Commercial, craft and industrial activities, as well as certain liberal professions, are subject to a business permit (autorisation d'établissement or autorisation de commerce).
This permit is granted to businesses (the professional operating under his own name or the company) within a 3-month deadline, which may be extended by another month under certain conditions, if:
- the person responsible for the operation or management of the business satisfies the required legal conditions of qualification and professional integrity for the activity concerned;
- and the business has a fixed physical establishment in Luxembourg (no so-called 'letterbox companies').
Applications must be submitted to the General Directorate for SMEs and Entrepreneurship by standard mail or online. Tacit authorisation is granted if no decision is sent within the time allowed.
The business permit should not be mistaken with the operating permit for classified establishments (known as 'commodo/incommodo' authorisation):
- the business permit grants access to a profession;
- 'commodo/incommodo' authorisations define a company's development and operating conditions deemed necessary to protect the environment and ensure the safety of workers, the public and the neighbourhood in general.
Who is concerned
A business permit is granted to the business if the person responsible for the operation or management of the business satisfies the required legal conditions of qualification and professional integrity, i.e.:
- the professional operating under his own name if the business is operated by a natural person;
- the business manager (director or administrator) or his agent (called the gérant-technique (technical manager) in a limited liability company (SARL) or directeur-technique (technical director) in a public limited company (SA)); if the business operates as a company.
The majority shareholder and any person having significant influence on the operation or management of the business must also satisfy the conditions for professional integrity.
A business permit is required for any person that wishes to engage in the following professional activities as a self-employed person or as a company:
- commercial activity (trade, HORECA (hotel, restaurant and catering sector), transports, industry, etc.);
- craft activity (food, fashion, construction, mechanical engineering, audiovisual, entertainment, art, etc.);
- or certain liberal professions which are mainly intellectual in nature.
Self-employed sales agents require a business permit as traders. Their salaried representatives are exempt from any specific permit but must carry out their activity under the cover of a business permit granted to their employer. It is therefore advisable to provide them with proof of their employer’s permit and proof of their recruitment.
Lawyers, doctors, dentists, veterinary surgeons or statutory auditors (réviseurs d'entreprises) exercise liberal professions covered by laws other than those governing the authorisation of establishment.
Intellectual services not included in the list of liberal professions are not subject to a business permit. However, the persons concerned can apply for a business permit as a trader in order to bill for their services.
Persons who sell their own products (craftwork, artwork, jam, honey, etc.), recycled items or items they did not purchase for commercial purposes, are not considered to be professionals and are therefore not required to have a business permit. They must nevertheless hold a business permit if they take part in fairs and markets.
EU businesses that supply occasional and temporary services in Luxembourg do not require a business permit. Skilled craftsmen and manufacturers nevertheless have to submit a prior notification to the General Directorate for SMEs and Entrepreneurship.
Non-EU nationals who wish to set up in Luxembourg as self-employed persons must submit their business permit application together with their application for an authorisation to stay as a self-employed person. By doing so, they only have to send in a single dossier to the Minister of Immigration who then transfers the business permit section to the General Directorate for SMEs and Entrepreneurship.
Applicants must ensure that they satisfy the following business permit conditions:
- professional integrity;
- professional qualification in line with the planned activity:
- traders or specially regulated commercial activities (including industrial activities);
- liberal professions requiring a business permit;
- establishment in Luxembourg; the business permit is only granted if there is a physical installation in Luxembourg that includes an infrastructure suitable for the nature and scale of the concerned activity;
- effective and permanent management of the business by the business permit holder who must:
- effectively manage and run the company in person, on a regular and daily basis (a distant home address could be detrimental to the application). The permanent presence of a third person, even if authorised to commit the business, is not enough to make up for the absence of the business permit holder;
- be connected to the business (as an owner, associate, shareholder or employee of the business).
- compliance with tax and business obligations: the business manager must not have evaded business and tax obligations in his previous or current business activities, whether these activities were carried out under his own name or through a company run by said business manager.
