Legislation and the National Business Center (NBC)
Legislation regarding business registration and licensing procedures has been harmonized with EU standards with a focus on reducing administrative barriers for businesses operating in Albania. Starting a business was made easier through the establishment of the National Business Center and the online publication of relevant documents, reducing the cost of registration and consolidating the registration of taxes, health insurance and employment in a single application.
The registration of an entity / enterprise in the NBC is finalized within 24 hours from the submission of the required documentation and a payment of 100 ALL (approximately 0.8 euros), which can be reduced to 0 ALL if the registration is done electronically.
The administrative services of NBC are provided electronically through simple procedures, within short deadlines and with symbolic tariffs. An application can be made in any NBC service window, regardless of the applicant's location or location of the activity. Online business registration is allowed. The electronic application is made through the government portal e-albania.
Upon successful completion of the business registration with the NBC, the applicant must visit the Local General Directorate of Taxes in the municipality / commune, in order to complete the fiscal registration.
Furthermore, the "silence is consent" principle applies. If the NBC, within the mandatory period of 1 day from the submission of the application for registration, does not complete the registration, notifies the suspension of the application, or does not notify the denial, the registration is considered accepted immediately.
Application to NBC and Documentation
The process of forming businesses in Albania is fast and efficient. Their formation is regulated by Law no. 9901 dated 14.4.2008 "On traders and companies", amended by the Albanian Civil Code. Below is a brief description of the main elements of the commercial entities identified above, that have the obligation to register in the commercial register of the NBC.
Ways of applying for registration in the commercial register
Applications for registrations in the commercial register can be made at:
- NBC service counters
- Online through the electronic counter
Entities required to register with the NBC commercial Register
The economic system of the Republic of Albania is based in the market economy and in the freedom of economic activity. The Albanian legislation promotes and protects the economic activity.
However, the legislation provides for the obligation to register for entities that exercise economic and commercial activity. The registration of legal entities aims toward the identification and registration of business, as well as relates to the implementation of tax obligations, employment and social and health insurance scheme.
The legal framework determines the obligation of registration for the following entities:
- natural persons (Individual Entrepreneurs), who exercise an economic activity or are independent professionals;
- simple companies;
- commercial companies;
- branches of foreign companies;
- representation offices of Albanian and foreign companies;
- saving and credit companies and their unions
- mutual cooperation companies (joint-venture)
- agricultural cooperatives.
Other categories of entities may have the obligation to register if that is set forth by specific laws.
As a general rule, entities that register as a legal person gain their legal personality by registering with the commercial register. Meanwhile for some entities like natural persons, branches and representation offices of foreign companies, simple companies and others entities that according to the legislation in force do not gain legal personality by way of registration, said registration with the commercial registry has solely a declarative effect.
Law no. 9901 "On entrepreneurs and commercial enterprises", dated 14 April 2008, regulates the status of entrepreneurs, the establishment and administration of companies, the rights and obligations of the partner, the reorganization and liquidation of companies.
The legislation on business registration and licensing procedures in Albania is harmonized with EU standards, and aims to promote and encourage the development of private companies in Albania.
Legal reference for registration:
- Law no. 131/2015, "On the National Business Center"
- Law no.9723, dated: 03.05.2017, "On Business Registration"
- Law no. 9901, dated: 14.04.2008, "On Traders and Business Associations"
Law no. 10081, dated 23.02.2009, “On Licenses, Authorizations and Permits in the Republic of Albania”, amended.
The law sets out the principles for defining the economic activities or uses of public goods which are subject to a licensing and/or permitting process, as well as the principles for determining the conditions, procedures, periods of validity, and the causes and procedures for their revocation. Licenses and permits, according to their fields and categories, as well as the fields of authorizations under the purview of central institutions, are listed in the annex that is attached to and constitutes an integral part of this law. The applications for licenses and permits foreseen in the annex, or their subcategories, in accordance with the fields foreseen in the annex, or their categories and subcategories, as a general rule are processed:
- by or through the NBC, and in this case the abovementioned law defines the procedures for submitting, reviewing and deciding on an application;
- without the involvement of the NBC, in specific cases, where the procedures are rendered by the institutions defined by the applicable law in force.
