Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Some questions come up again and again. We have sorted these into four topical areas and provide you with answers.

Can’t you find an answer to your question? Or do you require more information? In that case we would be only too pleased to help you on the phone or via email!

Questions relating to the Point of Single Contact Berlin

What processes can I actually handle online via the Point of Single Contact?

Here you can find a list of all the procedures that you can take care of online using the Point of Single Contact Berlin:

How much will it cost to use the Point of Single Contact Berlin?

The service provided by the Point of Single Contact Berlin is free of charge.

Regular administrative fees are charged for certain administrative services. A business registration, for instance costs EUR 26.

In some cases, costs can be reduced when the request is handled online. For example, a business registration requested online costs only EUR 15.

Will the Point of Single Contact Berlin help me to find the competent authority / authorities?

Yes, the Point of Single Contact will inform you of the competent authority(ies) for your request and will forward your documents directly on request.

Can the Point of Single Contact Berlin act as an intermediary when several competent authorities decide on a request?

The Point of Single Contact coordinates procedures with the competent authorities in the request submitted by you (for instance, in the case of a business registration for a craft with the Public Order Office and the Berlin Chamber of Skilled Trades).

However, the Point of Single Contact has no influence on the content of the decision.

Questions relating to business / trade / freelance occupation

START - All about registering a new business in Berlin

When do I have to register a business?

A business registration is always necessary if you are opening a new independent business (main branch, branch, dependent branch) with a permanent place of business in Berlin.
This also applies if you move your registered office from another federal state to Berlin.

Who is required to register the business?

  • In the case of a sole trade business, the sole trader
  • In the case of partnerships (GbR, OHG, KG) each of the managing partners
  • In the case of legal entities, the legal representatives (managing directors, board of directors)

In the event of a change in legal form, the business must be deregistered (discontinuation of operations under the old legal form) and then registered anew (for commencement of operations under the new legal form).

A business registration is not required if the requirements according to sec. 6 of the German Trade Regulation Act [GewO] are met.

How can I register a business or trade undertaking in Berlin?

You can easily register your business via our online portal. There are two ways to do this:

Alternatively, you can also submit your business registration personally, by post, fax or e-mail to the Public Order Offices in charge.

Please note! To register with the tax office, you can use the ELSTER online portal. You can find the right tax office for your request here:

How much does a business registration cost?

A business registration costs:

  • EUR 26.00 – for each sole trade, for each member of a partnership
  • EUR 31.00 – legal entity with one legal representative
  • EUR 13.00 – each additional representative of a legal entity
  • EUR 15.00 – electronic procedure (for online handling)

I am requested to state the date on which I began commercial activity. Is is possible to register with retroactive effect?

Yes. Please always state the date when you actually started to operate your business. If the date was a long time ago, you must register, truthfully stating the date in the past when the business started. This date may be a number of years ago – the online procedure allows you to submit your registration retroactively up to 60 months later.

Please note: Failure to register your business when you commence business (usually no later than approx. 4 weeks after the start of operations) is an offence and can be punished by the respective Public Order Office with a fine of up to EUR 1,000.

I want to register a small business. What do I have to do?

Under commercial law, there is no distinction between a so-called small business and a business. A business must always be registered, irrespective of its size.

You can use the online portal of the Point of Single Contact (EA) Berlin to register a business.

I am not the trader of the business to be registered. Can I register the business online as a representative?

Yes, you can. The online portal distinguishes between applicants (who may also be authorised representatives) and the business to be registered and its owners.

The online procedure features an identity declaration in which you declare in a legally binding manner that you are authorised to fill in and submit the business registration form as a representative of the business.

Would you like to register online now?

I would like to register a dependent branch office in Berlin. What do I have to do?

You can register the dependent branch (= additional business premises) via our online portal.

At one point in the system, you will be asked whether you wish to register for a main branch, a branch or a dependent branch. Select the appropriate item here.

Who is responsible for tax registration?

