Last update 25.01.2019
Each professional economic activity is subject to the prior granting of a business permit (known as "autorisation de commerce").
The permit is issued to businesses (professionals operating under their own name or companies) within 3 months, which may be extended by an additional month in certain cases, if:
- the applicant fulfils the legal conditions for qualification (when required) and professional integrity for the activity concerned;
- the business has a fixed physical establishment in Luxembourg (no so-called 'letterbox companies').
Tacit authorisation is granted if no decision is sent within the time allowed.
Who is concerned
The business permit is issued to the company if the applicant meets the legal conditions for qualification (when required) and professional integrity. The applicant must be:
- the professional operating under his own name if the business is operated by a natural person; or
- a person with an actual connection with the company. This person must be:
- an employee of the company; or
- the owner of the company; or
- a partner in the company; or
- a company shareholder.
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 service providers whose activity is not included in the list of liberal professions must apply for a business permit for commercial activities and 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. However, they must hold a business permit for commercial activities and services if they wish to participate in fairs and markets.
EU businesses that supply occasional and temporary services in Luxembourg do not require a business permit. Skilled craftsmen and manufacturers, however, must submit a prior notification to the General Directorate for SMEs, Entrepreneurship and the Internal Market.
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, Entrepreneurship and the Internal Market.
The applicant must meet the following conditions:
- professional integrity;
- professional qualification in line with the planned activity:
- 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:
- personally and regularly ensure the actual day-to-day management and direction of the business. In particular, a remote domicile may be unfavourable to the applicant. 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.
The final granting of the business permit requires that the articles of association are filed with the Trade and Companies Register (RCS).
The stamp duty for the issue of the first business permit amounts to EUR 24.
In case of a change of address of the establishment, the holder of a business permit issued:
- before 14 March 2018 will have to pay a stamp duty of EUR 24;
- after 14 March 2018 will no longer have to pay the stamp duty.
How to proceed
Filing an application
Applicants can submit their application for a business permit in 3 ways:
- by applying in person for a business permit online via MyGuichet.lu, using a LuxTrust product.
The system determines which supporting documents need to be attached to the application depending on the information entered by the applicant;
- or y sending the business permit application by standard mail or email to the General Directorate for SMEs, Entrepreneurship and the Internal Market;
- 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 on their behalf.
Anyone can get help with their business permit application by contacting:
- the House of Entrepreneurship – One-Stop Shop of the Chamber of Commerce;
- the "Contact Entreprise" team of the Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts;
- the information desk at the General Directorate - SMEs, Entrepreneurship and the Internal Market.
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 (if required);
- documents attesting to professional integrity;
- for citizens of Luxembourg, the European Union, or the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland): a copy of their ID card or passport;
- for citizens of third countries: a written confirmation from the Minister responsible for Immigration that the applicant meets all the conditions for obtaining the residence permit applied for;
- proof of payment of stamp duty (droit de chancellerie), in the form of:
- either a tax stamp, value EUR 24, purchased at the Registration Duties, Estates and VAT Authority (AED);
- or the 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';
Supporting documents may be submitted:
- in the form of paper copies (application by post) or as scanned copies in PDF format (application via MyGuichet.lu or email). The General Directorate for SMEs, Entrepreneurship and the Internal Market may request certified copies or the original documents where needed. Original documents will be returned to applicants upon request;
- in German, French or English. Documents in other EU languages may be accepted if they have been translated by a sworn translator.
Issuance of the permit
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 their business permit at the Joint Social Security Centre. On this occasion, the entrepreneur can proceed directly with their 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 displayed 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.
Validity of the permit
The permit ceases to be valid in case of:
- lack of use for more than 2 years from the date of issue;
- voluntary cessation of the activity during more than 2 years;
- compulsory liquidation;
- bankruptcy of the business.
Modifying an existing business permit
The holder of a valid permit must request a new permit in the event of:
- change or extension of the company's objects;
- change of company director to whom the qualification and professional integrity relates.
The notification can be done by simple mail or email. The General Directorate for SMEs, Entrepreneurship and Internal Market 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.
Forms / Online services
Who to contact
General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Department for 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).