The autonomous branch office (selbständige Zweigniederlassung) fulfills tasks that exceed mere implementation and support-related tasks. It is dependent upon the head office company at the internal level but engages in business activities independently. However, the foreign head office company is liable for the business transactions concluded by the branch.
At the organizational level, autonomous branch offices are to a certain extent independent from the parent company and usually have the following attributes:
An autonomous branch office can use its own name affix but the company name of the head office must also appear including its legal designation (for example: XY Ltd., branch office, Berlin).
The autonomous branch office must be registered in the trade office before business operations are started. A business license or permit is generally not necessary for registering the business. Only for some business sectors, a permit or authorization may be required. Trade office registration must be submitted on commencement of business at the latest.