and fertilizer production.

Relations in recent years between the United States and Bangladesh have experienced significant improvement. The United States provides financial assistance to Bangladesh of $4.3 billion aimed at agricultural development, rural employment, family planning, and health-care concerns.

Major Cities Capital: Dhaka (population 10 million).
Major cities: Chittagong, Khulna, and Rajshahi.
Official Currency Bangladesh's official currency is the Bangladeshi taka (BDT).
Time Zone Standard Time + UTC 6 (or 11 hours ahead of Washington, D.C. during Standard Time).
Language Bangla (official language, also known as Bengali), and English.

Legal System and Government

Type of Legal System

The Bangladeshi legal system is based on English common law. It has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction.

Form of Government

Parliamentary democracy with a president as the head of state.



To check the bona fides of a bank, agent, or customer, U.S. firms should contact one of several Bangladeshi chambers of commerce or business associations.

Available Banking Services

Online banking 
Banking in English
Overdraft protection (not available in all banks)

Typical Documents Required to Open Individual Accounts 

Photocopies of the above documents must be notarized or certified by a reputable bank or notary.

Resident foreign currency deposit account

This account can be opened within one month of return from overseas with funds brought in from abroad as per Bangladesh Bank's guidelines on foreign exchange transactions.

Bank Holidays

New Year's Day
Moharrum (Ashura)
Shahid Dibosh and International
Mother Language Day (Martyr's Day)
Eid-e-Miladunnabi (S) (Prophets Anniversary)
Independence and National Day
Bengali New Year
May Day 
Buddha Purnima
Bank Holiday 
Durga Puja (Bijoya Dashami)
Victory Day 
Christmas Day
Bank Holiday

U.S. and Other Major Banks in Country

The central bank of Bangladesh is known simply as Bangladesh Bank, established in 1971.

Citigroup provides a comprehensive range of financial services including treasury management, transaction services, foreign exchange, and structured finance to corporate clients, governments, and financial institutions.

(Note: Addresses and contact information subject to change.)

Citibank, N.A.
109 Gulshan Avenue
Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh
Phone: 88-02-8833567
Fax: 88-02-9899126


Business Etiquette Tips

Business Attire

Dressing for men tends toward an informal style such as tropical-weight suits or a shirt with tie. Business suits should be worn if calling on government officials. Women typically wear trousers or long skirts, and they are advised to avoid revealing clothing especially when visiting religious places.

Business Negotiations

Always strive to maintain a high level of professionalism and control in all business dealings. Loss of temper or showing of disrespect leads to a loss of face in negotiations. If unsure of a response, ask questions in several ways to verify vague responses. Phrases such as "we will try," "that may be difficult," or "we will have to give that some thought" may really mean this can't be done."

Proper Greetings

Greetings usually take place between members of the same sex, and a handshake is common though they may feel rather limp. Foreign men should nod to a Bangladeshi woman unless she extends her hand. Business etiquette in Bangladesh is reasonably formal. Businessmen should be addressed by the term "Bahadur" ("Sir"), while women may be addressed as "Begum" ("Madam"), which may be used with or without the surname. Wait until your counterpart moves to a first-name basis before doing so.

Public and Social Behavior

Bangladesh is a hierarchical society where people are respected due to age, position, and sex. If you will not be able to meet for dinner, basic rules of etiquette and protocol are to never flatly turn down an invitation and always use indirect language to suggest that it may be difficult such as "I will try."  Meals both inside the house and outside will usually be same sex. Many people eat with their hands and share food from a common dish. Guests are generally served first, then the oldest, continuing in order of seniority. Do not start eating until the oldest person at the table begins. The left hand is considered unclean, so only eat, pass dishes, or drink with the right hand

Scheduling Appointments

There may be an agenda and a starting and ending time, but they only serve as guidelines. Leave plenty of flexibility in your schedule as completing a meeting fully takes priority over time, and it may extend well past the scheduled end time. 


Embassy Locations and Registration

Americans living or traveling in Bangladesh are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department's travel registration Web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Bangladesh.  Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact them in case of emergency. 

(Note: Addresses and contact information subject to change.)

U.S. Embassy in Dhaka
Madani Avenue
Baridhara, Dhaka 1212
Phone: [880] (2) 885-5500
Fax:  [880] (2) 882-4449

Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, D.C.
3510, International Drive NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) - 244 - 0183, 202 244 7248
Fax:  (202) - 244 - 2771/7830


Employment-Legal Requirements

Employee contracts are not a requirement, but employment-offer letters are common. Verbal agreements are also an acceptable method of offering employment. In government organizations and in some private organizations as well, a probationary period exists for skilled or semiskilled workers varying between three to six month. During this period either party may serve a one-month notice for termination from or giving up of the job.

Hiring or Terminating Employees

Unlimited, fixed-term contracts are permitted for the completion of permanent tasks. A standard work week cannot exceed 48 hours per week (eight hours daily at a maximum of six days per week) for full-time employees. If overtime is required, employers are not permitted to exceed a total of 60 hours per week with restrictions placed on women being unable able to work past 8 p.m. 

Terminating Employees

Termination of permanent employees requires severance payment of 30 days of wages for every 12 months of services completed. Additionally, written notice of 60 days up to 120 days may be required depending on the employee's status and length of service.  There are numerous unions in Bangladesh as well, and strikes and sit-ins are fairly common with a high incidence of violence accompanying many of them. 