You can submit your tax registration online via the ELSTER portal of the tax authorities or in writing to your local tax office.

Where can I get my tax number?

The tax number is issued by the tax office in charge.

Pursuant to sec. 14 paragraphs 6 seqq. of the German Trade Regulation Act [GewO], the Public Order Office regularly transmits data from the business registration to the public authorities in charge. The tax office will be informed about the establishment of your new business and will usually send you the tax registration form to apply for a tax number approx. 4-6 weeks after the business registration.

However, you do not have to wait for post from the tax office, you can also submit the tax registration at any time online via the ELSTER portal of the tax administration or in writing to your local tax office.

What do I have to consider if I want to start working as a freelancer?

If you want to work in a freelance profession (e.g. catalogue professions, such as a lawyer, tax consultant or artistic, scientific or literary activities of a higher level), then you do not need a business registration.

However, you must register for tax purposes with your local tax office.

The link below provides the forms needed to register the commencement of business with your tax office:

You can enter your postcode here to find the right tax office for your request: You can complete the tax registration online:

I want to register an insurance business. Do I need a licence for this?

The following diagram shows whether your insurance industry is subject to licensing or not:

Use the links below for more information:

I want to operate a food truck / mobile café at different sites and at different times. What kind of business permit do I need?

You will need an itinerant trade card.

You will also have to obtain permission from the owner of the respective site.

If you wish to use a public space, you will need to apply for a special use permit to use public space (office in charge: civil engineering authority in the respective district of Berlin).

MANAGE - Requests relating to an existing company

When do I have to re-register my business?

1. If you want to relocate your business within Berlin.

2. If you want to change or expand the activity pursued by your company.
  • Example of a change: Operating as a travel agency is to be discontinued and the company will continue as a newspaper business.
  • Example of an expansion: Operating as a travel agency is to be continued and will be expanded to include the sale of magazines.

3. If the company moves its registered office to another federal state, the business must be deregistered in Berlin and re-registered with the local trade office in the other federal state (at the new location).

4. You can also (voluntarily) re-register for other reasons. For example, if the name of your company has changed or if you no longer want to carry out certain activities.

How can I re-register a business in Berlin?

You can easily re-register your business via our online portal. There are two ways to do this:

Alternatively, you can also submit your business re-registration personally, by post, fax or e-mail to the Public Order Offices in charge.

How much does it cost to re-register a business?

It generally costs EUR 20 to re-register a business.

Business re-registration via the online portal of the Point of Single Contact Berlin costs EUR 15.

I am supposed to provide the date of my business re-registration. Is it possible to re-register with retroactive effect?

Yes. Please state the date when the change actually occurred. If the date is a long time ago, you must report this truthfully, stating the date when the business changed. This date may be a number of years ago. The online procedure allows you to submit your re-registration retroactively up to 60 months later.

Please note: Failure to re-register your business when the change in business takes place (usually no later than approx. 4 weeks after the change in operations) is an offence and can be punished by the respective Public Order Office with a fine of up to EUR 1,000.

I would like to change my commercial activity, but my place of business will remain the same. Do I have to register this change?

Do I need to re-register my business if I no longer operate my business as a main business but as a side business (or vice versa)?

Pursuant to sec. 14 (1) of the German Trade Regulation Act [GewO], it is not generally necessary to re-register your business in this case. You can inform your local Public Order Office about this change in an informal manner.

If you require proof, it is possible to report the change for a fee as part of business re-registration (EUR 20 regular fee or EUR 15 using the online service). Please use the free text field “Other reasons” and describe your request.

Relocation: I would like to carry out my commercial activity at another place of business in Berlin. What do I have to do?

Relocation: I have moved. Do I have to notify the trade office of my new registered address?

If only your home address has changed, it is not necessary to formally re-register with the Public Order Office responsible for the place of business. You then notify the Public Order Office of your new home address and enclose a copy of the certificate of registration. No fees are charged for this service. The Public Order Office will then change the entry automatically.

