October 12, 2021
Because the EU is made up of so many different countries, there is a lot to consider when you want to register a business in Europe. There are some rules that apply to the EU as a whole and others that are different in each country. In this article, we will share as detailed information as possible, but we recommend contacting an expert in your chosen country to ensure that you are complying with all relevant laws and regulations.
First things first - is it necessary to register a business in the EU? The answer is yes, if you would like to conduct business in a European country, you must register the business. If you already have a business and wish to expand operations to a different country within Europe, you can create a European Company. This lets you run your company across the EU using one set of rules as opposed to different rules in each place.
Online businesses follow the same rules as brick and mortar businesses and therefore an online business would need to be registered. Of course an online business can have customers all over the world, so if you are headquartered and registered in the EU that does not limit you from selling in other locations. Just make sure you have a top-notch payment infrastructure like Pay.com’s that can handle payments in different currencies.
Once you have decided that it’s time to register your company, here are the 7 simple steps to follow:
Because the EU is made up of individual countries with their own laws, it is very important that you fully understand what you are getting yourself into when you start a business in a specific country. Because your business must be registered in the country in which it is going to operate, you will want to become familiar with the laws of that country. You may find that it actually makes more financial sense to register and operate in a different country from the one you live in.
Your first step is to review the different rules and regulations and start to get a feel for what might make the most sense for you considering the type of business you are starting, how much income you expect to earn, and how local vs. broad you want your reach and target market to be.
Following are key reasons why or why not you might choose to register your business in each of the following countries:
Once you know in which country you would like to operate, you must choose the type of company you wish to register. Following is a brief description of the different options offered in each EU country:
In whichever country you decide to register your business and whichever type of business you choose to set up, you will need to provide basic information to that country’s Head Office. This information includes a copy of your passport and your contact information including your address, phone number and email.
Most European Union countries have made it very easy to complete the registration process online. Countries each have their own “point of single contact” which is an online portal that gives a potential business owner access to all that is needed to register a business in Europe. This is especially useful if you plan to register your business in a country that is different from where you live, as completing the process online will save you the time and hassle of traveling.
You will need a bank account in the country in which you register the business. Rules are different in each country regarding whether you need to physically be present in order to open an account or if you can do it remotely or via power of attorney. This is something you will have to look into for your specific situation, but opening a bank account is an important step in the process. Having a business bank account will keep your personal finances separate from your business and provide a place for your income to go and from which you can pay business expenses.
Depending on the type of company you are running, you may have some valuable intellectual property that you will want to ensure you protect.
The EU has put out a guideline encouraging all countries to ensure that it costs no more than 100 Euros to register a business. This does not include any business start-up costs, but only the cost of officially registering the business.
It may seem overwhelming to think about the idea of registering a brand new business. But, truth be told, it’s just a little bit of bureaucracy in exchange for a lifetime of entrepreneurial creativity and freedom! Just follow the simple steps laid out for you in this guide and you’ll be on your way.
Yes, whether you are an EU citizen or not, you are welcome to open and operate a business in any European country.
There is no rule against a foreigner opening a company in Europe. However, most European countries do require that anyone who registers a business does have a residency permit in that country. No special visa or work permit is required.
Yes, a company can be registered in two or more countries. This is commonly known as registering a European Company and it means that you can operate in more than one country but follow only one set of rules.
Yes. When you open a European Company, the registered office and head office must be in the same country, with a presence or subsidiaries in other countries.