Setting up your business in Catalonia

Locate and expand your business in Catalonia, a top European region for FDI attraction

Catalonia encourages the setting up of large, medium and small companies and startups in the region in order to boost up the economy. Foreign investors are welcome, from both EU Member States or non-European countries, and the procedure to set up a business is simple. In addition, there are many options for setting up a business depending on the characteristics and objectives of the investors.

Options for setting up a business in Catalonia

  • The incorporation of a share capital Company is the most usual form of investment in Catalonia and can adopt different legal forms, including the Public Limited Liability Company (S.A.) and the Private Limited Liability Company (S.L.). The new Company has to appoint a representative, who must hold a Spanish national identity card number. If the representative is a foreigner, he or she must apply for a foreigner’s identification number (NIE). 
  • The Branch is a permanent establishment that has certain powers of self-management through which the Parent Company operates in Catalonia. Although it is managed by its Parent Company, the Branch must have a legal representative in Catalonia duly empowered in order to carry out its duties. In general, the requirements, formalities, steps and costs related to establishing a Branch are very similar to those for a subsidiary, with a few differences. 
  • The Representative Office cannot trade and its activities are mainly promotional, coordination, assistance, etc. It has neither a permanent establishment nor legal personality, as it is subject to the status of its Parent Company, which also has unlimited liability for the debts of its Representative Office. Although it is managed by its Parent Company, the Representative Office must have a legal representative in Catalonia duly empowered in order to carry out its duties. 
  • Registering as a Self-Employed is a way to work for an individual who pursues a for-profit economic activity on a regular basis, without being subject to a contract of employment. The self-employed person can open a work centre and register as an employer with the Social Security in order to employ workers. 
  • Associating with local shareholders or other companies already established in Catalonia, obtaining as a result Joint Ventures
  • There are other ways of setting up a business in Catalonia without need to establish a centre of operations in the territory, such as making distribution agreements, operating through an agent or a commission agent, establishing a franchise or having a license agreement.

It takes 20 days to incorporate a new company in Catalonia (€1,500 as an approx. cost), and only a few days are required to register a property

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