If you need a trade licence with your new home address for your documents or for other business transactions, you can apply for this together with re-registration which is subject to a fee. Please use the free text field “Other reasons” and describe your request.

If your home address is also your business address, you will have to formally re-register with the Public Order Office responsible for the place of business.

If your home address, which is also the business address, is located outside Berlin, the business must be de-registered in Berlin and registered where the new business is located.

You can use our online portal to re-register your business:

Relocation: My business is moving from another city / federal state to Berlin. What do I have to do?

You must deregister the business in the other federal state or in the other city and register the business anew in Berlin.

Change in name: The name of my company has changed. How can I notify the trade office in charge of this change in name?

If only the name of the company registered in the commercial register has changed (e.g. GmbH, AG, OHG), it is not necessary to formally re-register with the Public Order Office responsible for the place of business.

All you need to do is to notify the Public Order Office of the changed name and enclose a current excerpt from the Commercial Register. No fees are charged for this service. The public order office will change the entry automatically.

If you need a trade licence with the new company name for your documents or for other business transactions, you can apply for this together with re-registration which is subject to a fee. Please use the free text field “Other reasons” and describe your request.

You can use our online portal for re-registration:

Change in name: I am now married and have a different name. Do I have to report this to the trade office?

If only your name has changed, it is not necessary to formally re-register with the Public Order Office responsible for the place of business.

Notify the Public Order Office of your new name and enclose a copy of the marriage certificate or other proof of your new name. No fees are charged for this service. The Public Order Office will then change the entry automatically.

If you need a trade licence with your new name for your documents or for other business transactions, you can apply for this together with re-registration which is subject to a fee. Please use the free text field “Other reasons” and describe your request.

You can use our online portal for re-registration:

I need a copy of my "trade licence" or confirmation of my business registration, re-registration or deregistration. What do I have to do?

You can get a copy from the Public Order Office where your business is registered (subject to a fee).

Or you can use the electronic business data information service (free of charge for simple information).

Amazon or eBay require from me a new stamped (updated) business registration. What do I do now?

The business registration is generally valid without a signature, seal or stamp and has no expiry date. Business registration confirmation is merely a receipt showing that the trader has duly registered his business.

Please use the eAuskunft service to prove to Amazon, eBay and other services that you are currently still operating the business.
Without having to register, you can search there for your business, make a screenshot and use this as proof. All companies registered in Berlin are stored in eAuskunft and updated on a daily basis.

Should you require a formal letter, you can also apply to the district office responsible for your place of business to obtain business information about your own business (informal written applications are submitted informally in writing to the Public Order Office). This services costs EUR 10.

I need an excerpt from the Trade Register. How can I get one?

Berlin is the first major German city to offer a continuously available online information service from the business register (eAuskunft). You can search freely in the basic data of Berlin-based companies (name, address and activity).

If you need an excerpt from the Federal Central Criminal Register – for instance, to request an (extended) clearance certificate for private purposes, for submission to an authority, or to request information from the Central Trade and Industry Register – you can use the online portal of the Federal Office of Justice.

I would like to apply for a clearance certificate or for an excerpt from the Central Trade and Industry Register for official use. What do I have to do?

CLOSE - All about deregistering a company

When do I have to deregister a business?

You are obliged to deregister your business if you:

  • fully discontinue operation of the business in Berlin or
  • relocate the business to another location outside Berlin, or
  • change the legal form of your company. In this case, the trade is deregistered under the old legal form and then registered under the new one.

How can I deregister a business in Berlin?

You can deregister your business online via our portal.

How much does it cost to deregister a business?

Business deregistration is always free of charge.

I am requested to state the date on which my commercial activity ended or will end, respectively. Is it possible to deregister with retroactive effect?

Yes. Please always state the date when you actually ceased business operations. If the date was a long time ago, you must report this, truthfully stating the date when the business ceased. This may be a number of years ago. The online procedure allows you to submit your deregistration retroactively up to 60 months later.

