Getting started

Once you know the operation, we help with the right steps to get started


Setting up a Company

The Company is the most usual form of investment. Spanish legislation establishes the different legal forms of a company, which include the Public Limited Company (S.A.) and the Private Limited Company (S.L.).

In the event that a company (SA/SL) associate is a foreigner they will also have to obtain Foreigners' Identity Number (NIE) from a central-government office and authorisation of the investment from the General Directorate for Trade and Investment run by the Ministry of the Economy.

The total time period for the incorporation of the business is approximately 30 days (apart from any necessary administrative authorisations and registration on the Companies' register).

Establishing a Branch or Representative Office

In contrast to the Public Limited Company or the Private Limited Company, the Branch or Representative Office is not legally independent from the parent company. It is a permanent representative, with a certain degree of administrative autonomy, through which the parent company operates in Catalonia.

The requirements, steps and costs involved in opening a branch/ representative office are very similar to those for the incorporation of a subsidiary, with a few differences: opening a current account, transferring funds and executing the deed of incorporation of the branch / representative office.

Setting up as self-employed

A self-employed worker is an ideal 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 law requires that they are of legal age (18 or over) and have sufficient legal capacity to carry out the activity. If a foreigner wishes to carry out an activity on a self-employed basis, they must obtain a residence and work permit.

The total time period is approximately one week (apart from any necessary administrative authorisations).

Setting up
Download document (pdf)
The total time period for the incorporation of the business is approximately 30 days.

Further information

Please contact us for further information regarding work permits, setting up a business fiscal and labour legislation, environmental issues or any other subject related to foreign investment and not addressed here. 


Passeig de Gràcia, 129
08008 BARCELONA
Tel: (+34) 93 4767287
catalonia@catalonia.com