Professionals who carry out their activity in the form of a company can attach the draft articles of association (the constitutional documents) to their business permit application for a prior opinion and verification of the professional qualifications required.
In order to justify that the holder of the authorisation will be the actual manager, the articles of association must stipulate that the business manager has sole or joint power of signature to commit the company.
The final granting of the business permit requires that the articles of association are filed with the Trade and Companies Register (RCS).
In order to request the permit online through the Luxembourg Business Portal (De Guichet), applicants must have a Luxtrust 'Private' or 'Pro' electronic certificate and be registered on the portal.
How to proceed
Applicants can submit their business permit application:
- by submitting the business permit application online via MyGuichet with a Luxtrust card;
The system uses the information provided by the applicant in order to determine the documents to be submitted with the application.
- or by sending the business permit application by standard mail or email to the General Directorate for SMEs and Entrepreneurship;
- or by using the "House of Entrepreneurship – One-Stop Shop" of the Chamber of Commerce or the service "Contact Entreprise of the Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts who will submit the application for them.
Each person interested can seek assistance from the House of Entrepreneurship - One-Stop Shop of the Chamber of Commerce, the Contact entreprise of the Chamber of Trades, or from the information desk at the General Directorate for SMEs and Entrepreneurship to complete the application.
Documents to be submitted with the application
The following documents must be attached to the business permit application:
- documents attesting to the professional qualifications for the planned activity;
- documents attesting to professional integrity;
- a copy of the applicant's identity card;
- proof of payment of stamp duty (droit de chancellerie), in the form of:
- either a tax stamp, value EUR 24, purchased at the Indirect Tax Authority (AED);
- or proof of payment of EUR 24 into the IBAN account LU09 1111 7026 5281 0000, BIC code: CCPLLULL of the Diekirch Revenue Office, with the following communication: 'autorisation de commerce';
- in the event of an application for a business (legal person), the company's articles of association which have been filed with the Trade and Companies Register.
Supporting documents may be submitted:
- in the form of paper copies (application by post) or as scanned copies in PDF format (application via MyGuichet or email). The General Directorate for SMEs and Entrepreneurship may request certified copies or the original documents where needed. Original documents will be returned to the applicant upon request;
- in German, French or English. Documents in other EU languages may eventually be accepted. The General Directorate for SMEs and Entrepreneurship may request certified translations of these documents where needed.
When the permit is granted
If the business permit is granted, the applicant will be notified by post at the address indicated on the application:
- the sole trader (self employed natural person) may then collect his business permit at the Joint Social Security Centre. On this occasion, the entrepreneur can proceed directly with his registration as a self-employed person;
- companies (legal persons) receive the business permit by post directly at their registered office.
The business permit takes the form of a card, which should be kept permanently on the operating site and produced on request.
The ministerial authorisation number (business permit number) must be indicated on all letters, mails, e-mails, websites, quotes, invoices, premises and storefronts as well as on the mandatory signs on work sites.
The business permit expires:
- if it remains unused for more than 2 years as of its issuance date;
- in the event of voluntary cessation of the activity during more than 2 years;
- in the event of compulsory liquidation;
- or if the business has been declared bankrupt.
Modifying an existing business permit
The holder of a valid permit must request a new permit in the event of:
- a change or extension of the company's objects;
- a change of the company director who met the criteria of qualification and professional integrity.
The General Directorate for SMEs and Entrepreneurship must be notified within one month of the following events :
- the opening of a branch office;
- a change of the company name;
- a change of the company's legal structure;
- a change of business address;
- the departure of the business manager who was granted the business permit.
Forms / Online services
Who to contact
General Directorate - SMEs, Entrepreneurship and the Internal Market (authorisations of establishment)
B.P. 535 - L-2937 Luxembourg
Phone : (+352) 247-74700Fax : (+352) 247-74701The telephone helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 13.00 to 17.00 (not on public holidays).