Register a company in Spain

In Spain it takes an average of 47 days to complete the procedures to open a business. Compared with the rest of the OECD countries, it turns out that in Spain much more than twice the average is needed. This information refers only to general administration, mandatory for all types of companies. If, in addition, the specific actions for each type of activity were taken into account, the figures would skyrocket until the comparison was impossible. The completion of all this paperwork is one of the first obstacles that the employer is at the beginning of his adventure. In general, every future entrepreneur is prepared to face obligations with the Treasury and Social Security, procedures that are mandatory for the creation of any company. But then comes a multitude of specific, much more complex procedures.

To find help

The first difficulty comes from the coexistence of many "windows" that must be attended in order to how to set up a business in Spain, as appropriate to the different agencies of the state, to the autonomous or local administration. In order to do so, it is necessary to establish the payment conditions and determine the requirements and payment terms, so these conditions may vary significantly from one location to another. Although it seems a labyrinth of documents, in reality, these procedures are not complex and can not be managed. The problem is that they are a long time ago and can help you in your business.

Heavy sanctions

Despite the initial difficulty, you should never be tempted to skip the paperwork. In particular, it is not recommended to work with the necessary licenses, authorizations and registrations. If the authorities detect it, the i will have two consequences: on the one hand, the preventive closing of the steps is carried out to obtain the possibility of how to set up a business in Spain. On the other hand, you will have to pay a fine. The amount is established by each autonomous community, but it is quite high: so much that it has not been worth it. For example, fines for violating the hygiene ordinance in the territories served by the Municipality of Móstoles (Madrid) range between 3,000 and 60,000 euros. Violations of labor regulations are also very costly.


The activity or opening license is the document that shows that the premises have the conditions of habitability and adequate use to accommodate the economic activity to which it is intended, without causing inconvenience to third parties.


All facilities must have this license. Only the professional, artisanal or artistic activities carried out in the dwelling are exempt, as long as there is no direct sale to the public or disturbances to the neighbors.

The activity license or commercial opening is not transferable and belongs to the owner of the business, so a new one must be requested each time there are changes in the facilities, in the activity or in the owners of said business.


1- The license is issued by the city council. This is the first step to complete the form in which the application for how to set up a business in Spain is made, detailing the commercial activity and the characteristics of the facilities in which it will take place.

2- For innocuous activities, which in principle should not generate any discomfort, the requirements are simpler. This is the case, for example, of the trades of non-perishable or dangerous products (such as a stationery store or a fashion boutique), or a small office open to the public (such as a real estate agency or an agency).

3- Classified activities. The requirements will increase for licenses of activities classified as annoying (those that can emit noise, vibrations, gases, dust, etc.), unhealthy (those that may cause detachment or evacuation of products or substances harmful to health), harmful (those susceptible to cause damage to the environment) or dangerous (related to explosive products, fuels, radioactive ...). To exercise annoying activities, the express authorization of the community of property owners is necessary. The remaining classified activities will be carried out, generally, in industrial land.

4- Deadlines The deadline for resolving the procedure depends on the volume of work that the municipality has at the time of the request. As it can last several months, for these procedures the" negative silence "of the Administration works : that is, if it is silent, it grants.

According to this principle, if the premises meet the requirements, the business can be opened provisionally until the final license arrives, although this option is only advisable if the employer is completely sure that it complies with the legal requirements.


License of works

Required for: all the premises that must be conditioned to obtain the opening license, and whenever there is work to be done. Procedure: a municipal technician will examine the facilities and issue the works license indicating the necessary remodeling. In the case of minor works, the technician can grant a provisional opening license, conditioned to the improvements that are made. If significant work is required, there will be a new inspection after remodeling.

Soundproofing measures

Mandatory for: places where potentially polluting activities are carried out due to noise and vibrations, such as bars, workshops, shows, educational centers, etc.

Procedure: The owners of the facilities must submit an acoustic impact study signed by a technician that includes an explanatory report and plans, detailing the characteristics of the pollution focus and the control and prevention measures adopted: sound level meters, noise limiters, double doors , special insulation, etc.

Hygienic measures

Mandatory for: places where food and / or drinks are served, such as bars, cafes, restaurants, ice cream parlors ...

Procedure: the municipal regulations detail the characteristics of each room (kitchen, storage area, bar area, public area, bathrooms and changing rooms), indicating its minimum surface area, construction materials, ventilation and type of furniture. For example, they require a smoke outlet and separate areas to treat food and waste, as well as specific appliances, cleaning materials and garbage containers.

Plan against fires

Mandatory for: all buildings must have evacuation signs, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers. Fire plans are mandatory for health centers, public shows, tourist accommodation and industrial activities.

Procedure: they must have emergency plans that include evacuation and self-protection protocols. In addition, it is necessary to expose in a visible place the plans of the facilities with the exit routes, count with acoustic alarms and have the adequate extinguishers for the types of fire that can be produced.


1- Before buying or renting a place, you must go to the urban planning area of the town hall to see if you have the license. It is not enough to see that the activity we want to carry out is carried out in the facilities. The municipal ordinances are modified frequently, and it is possible that in its day it obtained the license, but that it no longer fulfills the requirements.

2- The moment the employer submits the form requesting the license, he will have to pay the fees, regardless of whether they grant it.

3- There are architectural studies or engineers and construction companies specialized in adapting premises to the obligations imposed by the corresponding activity license.

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