Guide

Starting your company in Norway

Follow the steps below to open a company that is ready to trade in Norway.

Below you will find a checklist with the most important tasks you should complete in order to successfully set up your company in Norway.

Step 1: Choosing the right legal entity and structure

The most common legal entities for entrepreneurs are a private limited company (AS), a sole proprietorship or a general partnership. For foreign entrepreneurs, the AS is the most common legal entity. Besides the type of legal entity, you should also consider which structure is most suited for your company.

Which legal entity?

In a sole proprietorship you are personally liable for the company's actions and liable for its losses. In many cases you will pay more taxes in a sole proprietorship than in a private limited company. A private limited pays the lower corporate income tax. On the other hand, the private limited AS company needs to meet more administrative requirements and is more costly to set up.

Requirements to starting a private limited (AS) company:

  • At least one shareholder
  • Any role in the AS should be fulfilled by someone age 18 or over
  • The company should have a Norwegian physicial address
  • At least 50 % of the board members must reside in Norway or another EEA country.
  • If you are not a citizen of an EU/EEA country, and are planning to run a business in Norway, you need to have a residence permit that will allow you to work here. You can find information about the terms and requirements for resident permit on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration's (UDI) website.

Requirements to starting a sole proprietorship

  • You plan on conducting commercial activity, not a hobby. If the scope of your activity is limited and your expenses are about the same as your income, it may count in favour of you pursuing a hobby. Profits from hobbies are not taxable income.
  • The sole proprietorship has to be registered at a physicial Norwegian address, not a postbox.
  • If you are not a citizen of an EU-/EEA country, and are planning to run a business in Norway, you need to have a residence permit that will allow you to work here. You can find information about the terms and requirements for resident permit on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration's (UDI) website.

Choose a structure

The private limited can be set up as a single entity with you as shareholder (or one of the multiple shareholders). Alternatively you could set up a holding structure.

In some cases, it may be appropriate to establish a private limited company which will establish and own one or more other companies. The first company, which is called the 'holding company', is only established in order to own shares in other private limited companies and manage the yields. The other company or companies is a normal operating company and it is this company that is responsible for the commercial activity. There are two particular reasons for establishing a holding company: It helps to spread the risk through carrying on different enterprises in different companies. The gains made on any future sales of enterprises and dividends will be virtually tax-free for the holding company. If a holding company reinvests all the revenues from the operating company, they will pay virtually nothing in tax (taxation of company shareholders). However, if a holding company opts to pay the surplus to their personal shareholders, this will be taxed at the rate of 22%. The advantage of having a holding company, versus owning the shares privately, therefore lies in the opportunity to defer full taxation.

Step 2: Select a trade name

At navnesøk.no, you can find out whether the name you want to use is available as a domain name, enterprise name and trademark in a single search. When you are about to register, we suggest you follow this sequence:

  1. Register the domain name
  2. Register the enterprise name
  3. Register any trademark

Step 3: Getting a D-number or national identity number

In Norway, the public authorities and other organisations require you to have a Norwegian identification number. There are two different types of identity numbers: D number (temporary) and national identity number.

https://www.skatteetaten.no/en/person/foreign/norwegian-identification-number/

Step 4: Registering a business address

The company must have a Norwegian business address (i.e. a Norwegian physical address which is stated in the format: street/road, house number, postcode and postal town. Postbox addresses will not be accepted). This address can be a private residential address, but also a real office space or a shared office space. The address should obviously somewhat match the purpose of the business. A large industrial company will most likely not be registered at a private residence, but a small consultancy firm can.

Step 5: Registering your business


Step 6: Open a Norwegian Bank account

Among the most business-friendly banks are DNB and Sbanken.

What to do after you open your Norwegian company

Get your administration and other services in order to run your Norwegian business as smooth as possible.

Below you will find the most common post-incorporation services that you have to consider.

1. Administration and tax

Administration

In Norway, keeping a proper administration in order is not only advisable, but also mandatory. Find the process and required documents and data below.

Administration process

Tax filings and returns in Norway

Your Norwegian company will most likely need to pay taxes in Norway. From VAT to corporate tax and income tax for employees. Find out more how to arrange this in Norway.

Annual accounts

2. Permits and licenses

In certain industries, you must have a permit to run your own business. Examples of this are the catering/restaurant and cleaning services sectors.

3. Insurance


Taxes in Norway

Find out the amount of taxes you have to pay and which structure/entity works best for you.


Extra services to consider

All other services that can help you and your business.

Financing and funding in Norway

Traditionally there are two main types of financing in Norway: investments or bank loans. Both come in many shapes and forms. Find out more about Norwegian funding, from a crowdfunded investment to a traditional bank loan.

Insurance

Contracts and other legal work

Depending on your type of business, different types of legal documents are recommended. Some legal documents are recommended for almost every business. Examples are General Terms and Conditions and a Privacy Policy.

Phone number / landline

Website and marketing

A website is the business card of your company. Without traffic and attention means nothing. We can help you to set up a website, webshop or online platform. Additionally we have the expertise to set up marketing channels specifically for the Nordic market.

EORI