Branches of foreign companies

In principle, all foreign businesses can establish a branch in Austria as long as they are recorded in the Companies Register or a comparable register in their home country.

The establishment of a branch enables foreign legal entities to create an independent organisational unit in Austria to participate in the Austrian market and also to obtain a licence to trade.

Branches do not have their own legal personality; the legal entity is the natural or legal entity of the main establishment.

Please note

In the case of foreign companies with their registered office, head office or principal place of business in an EU/EEA state, the requirement to appoint a permanent representative with habitual residence in Austria does not apply to the branch in Austria.

Companies Register

The name of the branch of a foreign company in Austria must, in principle, contain the name of the legal entity of the main establishment or the registered office abroad. In addition, it is permissible to refer to the capacity as a branch (e.g.  Austrian branch).

The branch of a foreign business in Austria must be filed for entry in the Companies Register by the body authorised to represent the business. The competent Companies Register Court is the regional court responsible for the branch ( BMJ)German text, in Vienna the Commercial Court Vienna ( BMJ)German text, in Graz the Regional Court for Civil Matters Graz ( BMJ)German text.

The application to the Companies Register Court, signed by the authorised representative body and certified by a court or a cicil law notary, must contain the following information

  • A certificate that the branch has actually been established
  • Name of the branch
  • Location
  • The relevant business address for service of documents
  • Certified specimen signatures of the representative bodies of the foreign business
  • Decision on the establishment of the branch in Austria
  • Activities of the branch
  • Specific circumstances of the legal entity
  • Proof that the foreign company exists in the home country (certified excerpt from the Companies Register or Register)
  • Certified and translated partnership agreement or Articles of association of the foreign company
  • Clearance certificate issued by the tax office
  • In addition, for businesses with their principal place of business or registered office outside the EU/EEA area: proof that the foreign company regularly conducts business activities in the home country and specimen signatures of the permanent representative of the branch.

Business licence

When carrying out a commercial activity (→ oesterreich.gv.at), the branch requires a licence to trade issued by the trade authority at the location of the branch in Austria. In principle, a manager pursuant to trade law must be appointed who fulfils all the requirements for exercising commercial business under Austrian law.

Legal basis

Translated by the Federal Ministry of Justice
Last update: 18 June 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Justice