Guidance for UK businesses on rules for selling services to Germany.
Read this page in combination with the general guidance for the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The authoritative source for German market regulations is the German government. This guidance links to official German sources wherever possible.
Trade and services regulations in Germany
If you’re a UK business offering services in Germany, you need to follow regulations about:
- getting an authorisation or a licence to provide a service
- complying with local business regulations
- EEA nationality requirements which could prevent you from providing services in some sectors
Use the Recognition in Germany portal to:
- find out about providing services in Germany
- understand local regulations
- complete any relevant administrative procedures online
Consider appointing an English-speaking lawyer in Germany to help you comply with specific regulations. You can also contact your local chamber of commerce for advice.
To find out if EEA nationality requirements apply to you, contact the appropriate competent authority or the German Federal Foreign Office.
To sell or provide services to customers in Germany, you must follow local laws. If in doubt, you should get professional advice.
Reservations are part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. They reserve the right of each party to keep or make new laws restricting investment, or the sale of services, in ways that would otherwise breach the rules in the agreement.
Check which reservations apply to the sale of services from the UK to Germany. This includes an interactive tool to find reservations that are already in place.
VAT on sales of digital services
To use the UK’s VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) to declare sales of digital services to EU consumers, businesses need to register for MOSS in an EU member state.
Find out more about paying VAT on sales of digital services.
Ownership of companies registered in Germany
If you have a UK business, you might face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or direct a registered company in Germany or any other EEA country.
For information about setting up and running a business in Germany, please visit Germany Trade & Invest.
Read more about this in our guidance relating to the EEA and Switzerland.
Ownership of legal firms in Germany
UK legal professionals who have investments in law firms in Germany should contact the Germany Federal Bar Association (site in German) for information on what implications are for your investment.
Business travel and entry requirements
UK business travellers and service providers may need a visa, work permit or other documentation.
Check our travel to Germany for work guide for detailed information on:
- types of visa and work permit routes available
- exemptions that may apply to you or the activity you are planning to undertake
- visas including intra-corporate transfers
- work and residence permits
- supporting documentation
- other conditions
Check which actions travellers visiting Europe need to take.
Social security payments for employees
Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Germany.
Recognition of professional qualifications
To check what you need to do in Germany, read our guidance on professional qualifications in the EEA and Switzerland
If you need to take action to secure the recognition of your professional qualification in Germany, these sources can help you:
- German NARIC, the information centre for the recognition of professional qualifications
- the German single point of contact, iXPOS
- the German portal for regulated professions
The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UK CPQ) provides practical assistance and advice to:
- professionals who qualified overseas and are interested in working in the UK
- UK professionals seeking to practise overseas
UK statutory auditors working in Germany
For UK statutory auditors, the German Chamber of Public Accountants should be able to provide further information.
UK lawyers working in Germany
If you’re a UK-qualified lawyer working in Germany, using either a German professional title or a UK professional title, you should contact the local German Bar association (site in German) in the region in which you are working or the Germany Federal Bar Association (site in German) for specific advice.
Data transfer and GDPR
As part of the wider UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the free flow of personal data from the EEA to the UK will continue after 1 January 2021 for no longer than 6 months, until adequacy decisions come into effect.
As a sensible precaution during this 6 month period, it is recommended that you work with EEA organisations who transfer personal data to you to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms to safeguard against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data.
Read guidance on using data in your personal business or other organisation.