Can a foreigner set up a company in Germany?

As a general rule, not only EU-residents but also a non-EU-residents can set up a company in Germany.

The easiest and most common company type to set up is a GmbH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung), which is the German version of a Ltd.

A GmbH can be optained in two different ways:

  • Establishment of a new company;
  • Purchasing of a shelf-company.

The advantage of buying a shelf-company is that such a company would already have a bank account, which avoids the problems many EU-foreigners are facing when setting up a fresh bank account for their GmbH. Furthermore, it is also usually faster for a non-EU-resident to purchase a shelf-company than to establish a new one.


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Dwyer Legal Law Firm, Schwanthalerstr. 13, Aufgang IV, 80336 Munich
Tel: +49 (0)89 24 88 14 310,

Note: Information provided in this Knowledge Database is for orientation only and not binding.