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Company foundation and legal forms

Founding a company in Germany is easy. Foreign investors have the opportunity to set up a non-independent branch in Germany and thus to begin company operations in Germany right away.They can found subsidiaries and, in doing so, choose between all company forms, just like German businesspeople. Crucial criteria in this decision often include the desired role of the shareholders, possible limitations of liability and tax-related aspects. There are two fundamental types of company under German law – joint-stock companies and partnerships. Each has multiple sub-forms with specific advantages.



10 steps for setting up a branch or company
Contact Invest in Bavaria We are here to provide information to investors that are important for their planning and support them in implementing investments in an uncomplicated and expedient manner. One call and we will be with you every step of the way in founding your branch or company.
Schritt 1
Create a business plan A business plan is the short profile of your planned business activities. This profile serves us in arranging an optimal support for you. In Bavaria, it is the key to many advantages, such as contacts to experts or funding programmes.
Schritt 2
Choose the right legal form There are a variety of different legal forms available for your newly founded branch or company from which you can choose depending on your business objective.
Schritt 3
Open a bank account Branches and companies must have their own bank account in Germany. Opening a bank account entails no great bureaucratic effort, as it is done in accordance with current international practices.
Schritt 4
Provide the necessary documents for the company foundation Which documents and evidence are necessary depends on the company's legal form. Our employees will be happy to send you detailed checklists for the legal form of your choice and a list of lawyers who can provide legal counsel.
Schritt 5
Select the right experts and partners When founding a branch or company in Germany, it is advisable to include various experts in the process. We are happy to provide contacts to suitable lawyers, tax consultants, solicitors and other experts for your investment project.
Schritt 6
Register in the trade registry The basic information on registered companies (name and location of the company, authorised representatives, legal form as well as stock or share capital) in Germany is held in the German trade registry. The trade registry is a reliable instrument for creating legal security and transparency for companies.
Schritt 7
Find suitable business and commercial premises Invest in Bavaria provides the Site Information System Bavaria (SISBY), one of Europe's most innovative instruments for location research, for your search for commercial sites in Bavaria. Invest in Bavaria will be happy to assist you in searching for a site.
Schritt 8
Apply for a residency permit In many cases, non-EU citizens require a visa for longer stays. The German embassy or consulate in your home country will provide the necessary documents (application and company profile).
Schritt 9
Begin business activities In some cases, you may be able to start your business activities even while you are still founding your branch or company in Bavaria and thus create the foundation for a successful start. You can be sure of Invest in Bavaria's support in all practical matters of founding a branch or company.

More information

Germany Trade & Invest is the Federal Republic of Germany's society for foreign trade and location marketing.

Gründerland.Bayern is an information portal for company foundations in Bavaria

The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Technology operates a range of different foundation portals with extensive information, including the business set-up portal and the female entrepreneurs' portal.

Entrepreneurs can also find more information at Work in Bavaria.

Your contact


We are there for you locally, worldwide

Are you looking for a new company location? We provide you with all the important information and top support for your investment project. Our representative supports you locally in your national language. In addition, our contact in Bavaria is happy to advise you, too. Our service is free and confidential.
Jan Danisman 1540 Broadway 24th Floor 10036 New York +1 212 317-0588
Antonia Zierer 388 Market Street, Suite 1050 94111 San Francisco +1 415 362-1001
Christian Gnam Prinzregentenstr. 22 80538 München +49 89 24210-7506