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How to start a business in Denmark

Business incorporation in Denmark is usually an easy and quick procedure, as it can be done online through the Danish Business Authority’s (DBA) website (www.virk.dk). However, all the required documents for incorporation (e.g. business definition, Articles of association, Incorporation document, tax registration, eventual operation permits, etc.) need to be in place prior to registration to DBA.

Written by Carme Pérez Cot and Nicholas Ørum Keller, lawyers at Ret&Råd Glostrup

It is our experience that there are some challenges when it comes to deciding on the right form of business organization, taxation, permits, employment, to name a few. Thus, we normally recommend contacting an experienced lawyer that can help with incorporation and related documentation. 

In this article, we would like to give you an overview of the incorporation process in Denmark.

Click here to read more about Corporate law in Denmark

What you should know:

  • In Denmark, you can register your company and obtain a company identification number (CVR number) online.
  • You need a Civil Register Number (CPR-number) and a digital signature (“NemID”) in order to open a Danish bank account and register your business in Denmark.
  • Registration to the Danish Business Authority (DBA) is mandatory to operate in Denmark.
  • Registration to VAT and other specific registrations may be mandatory, depending on your business’ activities.
  • Registration to DBA costs registration fees, except for the self-employed (fee is 0).
  • The most popular business’ forms in Denmark are private limited liability companies (ApS) and public limited companies (A/S).

Establishment of a Danish subsidiary or branch office

Usually our clients would hold an existing (international) group of companies when entering the Danish market. If your case is similar, we can register your new Danish subsidiary directly with the Danish Business Authority. There are certain AML requirements, but would usually be a rather quick process.

If you need more info on which type of limited liability company you should choose, please read our article “Which company type should I choose in Denmark?”. Let us take care of the practicalities.

If you do not wish to establish an actual limited liability company in Denmark, you have the option of simply registering your non-Danish company directly in Denmark, either as a branch office or representation. 

The first step will be to obtain a Civil Register Number (CPR-number).

Residence and work permit

If the business is not part of a group of companies, and does not have a parent company, you have the option as a foreign natural person, to start a Danish business directly. It is more difficult, but can be done as follows:

The first step, regardless where you are from, will be to obtain a Civil Register Number (CPR-number). A CPR-number is necessary to open a bank account, get a Danish phone number, and pay taxes. Along with you CPR number, you will receive a so-called NemID (“easy-ID”). With the NemID, you can log in and proceed with the registration of your company online. 

With your Nem-ID you can log in and proceed with the registration of your company online.

However, if you are a citizen from outside the Nordic countries, EU/EEA and Switzerland, you will have to apply for a residence and work permit, before you can acquire a CPR number. Be aware that if your idea is to incorporate a startup in Denmark, you should apply for a residence and work permit under the Start-Up Denmark scheme. For your further orientation, you can read more about how to apply for residence and work permit on nyidanmark.dk.  

Business establishment and registration

All types of business formation, including self-employed, have to register to DBA and acquire a company identification number (CVR number).

All types of business formation, including self-employed, have to register with the Danish Business Authority (DBA) and acquire a company identification number (CVR number). Moreover, depending on the business activity, you may also be required to register for VAT and pay-roll withholding taxes with the Danish tax authority (SKAT). 

Depending on the business formation, registration to DBA costs registration fees. Except for self-employed (fee is 0), registration of ApS and A/S is subjected to different fees, from 670 DKK.

There are not restrictions regarding residency of shareholders and management in Denmark.

Based on our experience, limited liability companies are the most common form of business in Denmark. Private limited liability companies (ApS) and public limited companies (A/S) are very popular among foreign investors. The establishment of an ApS requires a minimum share capital of 40.000 DKK, while for A/S the minimum share capital is 400.000 DKK. 

There are no restrictions regarding residency of shareholders and management in Denmark.

You can read more the different forms of business in our article “Which company type should I choose in Denmark?”.

Would you like to hear more about the process of incorporation in Denmark? Contact Carme Pérez Cot at cpc@ret-raad.dk, +45 46304672, or Nicholas Ørum Keller at nik@ret-raad.dk, +45 46304682 !