The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Business in Germany: The only resource you’ll ever need

This is your ultimate resource for starting and running your own business in Germany. Each chapter contains an overview of the major business types (legal forms/structures). These overviews then link to more in-depth information on the individual business type.


We’ve helped launch over 15,000 companies in Germany and we’ve seen everything that can go wrong. We can show you how to get it right.


Your ultimate guide to starting a business in Germany

The chapters below cover each stage you’ll have to go through as an international founder wanting to set up a business in Germany.

The first chapter asks the most important question: Do you have the right legal status to start a business in Germany? If you are unsure start from Chapter 1. (Of course, if you’re an EU national etc. you can skip this part.)

After that selecting the right legal form for your business is the next most important thing. Then it’s time to battle it out with German bureaucracy, which includes, of course, lots of paperwork.

Each chapter links to everything you could possibly need to know about starting a business in Germany.

Viel Erfolg (good luck)!

Want to go straight to a roadmap on how to incorporate a GmbH/UG? ➡ We’ve got you covered.

Chapter 1: Business visas, residence & work permits

If you’re from what’s called a “third country” you have to get the right business visa, residence permit and work permit before you can do anything else.


Chapter 2: Business legal forms in Germany

How you legally structure your business will affect your personal liability and what taxes you have to pay. In this chapter familiarise yourself with the specifics of each major legal form in Germany, including weighing the pros and cons.


Chapter 3: Preparing to start a business

Laying down a strong foundation for your business depends on the pre-formation phase. Most importantly make sure you can open a business bank account with your passport – sometimes this can be a roadblock.


Chapter 4: Forming a business in Germany

How many steps (mostly registrations) in a business formation process depends on its legal form. Incorporating a company such as a GmbH or UG naturally comes with the most red tape.



Chapter 5: Post formation

After you’ve made your business official the bureaucracy keeps coming. This section covers all the necessary registrations, setting up accounting systems etc. you have to get done.



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Andreas Munck

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Want to skip the reading & just talk to a human?

  • Startup expert
  • 10+ years experience

Hi, I’m Andreas and I’ve been advising businesses in Germany for over a decade. I’d be happy to call you and answer any questions you have in a one-on-one consultation.



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The Master list of all Company Formation articles can be found here.

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