Many of the requirements and procedures for opening a secondary establishment are the same as for starting up a business.
To open a branch in Belgium, you must file various documents with the commercial court registry.
Company data is then entered by the registrar at the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises. A notice on the opening of the branch is also published in the Belgian Official Gazette.
All companies are subject to accounting requirements.
‘Services Directive’ and ‘One-Stop Business Shop’
The ‘Services Directive’ is a piece of European legislation aimed at facilitating the existence of companies wishing to provide services in the European Union, either inside or outside their country of origin. The Directive establishes rules that apply to individuals wishing to set up a business or temporarily provide services in the EU/EEA (the twenty-six member states of the EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway). It requires member states to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, simplify the formalities imposed on businesses and make public administrations more efficient.
To implement the Directive, each member is obliged to create ‘one-stop business shops’, online administrative portals that help businesses to complete their administrative procedures online. One-stop business shops provide detailed information about all administrative issues relating to the establishment or expansion of a service-provision business in a given country by replying, for example, to the following questions:
- Which permits, licences or notifications have to be obtained before starting a business (in my own or another country)?
- What are the procedures that have to be completed if I wish to temporarily provide services abroad?
- What do I have to do to apply for a licence? Which is the competent authority?
- Are their licence fees? What are the corresponding waiting and/or processing periods?
- Which decrees and laws apply to the sector in which I will be operating?
- What do I have to do if I wish, for example, to open a restaurant or shop, or if I wish to offer travel agent services in another country without starting a business there?
- Which service should I contact for personal advice and further information?
Thanks to the one-stop business shops, it is no longer necessary to contact each public authority separately! The one-stop shops enable you to find all the information that you require and to submit online applications to the competent authority through a single points of contact. All the administrative procedures can be completed online by means of the one-stop business shop. You only have to contact the appropriate one-stop shop in the country where you wish to conduct your activities.
All one stop-shops are associated with the EUGO network: a central website provides ready access to all one-stop shops in Europe. Of course, the services that they offer are not in any way compulsory. You can always directly contact the competent authorities.