- DCM no. 538, dated 26/05/2009, “On Licenses and Permits that are processed by or through the National Business Center (NBC) and some other common sublegal amendments”, amended.
This DCM divides licenses and permits into those that are treated by or through the NBC, and licenses and permits that are processed without the involvement of the NBC.
In accordance with the application procedures, the decision time frames, and the documents that are required, licenses and permits that are processed by or through the NBC are divided into three groups:
- Group 1 includes those categories or subcategories for which the evaluation of the fulfillment of the licensing criteria is based solely on the applicant’s self-declarations. The NBC reviews applications for group 1 in the order they are received and makes a decision within a period of 2 working days from the application date.
- Group 2 includes those categories or subcategories for which the evaluation of the fulfillment of the licensing criteria, besides self-declarations, is also based on supporting documents presented by the applicant. The NBC reviews applications for group 2 in the order they are received and makes a decision within a period of 4 working days from the application date.
- Group 3 includes those categories or subcategories for which the evaluation of the fulfillment of the licensing criteria, besides self-declarations and supporting documents presented by the applicant, requires a process of inspection, testing, competition, interview, hearing or other method of evaluation. The NBC and the institution covering the field of activity decide depending on the deadline set in the sectoral legislation.
Entities that have the obligation to obtain a License, Permit or Authorization
The licensing/permitting process is also based on the sectoral legislation in force, which regulates the areas where a license/permit is required, defining, among others, the detailed criteria and probative documents necessary for obtaining the relevant license/permit. Legislation in the field of licensing/permitting can be consulted on the official website of the NBC.
Any natural or legal person, pre-equipped with NUIS (NIPT), who carries out an activity and/or uses a public good and/or performs one or more certain actions, for purposes of economic, commercial, professional and of any other similar nature, except those of a personal nature, which are included in the fields, categories and subcategories of the appendix to law no. 10081/2009, has the obligation to be provided with a license/permit/authorization.
Exercising activities and performing actions within this commercial activity, are, as a rule, free and not subject to licensing or authorization. In special cases, when provided by law, the exercise of an activity or the performance of an action will be subject to the licensing or authorization process only if the following two circumstances are met:
- Exercising or performing the activity improperly may affect the life, health, rights and legitimate interests of citizens, security of public order, national security, fair competition or market functioning, a public good, social objective, and any other public interest of this nature;
- Adequate guarantee of the abovementioned interests cannot be achieved without a process of self-declaration, review, inspection and evaluation of compliance with certain predetermined criteria, before starting the activity or performing the action.
Special conditions and licensing/permitting criteria, as well as documentation proving the fulfillment of these conditions/criteria are well defined in DCM no. 538/2009 and in sectoral legislation.
Application and Documentation
Persons in charge of submitting the application for obtaining a license/permit
The application is submitted by the legal representative of the entity that seeks to obtain a permit or license, or a person authorized by him, at the counters of the NBC.
Supporting documentation to be submitted at the time of application:
The person submitting the request, at the moment of application, must submit all the necessary probative and accompanying documentation defined in law no. 10081/2009, DCM no. 538/2009, and in special cases by sectoral legislation.
Ways of applying for a license/permit
Applications for a license/permit can be made in two ways:
- at the physical service counters of the NBC
- online through the electronic portal
Legal references for licenses, authorizations and permits:
Law no. 10081, dated 23.2.2009 "On Licenses, Authorizations and Permits in the Republic of Albania"
Law No. 10137, dated 11.5.2009 "On some amendments in the legislation in force for licenses, authorizations, and permits in the Republic of Albania".