Any entrepreneur who wishes to start a business in Germany may do so: there are generally no restrictions limiting the establishment of new companies. Nevertheless, establishing a business in Germany requires a sequence of several specific steps from choosing the appropriate legal form for the business to entry in the trade register.
Foreign investors can choose between a variety of legal forms for conducting business in Germany. There is no specific investment legislation in Germany, nor is a minimum percentage of German shareholdings required for foreign entrepreneurs.
Decisive criteria for the choice of legal form are generally the intended function of the shareholders, liability and terms of taxation. Expanding companies often choose to establish a local subsidiary or to register a local branch office. Especially the subsidiary's degree of independence is a major argument for this option. Foreign companies can choose the most suitable legal company form as a corporation or partnership.
There are four major forms of corporations under German law:
Any foreign company with a head office and registered business operations outside of Germany can establish a German branch office. A branch office is a suitable business form for a foreign company wanting to establish a presence in Germany for the purpose of initiating business and maintaining contacts with business partners.
Germany offers numerous incentives for foreign investors.
There is a variety of programs available, designed to fit the needs of diverse economic activities at different stages of the investment process.
Support ranges from cash incentives to labor-related, and incentives for research & development (R&D). Find out how your investment project can benefit from public funding.