The German representative office
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What is a representative office in Germany, and how does it work?

Do you want to read more about what activities are allowed within a representative office, and what the limitations regarding commercial operations? Learn about its permitted activities and setup process.

The German representative office

The representative office is the legally dependent representation of a foreign company in the country and is managed by an external and appropriately appointed business person (for example, a sales representative). No commercial activity of the foreign company is carried out.

The representative office is not seen as a commercial enterprise under the German Trade Regulations (GewO). The activity of a representative office is merely for market research, customer/supplier contact management and in a smaller scale, for after-sale service. Activities which might have a commercial background are not permitted. This includes the creation or the passing on of an offer under its own letterhead.

The creation of a representative office is done through the actual process of its establishment. No entry is required in the German commercial register. In the case of companies from non-EU countries however, the representative office is registered with the relevant consumer protection office in Hamburg. At the same time, the residence permit of the representative must be presented.


  • Consultinghouse can support expanding companies in the foundation process
  • Registration to the commercial register and to the local trade office
  • We help to align communications with German authorities
  • We help to stay compliant when doing business in Germany
  • Our cooperation partner Counselhouse  can help to expand companies and reduce the legal risk when creating a permanent establishment in Germany

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