Opening a branch in Germany is an option created for the entrepreneurs that wish to have a representative here, but without free liberty of action. A German branch is not considered a legal entity so the liability for its actions is taken by the foreign company. The name must be the same as the one of the foreign company, except that it has the termination “German division”.
Foreign businessmen who want to extend their commercial activities in the country, must know that they can set up a business in Germany by establishing a branch office of their main company.
There are two types of branches (Niederlassung) that are available for registration in Germany are: the independent branch office (Zweigniedelassung) or the operational location (Betriebsstatte). The last one is often called depended branch office.
The independent branch office is part of the foreign company but it can keep its own accounts. The activities of this type of branch cannot be different from the ones of the foreign company.
Special licenses are necessary only in a few sectors of activities such as banking, investments, insurance, restaurants, transportation or telecommunication.
The dependent branch office established in Germany is separated from the headquarter only by its location. Its actions are unified with the ones of the foreign company and cannot perform any activity independently.
Just like any form of business, it’s necessary to register the German branch in the commercial register (Handelsregister) before performing any activities. As a result, the branch receives its own commercial register number, its own registration location and it is designated to a jurisdiction.
The necessary documents for opening a branch in Germany are the following:
The application for registration of the German branch must be signed by the foreign company’s representative in front of a notary and all the documents must be accompanied by an authorized German translation.
If several branches are opened, the applicant can select the commercial register of one district and send all the above documents for registration.
The Trade Supervision Office must also receive:
For any other question you might have in regards to the establishment of a German branch for your business, please feel free to contact our local company formation specialists. We are specialized in offering qualified consultancy for foreign investors interested in setting up a company in Germany.