Legally Mandated Benefits and Leave

Maternity leave - 3 months (generally 6 weeks prior and 6 weeks following delivery)
Sick leave - 14 days
Personal leave - 10 days


Entry and Exit Requirements

A valid visa (with three months remaining validity) is required to enter Bangladesh.  Those who overstay for more than 90 days without the proper visa face the possibility of being charged fines. Employees of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) must also supply an appointment letter from the NGO concerned and confirmation from the NGO Affairs Bureau in Dhaka attesting that an employee is due for arrival. Other work visas require an appointment letter. For additional rules relating to foreign registrations visit the Immigration Bangladesh Police  Web site.

Exit requirements: When traveling by air, there is a departure tax on all foreigners except children under the age of two. This tax is often included when air tickets are purchased. Otherwise it is collected at the airport at the time of departure. Departing foreign nationals are also required to comply and submit an income tax clearance certificate or income tax exemption certificate to local airline offices upon departure from Bangladesh. More information can be obtained from the Bangladesh Board of Revenue's Web site.


Intellectual Property

Bangladesh is a state party to the Universal Copyright Convention for the protection of literary, scientific, and artistic works; the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property; and the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Bangladesh has also been a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since 1985.

Nature of Rights and Available Protection


The protection period for a patent in Bangladesh is 16 years. After four years of the grant of the patent it may be renewed for each year up to its 16th year. The amount of time required for granting a patent or industrial design is 21 months and 9 months, respectively.


The registration grants an exclusive right to the proprietor to use the registered marks for seven years, which may be renewed for further periods of 15 years.


The term for copyright protection in published literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works is the life of the author plus 50 years. Copyright legislation is in the process of being amended. The new draft law includes the extension of copyright protection to computer programs, the recognition of rental rights for computer programs, sound recordings and films, and the recognition of rights of performers, in addition to rights of phonogram producers and broadcasting organizations.


The protection of intellectual property rights can be conducted through several means, namely administrative measures, civil remedies, and criminal sanctions. These include administrative measures such as customs controls, consumer protection measures, and advertising standards. The civil remedies involving infringement disputes, compensation grants, and preventive injunction are initiated by the right owners and the private litigants. For certain infringement cases particularly piracy and counterfeiting, the administrative measures and civil remedies may be not sufficient to stop and deter the infringement, and criminal sanctions will have to be applied to receive full enforcement.


Legal and Registration of a Business Entity

A foreign company is required to deliver these documents to the registrar for registration within one month of the establishment of the place of business: 

Additionally, any foreign firm incorporated outside of Bangladesh must be registered in Bangladesh in order to carry out business.

Forms and additional information for completing incorporation and business registration of all private, public, foreign, societies, and partnership firms can be obtained from the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms in Bangladesh. Firms wishing to open a branch or liaison office must also apply to the Board of Investment.

Registration Formalities (Including Timing)

The World Bank estimates that a month is needed to comply with regulations and complete all the forms required for establishing a legal business presence in Bangladesh.  The seven specific steps as listed on the World Bank's Web site are provided here in concise format: 

  1. Verify online the uniqueness of the proposed company name with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms.
  2. Pay adhesive stamp fees at designated bank.
  3. File documents with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms for registration.
  4. Make a company seal.
  5. Register with the tax authority.
  6. Register for VAT.
  7. Obtain a trade license.

(Source:  The World Bank, Doing Business - Bangladesh)

Below is a listing of additional resources to assist in establishing an office.

Board of Investment

Federation of Bangladesh,  Chamber of Commerce and Industries  (Information on exports and imports)
Ministry of Commerce
 (Oversees all trade and commerce in Bangladesh)

National Board of Revenue

Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms



Safety and Crime

The security situation in Bangladesh may be unstable, and American travelers are urged to check the U.S. State Department for the latest information.

Demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence quickly, so it is recommended that demonstrations be avoided whenever possible. American citizens should stay up-to-date with media coverage of local events and remain aware of their surroundings at all times.  Information regarding demonstrations in Bangladesh can be found on the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka's Web site.

Travelers have been advised against traveling to the Khagrachari, Rangamati, and Bandarban Hill Tracts districts (collectively known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts) in the past due to security threats, including those involving foreign nationals. Foreigners traveling in the Chittagong Hill Tracts are required to register with local authorities.



Under Bangladesh Income Tax Law all sources of income are taxable, which includes all employment income, interest, investment income, and any profits or gains regardless of the source. Bangladesh does have an income tax double-taxation treaty with the United States. The fiscal tax year runs from July to June. Specific tax information can be obtained from the Bangladesh National Board of Revenue's Web site.

Individual and Employee Taxation

Determining Tax Residence

Individuals residing in Bangladesh for 182 days or more in an income year are considered resident for tax purposes. Additionally, individuals present in the country for a total of 365 days during the preceding four years and 90 days of the current year are also considered resident.

Tax rates are slightly lower for senior citizens (70 years and older), disabled individuals, and female employees. 

Nonresident Employees

A flat rate is assessed on all nonresident individuals.

Corporate and Employer Tax Obligations

Income collected or gained by a company doing business in Bangladesh, whether resident or not, is taxable.

NGO Status

As a whole, NGOs are not afforded special tax-exempt status in Bangladesh except in rare instances. (For further assistance with this see the NGO Affairs Bureau located within the Prime Minister's Office.)

To gain tax-exempt status, they must apply to the National Board of Revenue under specific provisions of the Income Tax Act.

Value-added Tax (VAT)

A uniform VAT rate is applicable for both goods and services. Exports are exempt.


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