All information on founding a company

Questions about starting a business in Germany?

Do you have questions about setting up a company in Germany? We know the answer.

  • Where can I get the necessary market information?
  • What type of company is recommended for my project?
  • What legal regulations need to be observed in my field of business?
  • How can I find suitable office, warehouse or production space?
  • How can I find qualified staff?
  • How do I obtain a residence and work permit?

We have specialists for all these questions and, if necessary, external experts will be called in. You should therefore contact your nearest Representative office or the team "International Investments" team at an early stage.

Visa for a business visit to Hamburg

Business travellers from countries outside the European Union often require a visa for a business visit to Germany, which must be applied for at the German embassy or consulate.

Please check whether you need a visa in advance of your trip, e.g. via the information pages of the German Foreign Office, or contact us directly.

For some countries, a business invitation from a company based in Germany must be enclosed. We will be happy to assist you with this.

Health insurance for your stay in Germany

In order to obtain a visa, proof of health insurance for the entire Schengen area is required. You can take out health insurance directly in your home country.

Accommodation in Hamburg

Whether you rent a hotel or a flat for your stay in Hamburg depends on the duration of your visit. We can make a reservation for you.

Necessary documents when founding a company

Which documents are required when founding a company depends on whether the company is to be founded by a natural person or a legal entity.

Natural person:
  • Passport
  • Share capital for the GmbH: EUR 25,000 plus fees
Legal entity:
  • Original extract from the commercial register of the parent company with certified translation
  • Declaration of intent of the owners (shareholders) to establish a company in Hamburg, with the name of the future managing director
  • Possible authorisation of a representative to take over the share capital of the new company if not all shareholders come to Hamburg
  • Share capital for the GmbH: EUR 25,000 plus fees

Legal forms for companies

There is no generally valid statement as to which form of company is best suited to your project and your business start-up. Rather, it must always be based on the needs of each individual case. In most cases, however, the GmbH is the most favourable legal form for foreign company founders. This company form is therefore also chosen by most foreign investors for their establishment in Germany. The main advantage of the GmbH is that the liability of the company is limited to the share capital. This capital amounts to at least EUR 25,000 and must be at least half paid up when the company is founded. The share capital can later be utilised in full to make necessary investments and is therefore not blocked. Every GmbH requires a German business address and is entered in the commercial register.

For companies that have not yet maintained any business relations with Germany, a dependent representative office is often a sensible and above all inexpensive alternative, e.g. to explore the German market. However, it should be noted that no direct business transactions may be concluded, only information and advice may be offered. Legally effective actions may only be carried out by the parent company in the home country.

We will assist you with the necessary formalities.

Parties involved in founding a company

Setting up a company in Germany requires the involvement of various experts. These can be

  • Advice on the legal requirements for doing business in Germany/Hamburg
  • Drafting of articles of association
  • Search for an authorised company name
  • Draft of a management contract
  • If necessary, provisional registered office at the lawyer's address
Tax consultant
  • Advice on tax and commercial law aspects
  • Preparation of an opening balance sheet
  • conclusion of a consultancy agreement if necessary
  • Notarisation of the company formation
  • Application for entry in the Hamburg commercial register
  • Opening a business account for the company
  • Payment of the share capital

We will arrange appointments for the necessary meetings for you.

Office search

Business premises are required to start operating your company in Hamburg. This can be

  • an office
  • a residential office
  • a workplace in a business centre or a co-working space or
  • Commercial premises/space

commercial space. We help you with your search with our property service.

Residence permit

In Germany, there are different types of residence permits, which are differentiated according to the duration of the stay and the intended (business) activity in Germany. These include

Visa (Schengen visa and national visa)

A visa allows people to stay in Germany for a certain period of time. There is both the Schengen visa, which is valid for short-term stays in Germany and other Schengen countries, and the national visa, which is issued for longer stays in Germany.

Residence permit

A residence permit is issued to people who wish to stay in Germany for longer than 90 days. It can be issued for various purposes, such as work, study or family reunification.

Settlement permit:

The settlement permit is an unlimited residence title granted to people who have been living in Germany for a long time and fulfil certain requirements. With the settlement permit, you can settle permanently in Germany and have far-reaching rights.

We will help you with all the steps or put you in touch with the right people to talk to.

The team at the Hamburg Welcome Centre provides free advice on the topics of working, studying, living and family. The staff are happy to answer questions about everyday life in Hamburg and help with information brochures.

Get in touch with us


Stefan Matz

Division management
+49 (0)40 - 22 70 19 - 14

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