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The establishment of a subsidiary is the preferred way to set up a company in Germany, as it is a genuine and legally independent company under German law. It is the most advanced form of establishment for carrying out the economic activity with a strong grip on the German market, due to the fact that it has a legal structure the Germans know, which is reassuring to them.

Here are the 7 steps we have compiled to help you set up your subsidiary in Germany:

1) Getting an address/ business domiciliation in Germany

The first thing to do is to have an address or a business domiciliation in Germany, before taking any steps in the country, to be able to start the process of creating a subsidiary.

2) Selecting the right legal form

German company law offers different legal structures for setting up a German subsidiary, which enables you to choose one depending on your business purposes.

Here are the main types of companies in Germany:

3) Confirm the name of your company with the commercial register (Unternehmensregister)

You must make sure that you can use the name of the company you want. Thanks to the Unternehmensregister website, you can easily and quickly search for already registered company names and check that yours is unique.

4) Open a bank account

You must then open your own bank account in Germany. Opening a bank account does not involve a lot of red tapes, as it is done in accordance with standard international practice. Many German banks allow you to set up accounts online, which means you can do this step remotely – but be aware that most bank websites will be entirely in German. Make sure you provide proof of your identity – this can be done at your local post office, or you can ask a notary or lawyer to help you check your identity.

You can also make your request by going to the bank in person. In this case, you or your representative may be asked to present your passport or identity card, as well as a Meldebescheinigung (“certificate of registration” – your proof of residence in Germany).

5) Provide the necessary documents for setting up a business

The legal form of the company determines the necessary documents and evidence. In all cases, the following administrative formalities must be carried out:

It should be noted that there are certain sectors of activity in Germany for which specific authorization is required (e.g. transports, estate agencies, surveillance companies, etc.). The Gewerbeamt is likely to indicate any additional steps to be taken. 

6) Registration in the Commercial Register of the lower regional court (Amtsgericht)

Next step: Your entry in the Commercial Register of the lower regional court (Amtsgericht).

You must submit your documents to the Commercial Register through the notary. If the essential information about your registered company (company name and registered office, authorized representatives, legal form, as well as share capital or shares) is accepted, your new company will be published on the Handelsregister website.

The final step is to register your new business with the local tax office within four weeks of opening and within one month of certification of the articles of association by a notary.

7)  Registering with the tax office

You now know the key steps to setting up your subsidiary!

ALTIOS is always at your disposal to guide you through all the steps involved in setting up a new German company or expanding an existing one. We will be happy to put you in touch with the appropriate lawyers, tax advisors, attorneys, and other experts needed to realize your investment project.

Please do not hesitate to call us on +49 (0)69 24 74 102 – 14 or contact our business developer Juliette Cabot at