CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - C-Suite Advisory - How to obtain business licenses for your company abroad?

C-Suite Advisory

How to obtain business licenses for your company abroad?

Starting a business in another country implies the completion of several procedures which can take more or less time depending on that state’s legislation. Nevertheless, more and more countries have started to reduce the legal period between the start of the company registration process and the launch of the economic activity.

Among these countries, China and the UAE are some of the most modern states when it comes to the reduction of time spent for registering a company, while in Europe, Estonia and Italy are some of the countries which have registered real progress in regard to the same aspect.

One of the most important aspects of opening a company abroad is the licensing phase. The new company must obtain one or more licenses, depending on its activities. Once more, the business licensing phase will depend on the country where the company operates in. The business licensing process will also depend on the type of structure used for doing business.

Ways of obtaining a business license

There are countries which issue business licenses during the incorporation phase. For example, when opening a company in Dubai, the business licensing and incorporation procedures are completed at the same time.

Other countries will treat the business licensing procedure as a different phase during the incorporation procedure. However, there are also countries which issue the business permit once the company registration process is completed.

What does the business licensing process implies in a foreign country?

Many businessmen think that foreigners are subject to stricter conditions when it comes to opening a company in a certain country. In fact, the number of countries which offer friendly conditions to foreign entrepreneurs has increased significantly in the past few years.

Back to obtaining the business permit, it is worth mentioning that the procedure itself is not complicated, but can be lengthy depending on the industry the company will operate in. For example, in the financial sector it is understandable for the authorities to perform various checks of the new company before issuing a business license.

The documentation needed to obtain a business license will once again depend on the economic sector of the company. If one wants to set up a company in China, for instance, he/she could be subject to more paperwork. Generally, the documents required when applying for a business permit imply the company’s incorporation papers, the registration certificate and specific forms required by the authority in charge of issuing the license.

An important aspect to consider is that many countries have created online systems for obtaining business licenses, therefore simplifying this procedure as much as possible.

Types of business licenses 

We mentioned earlier that some countries, such as the UAE, issue the business permits once the company is registered, however there are countries which treat this procedure separately. This last type of licensing procedure is usually met in Europe. Starting a company in Italy is a good example in this sense. So, one could also ask for some assistance in this case, and an Italian lawyer could be of great help.

When it comes to the business licenses, these can be ordinary permits, such as the business license issued by the Trade Register or licenses issued by the municipal authorities. The latter can imply townhall licenses and fire safety authorizations. These are standard licenses, therefore foreigners opening companies in other countries will need to apply for them no matter the field of activity.

Apart from these common licenses, there are special business permits which are issued, as mentioned above, by specific authorities. The best examples are the licenses required when operating in the manufacturing of food and beverages industry, in the restaurant sector, in construction and so on. There are also professions which require special permits, such as the medical one, therefore it is worth noting that the practice license can be considered a special business license.

Since we mentioned earlier the documentation required to obtain a business license, these are some of the sectors which require more paperwork. The waiting time could be a little longer, as well.

The issuance of the business license 

An important thing to be noticed when applying for a business license, no matter the country, is the processing time of the documentation. Especially in the case of certain special permits, the duration between the submission of the documents and the actual issuance of the license can take quite a while, so there is no need to worry that it takes too long. There are cases when it can take up to several months before the business license is issued, and this process is often met in the financial sector.  However, most authorities will inform the applicant on the duration of this phase.

Once the license is issued, the foreign investor will be able to operate the company just like any local entrepreneur.

Setting up a business in another country can seem a big challenge for any foreign investor, however with the right documentation on the legislation and requirements of the respective state, there should be no problem in reaching one’s objectives. The same happens when it comes to the business licensing procedure.

Foreign enterprises can find many online resources which will help them during this process. With streamlined procedures and support from the authorities, opening a company and obtaining a business license in a foreign country is no longer a hard and lengthy process. So, accessing new business opportunities and reaching new markets is easier than ever. It is very possible for foreign investors to enter new countries much easier in the near future thanks to online services which can be accessed remotely.

Have you read?

# Opening an Offshore vs an Onshore Company: Which Is Really Better?
# A guide to expanding a business in Asia.
# 3 Countries which Offer Citizenship by Investment Programs.
# How to obtain citizenship by investment after starting a business?

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - C-Suite Advisory - How to obtain business licenses for your company abroad?
Emma London

Emma London

Associate Editor
Emma London is the Associate Editor at CEOWORLD magazine. She covers lists, rankings, economy, geopolitics, global banking, fintech, digitization of money, and the future of finance for CEOWORLD magazine. She’s also a member of the Board of Directors at the Global Business Policy Institute. Prior to that, Emma was the ultra-high net worth (UHNW) valuations subject matter expert at CEOWORLD magazine, mentoring research teams in valuations’ techniques, and was involved in product development for ultra high net worth (UHNW) and high net worth (HNW) dossier creation, currently heading research operations at the Global Business Policy Institute. She can be reached on email You can follow her on Twitter at @ceoworld.