(a) A foreign professional corporation may apply for a certificate of authority to transact business in this State pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter and Chapter 55 of the General Statutes provided that:
(1) The corporation obtains a certificate of registration from the appropriate licensing board or boards in this State;
(2) With respect to each professional service practiced through the corporation in this State, at least one director and one officer shall be a licensee of the licensing board which regulates the profession in this State;
(3) Each officer, employee, and agent of the corporation who will provide professional services to persons in this State shall be a licensee of the appropriate licensing board in this State;
(4) The corporation shall be subject to the applicable rules and regulations adopted by, and all the disciplinary powers of, the appropriate licensing board or boards in this State;
(5) The corporation's activities in this State shall be limited as provided by G.S. 55B-14; and
(6) The application for certificate of authority, in addition to the requirements of G.S. 55-15-03, shall set forth the personal services to be rendered by the foreign professional corporation and the individual or individuals who will satisfy the requirements of G.S. 55B-16(a)(2) and shall be accompanied by a certification by the appropriate licensing board that each individual is a "licensee" as defined in G.S. 55B-2(2) and by additional certifications as may be required to establish that the corporation is a "foreign professional corporation" as defined in G.S. 55B-16(b).
(b) For purposes of this section, "foreign professional corporation" means a corporation for profit that:
(1) Is incorporated under a law other than the law of this State;
(2) Is incorporated for the purpose of rendering professional services of the type that if rendered in this State would require the obtaining of a license from a licensing board pursuant to the statutory provisions referred to in G.S. 55B-2(6); and
(3) Has as its shareholders only individuals who:
a. Qualify to hold shares of a corporation organized under this Chapter;
b. Are licensed to provide professional services as defined in G.S. 55B-2(6) in a state in which the corporation is incorporated or is authorized to transact business, provided that such professional services are the same as the professional service rendered by the corporation;
c. Are nonlicensed employees of a corporation rendering services of the type defined in Chapters 83A, 89A, 89C, and 89E of the General Statutes, provided that all such nonlicensed employees own no more than one-third of the total issued and outstanding shares of such corporation in the aggregate; or
d. With respect to a professional corporation rendering services under Chapter 93 of the General Statutes, are persons who own not more than forty-nine percent (49%) of the stock in the professional corporation as long as:
1. Individuals who meet the requirements of sub-subdivision a. or b. of this subdivision own and control voting stock that represents at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the votes entitled to be cast in the election of directors of the professional corporation; and
2. All licensees who perform professional services on behalf of the corporation in this State comply with Chapter 93 of the General Statutes and the rules adopted thereunder.
(b1) With respect to a professional corporation rendering services as defined in Chapters 83A, 89A, 89C, and 89E of the General Statutes, an employee retirement plan qualified under section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (or any successor section), is deemed for purposes of this section to be an individual licensee if at least one trustee of the plan is a licensee and all other trustees are licensees or are individuals who are licensed under the laws of a state in which the corporation maintains an office to perform at least one of the professional services, as defined in Chapter 83A, 89A, 89C, or 89E of the General Statutes, rendered by the corporation.
(c) A foreign professional corporation with a valid certificate of authority has the same but no greater rights and privileges as, and is subject to the same duties, restrictions, penalties, and liabilities now or later imposed on, a domestic professional corporation of like character, except that the provisions of G.S. 55B-6 and G.S. 55B-7 do not apply. (1995, c. 351, s. 18; 1997-485, s. 23; 1999-440, s. 2.)