Business Registration

Application, information, and further links.

Application for Business Registration

Anyone who wants to register their business in North Rhine-Westphalia can now do so from the comfort of their sofa: start-ups and entrepreneurs can send their business registrations to the regulatory authorities digitally.

Start-Up Wizard

You would like to establish or make changes to an existing business? With our start-up wizard you can now quickly and easily find all the important information as well as applications.

Requirements for Business Registration

Determining Who Must Register a Business (e.g., Small Businesses, Part-Time Self-Employment):

In essence, every individual engaged in self-employment with the intention of generating profits is obligated to register their business. This requirement applies from the outset of self-employment, irrespective of whether the business is pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. For more detailed insights into registration prerequisites, please consult our FAQ section under "When Must I Register My Business Activity?"

Exemptions from the Duty to Register Commercial Activities:

Exemptions pertain to various circumstances, including freelance activities, primary production endeavors, photovoltaic systems installed on self-owned structures, and one-time activities with no permanent nature. Determining the classification of a freelance profession can be a complex process, typically adjudicated by the tax office. Further distinctions between freelancers and business operators can be found on the startup portal's website. A comprehensive list of exceptions to the trade registration requirement is available in our FAQ section under "What Types of Activities Are Exempt from Trade Advertisement Submission?"

Which Authorities Require Notification or Information?

Upon submission of your trade notice, the Trade Office will disseminate relevant information to entities such as the Chamber of Crafts, Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Register Court, Tax Office, and the Professional Association. Registration for commercial activities automatically confers membership in either the Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Chamber of Crafts. These chambers represent the interests of the German economy. If you plan to hire employees for your business, you must obtain a company number from the Employment Agency and register your employees with the Social Security system. Importantly, a tax number will not be assigned to your business automatically; you must make a separate application for it. Further guidance on this process is available in our FAQ section under "How Do I Apply for My Tax Number/VAT Identification Number?" As an entrepreneur establishing a company, it is imperative to engage with the relevant professional association to ascertain any insurance obligations. Comprehensive details on insurance requirements can be found on the startup portal. An overview of professional associations and their contact information is accessible on the German Legal Accident Insurance (DGUV) website.

Where to Register Your Business

You may initiate your business registration through an online application. Alternatively, it is possible to complete the trade registration process at your local trade or order office. In smaller municipalities, the commercial reporting station is often situated within the Town Hall premises.

Required Documents and Associated Costs

Documentation Requirements:

The specific documents you need to submit depend on your industry, its associated dependencies, and any unique prerequisites. In general, the following documents are typically required:

  • A completed business registration form (available as an online form)
  • Identification document of the applicant (ID card or passport)
  • Residence permit with the indication "Processive Activity Permitted" for applicants from non-European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or Swiss countries
  • If applicable, a current registration confirmation in case the ID document lacks a private address indication

In specific cases, additional documents may be necessary, such as:

  • Certificate of conduct for submission to an authority (Document Type O), which can be obtained locally at your municipal citizens' office or through an online application via the Federal Office of Justice
  • Information from the commercial central register (Document 9), accessible through a local citizens' office or via online application via the Federal Office of Justice
  • For certain artisanal professions, like those within the pipe and sewer construction industry, a specialist examination by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce may be required.
  • If you, as a craftsman, intend to pursue a registered activity (e.g., roofer or mason), detailed information is available on the craft role entry page.
  • If you intend to establish your company under a specific legal structure (e.g., OHG, GmbH), comprehensive information can be found on the business startup page.
  • For activities subject to authorization (e.g., security, taxi, travel), specific requirements must be met.
  • For those planning to operate a restaurant, detailed guidance can be found on the restaurant opening page.
  • If your company falls under the category of those needing supervision (§38(1) GewO), a copy of the notarized company contract may be necessary.
  • If you plan to engage in the sale of high-quality consumer goods or the distribution of building security systems, additional considerations apply.
  • If you aim to provide accommodation services or operate a travel agency, distinct requirements must be met.

To determine whether you require supplementary documents, consult the overview of commercial specialties.


In accordance with Subheading 12.1.3 of the General Fee Tariff within the General Administrative Fee Code of North Rhine-Westphalia, the following fees apply for trade registration:

CategoryFee (Euro)*
For natural persons and authorized representatives of non-legal person partnerships26,00 €
For legal persons, including those representing partnerships33,00 €
For each additional legal representative of legal persons13,00 €
For each further legal representative of legal persons13,00 €

Please note that additional expenses may be incurred when obtaining further documents, such as a certificate of conduct.


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About the portal

The WSP.NRW is the central platform for digital services for tradespeople, liberal professions and cross-border service providers.
More than 400 applications can be submitted easily, quickly and digitally by citizens and entrepreneurs via WSP.NRW.

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