How to Incorporate a Company in Germany

jessica holzbach
July 18, 2017

A guide for how to open/form/incorporate a company in Germany and a list of notaries that can help.

Starting your dream startup? Need to incorporate and open a GmbH, UG, business in Germany?

Don’t worry! You’re in the right place.

You need to book an appointment with a notary and set up two things in advance:

  1. A shareholders agreement contract
  2. A business banking account with a balance statement of the share equity (UG>1€; GmbH: 25.000€). However, it is worth mentioning that currently, a lot of banks require you to be incorporated already in order to open the account. It is a bit of a chicken-egg problem and means that you have to go back- and- forth between your notary and banking provider. This will luckily change soon with Penta.

During your appointment, the shareholders agreement will be read out to all attending shareholders and signed afterwards. The notary testifies these signatures, prepares a shareholders list with share distribution (cap table) and sets up some other formal paperwork. Afterwards the notary announces the formation of the company to the commercial register (Handelsregister), operated by the local district court. They will need a couple of days to process the claim and during this process the company operates under the name i.G. (in formation).

You do not necessarily need a lawyer to help you with the legal documents to incorporate your new business, but depending on the complexity it might be well worth it.

Here’s a list of notaries in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt that you can contact to help you open a business. Are you in a different German city? Click here for a full list of all the notaries in Germany.

Here you go:

Berlin Notaries (893 offices)

Frankfurt am Main and Frankfurt notary offices (312 offices in total)

Hamburg notary offices (78 offices)

Munich notary offices (80 offices)

Alternatively, you can also pay a company like to help you through the whole process or incorporating.

jessica holzbach
Head of Customer Relations

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