Starting a Business in


Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Germany. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare Germany to 189 other economies.

  • No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    Check company’s name at the local chamber of industry and commerce

    Agency: Chamber of Industry & Commerce

    To avoid delays with registration, entrepreneurs check availability of company name on the web-page of the Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
    In case of requesting a written consent, it costs EUR 25, oral information over the phone is free of charge.

    Less than one day (online procedure) no charge

    Notarize the Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association

    Agency: Public Notary

    The Bundestag of Germany passed the Act on Modernization of Cost Rules (2. Kostenrechtsmodernisierungsgesetz) on June 27, 2013, which came into force on August 1, 2013. This Act restructured the system of judicial and notarial fees for more transparency and adjusted the costs of notarizing the Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association to the general economic development.

    The updated fees for notaries are contained in table B of sec 34 GNotKG:

    First EUR 500= EUR 15
    Up to EUR 2,000 an increase of EUR 4 for every EUR 500
    Up to EUR 10,000 an increase of EUR 6 for every EUR 1,000
    Up to EUR 25,000 an increase of EUR 8 for every EUR 3,000
    Up to EUR 50,000 an increase of EUR 10 for every EUR 5,000
    Up to EUR 200,000 an increase of EUR 27 for every EUR 15,000
    Up to EUR 500,000 an increase of EUR 50 for every EUR 30,000
    Up to EUR 5,000,000 an increase of EUR 80 for every EUR 50,000
    Up to EUR 10,000,000 an increase of EUR 130 for every EUR 200,000

    1 day EUR 250

    Deposit minimum capital into a bank

    Agency: Bank

    In the case of a GmbH, pursuant to § 7 (2) GmbHG, at least 25 % of the initial capital must be paid-in before registration or, if higher, at least half of the minimum capital, i.e. EUR 12,500.

    1 day no charge

    File the Articles of Association through the notary public at the local Commercial Register

    Agency: Notary Public and Commercial Register

    Notary Public must submit to the Commercial Register by electronic form:
    • application to the commercial register executed by the managing director(s) with the signatures certified by a notary public
    • the notarized articles of association
    • the deed of appointment of the directors, if not included in the incorporation deed
    • a list of the company’s shareholders
    • the assurance by the managing director(s) that the statutory minimum paid-in capital has been paid in to the free disposition of the management; included in application

    Pursuant to the applicable registration laws, the Commercial Register must decide on the company’s registration without undue delay. The Commercial Register publishes the registration on a central electronic platform (www.handelsregister.de) and notifies the local Chamber of Industry and Commerce of the new company.

    3 days EUR 150 (registration fee) + EUR 250 (application for registration)

    Notify the local Office of Business and Standards of the establishment of the company

    Agency: Local Trade Department (Gewerbeamt)

    Certain businesses (e.g., restaurants and brokers) must apply for a trading permit (Gewerbeerlaubnis). However, the permit does not have to be presented at the time of the registration of the GmbH at the commercial register. If no such permit is required, start-up companies must simply notify the local Trade Office, which issues a trading license (Gewerbeschein). This notification procedure also covers registration formalities with the Central Statistical Office, the relevant Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the local Labor Office, the Social Security and Federal Health Insurance Office.

    1 day EUR 31 for the first shareholder
    EUR 13 for each additional shareholder
    * 6

    Register with the Professional Association of the relevant trade

    Agency: Professional Association (Berufsgenossenschaft)

    The professional associations are carriers of occupational accident insurance. Registration must be done within a week of the founding of the business after the notarization of the Articles of Association.

    1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
    * 7

    Notify the local Labor Office of the establishment of the company

    Agency: Local Labor Office

    The notification can be in writing and/or over the phone. The Labor Office assigns an eight-digit operating number, which is needed to report to the Social Security Office.

    1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
    * 8

    Register employees for health and social insurance

    Agency: Social Security Office

    The Social Security and Federal Health Insurance Office notifies the local Labor Office and the annuity insurance carrier (Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund). It also collects payment for mandatory health, unemployment, and annuity insurance.

    1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
    * 9

    Mail out the documentation to the Tax Office

    Agency: Local Tax Office

    Registration must be done within 4 weeks of the opening of the business and not later than a month after the notarization of the Articles of Association. After the Tax Office is notified of the company’s business activity by the Trade Office, the Tax Office sends the company a questionnaire requesting the company’s business data.

    1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.