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)!
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.
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.