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Overview of the New Registration of Associations Law (Myanmar)

NO&T Asia Legal Review

Win Shwe Yi Htun
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
Journal /
NO&T Asia Legal Review No.54 (December, 2022)
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*Please note that this newsletter is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. In addition, it is based on information as of its date of publication and does not reflect information after such date. In particular, please also note that preliminary reports in this newsletter may differ from current interpretations and practice depending on the nature of the report.


On 28 October 2022, the State Administration Council enacted the Registration of Associations Law 2022 (“RAL 2022”) by Notification No.46/2022, which replaces and repeals the Registration of Association Law 2014 (“RAL 2014”). The RAL 2022 establishes the revised legal framework for the registration of local non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”) and international non-governmental organizations (“INGOs”). The objectives of the RAL 2022 are to implement a system in respect of the registration of organizations, get support from the relevant government ministries and recognize the activities of the organization as being benefit for the State and citizens. NGOs and INGOs registered under the RAL 2022 are given the lists of rights, among others, the right to receive grants, funds and donations from local and international organizations, the right to sue and be sued, the right to open bank accounts, and the right to possess moveable and immoveable property in accordance with the law.

A summary of the provisions of the RAL 2022 is provided below:

1. Definition of NGO and INGO

The RAL 2022 provides the definition of NGO and INGO. NGO is defined as “a non-governmental organization registered under this law, formed by 5 or more citizens to carry out non-profit social activities for the benefit of the State and citizens in keeping with the rights in the Constitution. This expression includes branches opened with the permission of the relevant registration board”.

INGO is defined as “an organization legally established in a foreign country, registered as an international non-governmental organization under this law with the Union Registration Board, with at least 40% of its executive members being Myanmar nationals, in order to carry out non-profit social activities in the State. This expression also includes branches opened in the State with the approval of the Union Registration Board”. It should be noted that executive committees of INGOs are required to include at least 40% Myanmar citizens as per the definition of INGO in the RAL 2022, while no such requirement was specified under the RAL 2014.

2. Unregistered and existing organizations

Under the RAL 2022, if the unregistered NGOs and INGOs formed before the enforcement of the RAL 2022 wish to continue operations, they must apply for registration within 60days from the date on which the RAL 2022 was enacted (i.e., by 27 December 2022).

The existing NGOs and INGOs formed and registered under the RAL 2014 may continue to operate until their registration certificate expires, provided that they are in compliance with the provisions under the RAL 2022. If they wish to continue operating thereafter, they must reapply for a registration certificate under the RAL 2022. Notably, RAL 2022 does not provide a grace period for existing NGOs and INGOs who certificate of registration under the RAL 2014 has expired.

3. Organizations exempt from registration

The RAL 2022 provides that the following organizations are exempt from applying for registration:

  • (a) Organizations that work directly or indirectly on religious, faith, economic and political issues in accordance with any existing law;
  • (b) Political parties that must apply to the Union Election Commission under the Political Parties Registration Law;
  • (c) Organizations established under any existing law; and
  • (d) Committees or organizations formed by government departments at the Union, Regional, State, or Union Territory level.

4. Registration requirements for organizations

The NGOs and INGOs who wish to register under the RAL 2022 are required to submit, among others, an organization name; the names of organization’s head; the location and address; the number of executive committee members and the members of the organization; a constitution of the organization; the objective of the organization; a recommendation from the relevant government department related to the operations and objectives of the organization; and an undertaking to comply with existing Myanmar laws.

Under the RAL 2022, INGOs registration require submission of additional documents such as proof of establishment in the country of origin; an additional recommendation from the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations and the Ministry of Immigration and Population; a specification of the source of funds to be used for operations; opinion remarks letter of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and a draft memorandum of understanding.

After submitting the required documents, the relevant registration board will issue a temporary registration certificate to the NGOs and INGOs within 21 days from the date of application. And then the relevant registration board will issue the registration certificate within 30 days from the date of the decision if it decides to allow the registration. The registration certificate of NGOs and INGOs issued under the RAL 2022 will be valid for 5 years from the date of the approval by the relevant registration body. In the event the application is rejected, the NGOs or INGOs may amend the initial application for resubmission within 30 days from the date of rejection. If the resubmission is again rejected, the decision will be final and cannot be appealed.

5. Obligations to report

NGOs and INGOs that have obtained a registration certificate under the RAL 2022 are required to submit an annual report to the relevant registration board within 60 days after the end of December each year together with a copy of the report to the relevant ministry that issued the recommendation. In addition to the submission of annual report, NGOs and INGOs are required to submit a quarterly report on their activities to the relevant Township General Administration Department.

Failure to submit an annual report for five continuous years shall cause the relevant NGO or INGO to be considered as a non-existing association. The INGO may however apply for a registration certificate anew.

6. Approval requirements

The RAL 2022 provides for various approval requirements for NGOs and INGOs. NGOs and INGOs that wish to apply for change of name, address of the organization or change of executive members or change or expand the objectives and activities stated at the time of approval, must make a submission to the relevant registration board to obtain approval together with the recommendations from the relevant ministry that issued the recommendation which concerned with the objectives and activities of the NGO/INGO.

NGOs or INGOs that want to carry out emergency assistance in an area declared by the State as a natural disaster area in accordance with the Natural Disaster Management Law 2013 must obtain approval and cooperation from the local administration, stating the quantity of funds and goods to be donated, the estimated value of these items, and the activities to be carried out.

7. Penalties

The RAL 2022 provides the administrative penalties that may be imposed on the organizations who fail to comply with the obligations. These penalties include a warning, limitation of activities for a specified period of time, temporary suspension and revocation of registration certificates.

Moreover, the RAL 2022 provides that officer in charge of the NGOs and INGOs (chairman, secretary or executive members) who fails to comply with the prohibitions under the RAL 2022 will be liable to serve a term of imprisonment ranging from 2 years to 5 years or subject to a fine ranging from 500,000 Kyats to 5,000,000 Kyats (SGD 323 to SGD 3,234) or both.


The RAL 2022 introduces comprehensive provisions regarding registration, obligations, prohibitions and penalties for NGOs and INGOs. NGOs and INGOs operating in Myanmar must pay attention to the provisions of the RAL 2022 and immediately apply for registration in case they are unregistered or their registration under the RAL 2014 has expired or is about to expire.

This newsletter is given as general information for reference purposes only and therefore does not constitute our firm’s legal advice. Any opinion stated in this newsletter is a personal view of the author(s) and not our firm’s official view. For any specific matter or legal issue, please do not rely on this newsletter but make sure to consult a legal adviser. We would be delighted to answer your questions, if any.

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