Please note: Failure to deregister your business when you cease business operations (usually no later than approx. 4 weeks after closing shop) is an offence and can be punished by the respective Public Order Office with a fine of up to EUR 1,000.

One of the owners of our civil-law partnership (GbR) would like to resign. How do I deregister this owner from the partnership?

Start the “Business deregistration” process in our online portal.

Submit the business deregistration as a sole proprietorship stating in the form or by e-mail that the partnership (GbR) will continue to exist or that the partnership will continue as a sole proprietorship (with only one remaining owner). The shareholders who will continue to operate the business do not have to submit any notification.

Questions relating to the online portal

What should I use the online portal for?

You can use our online portal for certain administrative services online. You no longer have to go to different administrations in person in order to settle formalities relating to your profession or company.

You can immediately find out online which forms and documents have to be submitted in your case. In addition, you can fill out forms directly online on the platform and submit them to the administration with one click.

How can I use the online portal? Do I have to register?

Simple business registration:

If you have a credit card or Giropay AND you wish to make a simple1 business registration, you do not have to register and can get started right away.

All other cases:

You must first create a user account with your name, e-mail address, password and security question in order to use the online portal. You will then receive an e-mail with a link to activate your account. Click the link, select the appropriate service and click “Start here”.

1 “Simple” means that the business is not to be registered together with another service (e.g. entry in the Register of Crafts or registration for statutory accident insurance).

How long is the processing time when I use the online portal?

The processing times for the two online processing options offered differ.

  • If you have chosen the procedure with the immediate transfer of the administrative fee, processing will be carried out by the respective Public Order Office as soon as possible after your documents have been received.
  • In all other cases, the respective Public Order Office will first provide you with information on how you can pay the administrative fee.

If you have any questions about the procedure, you can contact the Point of Single Contact by e-mail at ea@senweb.berlin.de or contact your local Public Order Office directly.

What payment options are available?

Simple business registration:

In the case of a simple business registration or business re-registration, you can pay online. At the moment, you can pay by credit card or with Giropay. Work is underway to provide other online payment options.

All other cases (with a user account):

You will receive a document with the necessary information for a bank transfer (bank details, fee amount, etc.) from your local Public Order Office.

1 “Simple” means that the business is not to be registered together with another service (e.g. entry in the Register of Crafts or registration for statutory accident insurance).

What is the purpose of 3D Secure with online credit card payments?

We secure our payment transactions for our online procedures with 3D Secure. This is a procedure that makes payment transactions on the Internet safer and protects your credit card from unauthorised use by third parties.

You must first sign up to use the procedure with your card-issuing bank.

In the case of Mastercard, this solution was previously called “Mastercard Secure Code” and since 2019 is now called “Mastercard Identity Check”.

Visa calls this solution “Verified by Visa”.

During the payment process, your card-issuing bank checks the payment. In some cases, the bank will ask for further information on the payment process via a separate input page. You will then be asked to check it and (if it matches) confirm the credit card payment with your agreed security feature (PIN; SMS TAN, fingerprint…). After that, please complete your business registration process.

Please note:
Due to changes at Mastercard in April 2019, there may be problems with authentication. In this case, please contact your card-issuing bank.

I have received a PIN to retrieve my documents, but the link to retrieve the data is missing. What should I do now?

Two e-mails are sent for each completed process.

The first e-mail contains a download link to a secure system where you will find your trade licence.

The second e-mail contains an 8-digit PIN which must be entered on the download page.

If you only receive one e-mail, first check your spam folder where e-mails often “hide”.

If the e-mail is not there, you can send us a message, stating your date of birth, and we will send you the confirmation. For data protection reasons, we will send this confirmation by post. If you would like to receive the document immediately by e-mail, please state so separately in your e-mail.

Will I receive a separate invoice for the administration fee paid online?

No, a separate invoice will not be issued.

You will find a “payment receipt” at the end of the business registration documents sent in the download procedure.

In addition, the confirmation of business registration also contains a note stating:
“Certificate issued in the EA procedure pursuant to sec. 15 (1) GewO. Fee EUR 15.00 [. ..]”.

