About Us
Global Law Experts Logo
Global Law Experts Logo

Find a Global Law Expert

Practice Area


Since 2010, the Global Law Experts annual awards have been celebrating excellence, innovation and performance across the legal communities from around the world.

A Basic Guide to Starting a Business in Spain

posted 3 years ago

In the face of the extraordinary unprecedented multiple challenges that are being faced worldwide it would be understandable for many businesses to adopt a pessimistic attitude, particularly those in the UK aiming to do cross-border business in Europe. Regardless of whether a free trade agreement is reached by the UK and the European Union or not when the transition period ends, there will be a new customs border between the UK and the EU.

The governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, commented in The Times newspaper that “a no-deal Brexit would cause more long-term damage to the economy than the coronavirus pandemic.” The considerably extended negotiations do not suggest that the eventual deal struck is likely to please all parties. Crisis creates innovation and opportunities, particularly in problematical trading environments which frequently can and do give rise to opportunities for the shrewd businessperson with sufficient perception to recognise them.

There is a long and successful history of trade between Spain and the UK. The latest figures from UN Comtrade, the trade statistics database, indicate that the UK exported over £10 worth of goods to Spain in 2019 and almost double that amount was imported by the UK for the same period. However, the outlook for cross-border trade between the UK and Spain in after January 2021 does not look as if it will be entirely straightforward. There are other ways to successfully trade across the EU borders that enable businesses to circumvent at least some part of the tariffs, lorry tailbacks and paperwork that Brexit threatens. Setting up a company and establishing commercial premises in Spain allows cross-border trade to operate in a different climate. 

Giulia Gressani, a junior associate in the corporate and commercial team based in Barcelona, commented “setting up a company in Spain provides a wide range of benefits to a businessman or woman wishing to trade across Europe. There is little difference between the corporate requirements of a limited company in Spain – sociedad limitada (SL) and a English limited company.” She further commented “there is a requirement for a minimum share capital in Spain of €3,000. There is no VAT exempted threshold and registration for VAT is mandatory for all companies. One area that must be properly addressed is employment law. There is strict regulation and there are penalties for any failure to adhere to the laws.”

There is a range of options regarding the type of legal structure for a commercial entity you can set up: self-employed, a sole trader, partnership or limited liability company. Depending on whether you choose to live in Spain and the type of business you would like to set up, the steps you need to take, once you know the type of commercial entity you require, are:

  • Obtain a foreigner’s tax identification number Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE)
  • Register the company name with the Mercantile Registry Registro Mercantil Central (RMC)
  • Obtain a tax identification number Certificado de Identificación Fiscal (CIF) for the business
  • Open a business bank account
  • Sign the deed of incorporation, if appropriate
  • Register the company
  • Register for social security

If you intend to employ staff you will need employment law advice to guide you through the highly regulated employment laws in Spain. Employees are paid slightly differently and there are a number of statutory rights that employees in Spain enjoy.

The highly experienced commercial lawyers in Giambrone’s Barcelona office will advise and guide you through the entire process.

For more information on setting up a company in Spain please click here


Find the right Legal Expert for your business

The premier guide to leading legal professionals throughout the world

Practice Area
0 m+


who are already getting the benefits

Sign up for the latest legal briefings and news within Global Law Experts’ community, as well as a whole host of features, editorial and conference updates direct to your email inbox.

Naturally you can unsubscribe at any time.

Newsletter Sign Up

About Us

Global Law Experts is dedicated to providing exceptional legal services to clients around the world. With a vast network of highly skilled and experienced lawyers, we are committed to delivering innovative and tailored solutions to meet the diverse needs of our clients in various jurisdictions.

Contact Us

Stay Informed

Join Mailing List