What is a Handelsregisternummer?

When you start a business and list it in the German Trade Register (Handelsregister), you get a Handelsregisternummer.

Some businesses have no Handelsregisternummer, because they are not in the Handelsregister.

What does the Registernummer look like?

The Handelsregisternummer has the format HRA 12345 or HRB 12345:

  • HRA is for a sole proprietorship (Einzelunternehmen), and HRB is for an incorporated company (Kapitalgesellschaft).1
  • 12345 is the unique number of this business.
  • There is sometimes an extra letter. For example, HRB 247469 B.

Handelsregisternummer examples:

  • N26 bank: HRB 247469 B
  • Coup: HRB 178881 B
  • SAP: HRA 350654

Who needs a Handelsregister entry?

Most companies must be listed in the Handelsregister and get a Handelsregisternummer, but there are exceptions.

You must have a Handelsregister entry if…2

  • You are not a freelancer (Freiberufler)
  • and you are not a sole proprietor (Einzelunternehmer)
  • and you are not a company constituted under civil law (GbR)
  • and you are not a Kleingewerbe
    A Kleingewerbe is a small-scale sole proprietorship. For example, a business with a single address, few employees, few clients, and simple bookkeeping.3 There is no precise definition.4 If your sole proprietorship is a large commercial business, you need a Handelsregister entry.

You must have a Handelsregister entry to form a GmbH, UG, AG, e. K., oHG, KG, or GmbH & Co. KG.6

A Handelsregister entry has some benefits, but it mostly means more effort and more paperwork. Avoid it if you can.5

How do I get a Handelsregisternummer?

You must list your business in the Handelsregister. You can ask for this when you fill the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung in ELSTER.

Where do I find a company’s Registernummer?

  • On the imprint (Impressum) page of their website. All commercial websites in Germany have this page. There is usually a link to the Impressum at the bottom of every page.
  • By searching for it in an online registry.

Need help?

Where to ask business questions ➞

Sources and footnotes
  1. berlin.de, unternehmen24.info 

  2. lexware.de, fuer-gruender.de 

  3. nwb.de, lexware.de 

  4. firma.de 

  5. selbststaendig-machen.net, Suat Göydeniz (December 2023) 

  6. fuer-gruender.de