I cannot find the request that I am interested in. What can I do?

Is the request you are interested in not listed here?

Then please use our contact form and let us know your request.

How do I get confirmation of my request? / Where can I find the official decision after my case has been closed?

Simple business registration (without a user account):

After processing has been completed, you will receive two e-mails from the Public Order Office. The first e-mail contains a download link to a secure system where you will find your trade licence. The second e-mail contains an 8-digit PIN which must be entered on the download page. As soon as the correct PIN has been entered, you will be able to download your confirmation.

The download link remains valid for 168 days.

All other cases (with a user account):

The authorities in charge will upload the notices intended for you to the online portal once the procedures have been completed. You will also be informed by e-mail.

Log into the online portal via the “Login” menu item (top right of the website to the left of the language selection button), open the case you have created and then download your notice under the menu item “How to proceed, who is responsible?” by clicking the documents.

The notice can be downloaded within 180 days.

Please do not forget to print it out or save it in your personal files, as closed cases are completely deleted from the system after 180 days.

Is my online confirmation valid even without a seal and signature?

The certificate that you receive via our online portal is generated automatically and is valid even without a signature and official seal.

This is a so-called certificate of receipt. The certificate of receipt pursuant to sec. 15 (1) of the Trade Regulation Act [GewO] has no substantive or legal effect.

If you need to prove to third parties that you are currently operating a business, please use the eAuskunft service (free of charge for simple information).

You can get a copy from the Public Order Office where your business is registered (subject to a fee).

The data transmitted to me by the office in charge (e.g. confirmation of business registration) is incorrect? What do I do now?

In this case, please contact the Public Order Office directly responsible for you.

Where can I view or change my personal data?

Only relevant if a user account has been created:

You can view or change your personal data in the service account under the “My account” menu item.

If you have a security-level 2 service account, changes can at present only be made at Bürgeramt Mitte and by personal appointment.

I have received an e-mail with the subject “New message in your case-related mailbox”. Where can I read this e-mail?

Please log into the Berlin service account with your user data.

Click the “Services” menu item and select from the “Single Point of Contact Berlin” list.

Now start the application with the button “Start here” on the right side of the screen.

The case list then opens up that contains the case you created. Click the case to open it.

Under the “Your mailbox for the process” menu item you will then find the message from the administrative office in charge.

The case that I created recently no longer exists (or has been deleted). Why is that?

Only relevant if a user account has been created:

Cases that have not been submitted and for which the retention period (180 days) has expired are automatically removed from the system. You will receive an e-mail in good time informing you that your case is to be deleted. Please start a new case!

Technical questions

The online portal displays an error or fails to reply. What now?

If you encounter technical problems, you can help us to remedy this situation. Please report any problems in as much detail as possible (for instance, using screenshots) to our technical support service.

I did not receive the activation link via email. Why not?

In some exceptional cases, the registration link can end up in the spam or junk mail folder. Please check there first.

If you can’t find the registration link there either, please send an email to our technical support service indicating the e-mail address that is to be registered.

My activation link is not valid anymore. What now?

The activation link becomes invalid as soon as you have successfully activated your account. Either your account has already been activated (please check again) or something has unfortunately gone wrong in the registration process.

Please refer to our technical support service:

I forgot my password. / My password does not work. What can I do?

Please click “Forgot password” under the login mask in the service account. Then enter your user name and click “Next”. You must then answer the security question that you submitted. If your answer is correct, you will receive a link to create a new password. Click the link or copy it into the address bar of your browser. Enter a new password using the mask that opens.

Why is the digital signature in a PDF document signed by the administrative body displayed as invalid by Adobe Reader?

Adobe Reader verification mechanisms are sometimes not sufficient for verifying qualified electronic signatures. The signature of the administrative office employee is however valid and can be verified using the online verification tools of the respective trust centre.

Why is the data of the first company transferred when submitting declarations from several companies?

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