Today, it is already possible to establish a company for the most part online via service providers such as firma.de. From August 2022, it is expected that it will be possible to form a GmbH (remote formation) entirely online - without the founders having to appear in person at the on-site notary appointment. You can find out more about the upcoming online formation and the new draft law here.
Table of contents
- From when can I use the new online notary procedure?
- What is new about the online notary appointment?
- Which legal forms can I incorporate online?
- Is incorporation still possible at local notaries?
- What steps are required for online incorporation?
- What are the technical requirements for online incorporation?
- Does the online procedure incur additional costs?
- Why was the new law enacted?
- What are the advantages of the notary online procedure for founders?
When can I start using the new online notary procedure?
The introduction is planned for August 1, 2022. As early as February 2021, a draft law for the introduction of a notarial online procedure for GmbH formations was passed by the Federal Cabinet. The new law means that founders no longer have to appear in person for notarization. It will also affect other applications to the commercial and cooperative registers.
How can I establish a UG or GmbH as quickly as possible before August 2022?
Currently, founders still have to do a great deal on their own. In order to implement the formation as efficiently and error-free as possible, they can benefit from a service provider such as firma.de. The team of firma.de accompanies your complete foundation phase up to the successful entry into the commercial register and business registration. In addition, firma.de coordinates and arranges the appointments for the notarial certification of the foundation on-site and the opening of the company account for you. If you also book the express option, your incorporation will be given top priority in processing and can be registered after just 2-3 weeks.
What is new with the online notary appointment for a GmbH formation?
With the upcoming online notary appointment for GmbH formations, it is possible to settle digitally what was previously only possible in person at a notary's office. The most important innovations of such a remote formation are:
- Notary appointment held as online video conference
- Digital identification of the shareholders and managing directors
- Electronic signature of the shareholders and managing directors
In this way, founding teams can register in the commercial register from the comfort of their office and receive advice from the notary via video conference.
Which legal forms can be established online in the future?
According to the draft law, the following registrations in the commercial and cooperative registers will be possible online:
- Corporations (UG, GmbH, etc.)
- Sole traders
Will it still be possible to form a company at local notaries?
Yes. The notarial online procedure is only to be understood as a supplementary offer. The on-site notary appointment can still be used.
What steps are required for the online formation of a GmbH or UG?
- Registration via a free smartphone app
- eID function of the identity card
- Reading out the photo from the chip in the passport/ID card
- Exchange of information and documents with the notary public
- Video conference for notarization
- Signing of the document by electronic signature (provided by the system)
What are the technical requirements for online incorporation?
- Computer (desktop/laptop) with camera and microphone
- Fast and stable internet connection (DSL, LTE, cable, etc.)
- Smartphone capable of reading eID and photo (overview of devices suitable for this purpose).
- Accepted for proof of identity:
- German identity card
- German eID card
- Electronic residence permit with activated online ID function incl. personal
- PIN (more info here)
- Other European eID with security level "high
- The following are accepted for photo-matching:
- Readable passport (CAN procedure)
- Readable official ID card (CAN procedure), e.g. a German ID card of the latest generation.
Will the online procedure incur additional costs?
There are only minor additional costs for "online founders":
- 25 euros per certification procedure
- 8 euros per certification procedure
The other items of the notary fees remain the same and are also fixed by law.
Why was the new law enacted?
The Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection had drafted the "Law on the Implementation of the Digitalization Directive (DiRUG)" with the aim of transposing the requirements of Directive (EU) 2019/1151 into German law.
Also, the digitization initiative will finally make it possible to reduce the time, costs, and administrative effort involved in setting up companies. By enabling the online formation of limited liability companies, Germany wants to catch up with countries like Estonia, which are far ahead in the digitization of public administration.
What are the advantages of the new notary online procedure for company founders?
- Acceleration of numerous company formations (UG, GmbH, etc.)
- No need to appear at a local notary's office
- No need to travel to Germany for international founders
- No dependence on travel restrictions
- Increasing the attractiveness of Germany as a location for founders