Guide: Company Registration Certificate For A Schengen Visa
What Is A Company Registration Certificate For Your Schengen Visa?
A ‘Company Registration Certificate’ (also called Certificate of Incorporation or Deed of Incorporation) is a legal document that shows a company has been legally registered.
In other words, a company’s registration certificate is a company’s ‘birth certificate’ that shows the name of the company, date and place of incorporation, and other relevant details.
When you register a business name and incorporate a company, you automatically receive a certificate (your company registration certificate).
Submitting a company registration certificate with your application is a mandatory Visa requirement if one of the following two situations applies to you:
- You are self-employed (running your own business) in your country of residence
If this situation is applicable to you, you must submit your own company registration certificate (whether you have full ownership or have one or more business partners who have ownership in the company).
Submitting it is a mandatory requirement as you must show proof of your financial means. Therefore, if your primary income source is the company you own and not the salary you get from an employer, you must show proof of your income (meaning you must prove you own a legally registered company).
Please note that if you are self-employed, you must also submit your company bank statements for the last 6 months and your Company Income Tax Return (along with your personal bank statements for the last 6 months and your Personal Income Tax Return).
We also recommend you submit a copy of your business license as well (the permit issued by the government agency in your country of residence where it states that you are allowed to conduct business within the government’s geographical jurisdiction – if applicable).
Important: In some countries, the company registration certificate does not show the name of the company owner(s) as the main purpose of the certificate is to prove that the business has been legally registered.
Suppose your company registration certificate does not show that you are the company’s owner. In that case, you must submit other documents where it states that you are the business owner (alone or with partners). You can submit any legal certificate that proves your ownership (e.g., business ownership certificate or a stock certificate that establishes a shareholder’s ownership in a company).
- You received an invitation letter from a company located in the Schengen Area, and you are applying for a Business Visa
Suppose you are applying for a Business short stay Visa because a company located in the Schengen Area invited you to visit them. In that case, you should submit a copy of the Schengen company registration certificate (as proof that your business invitation is 100% genuine). This requirement is mandatory for some Embassies/Consulates, while for others is optional.
Needless to say, if you run your own business in your country of residence and you received an invitation from a company located in the Schengen Area, then you must submit two registration certificates as supporting documents: 1. Your own company registration certificate and 2. The Schengen company registration certificate.
According to the business structure (that may vary by country), there are different types of company registration certificates, but the differences between them are not relevant for your Visa application. For example, a company can be registered as a private Limited Company or a Sole Proprietorship but this has no relevance for your Visa application process.
Note: If you are not a citizen of the country where you are running your business, you should also submit a copy of your permanent or temporary residence permit and/or work permit (if applicable).
The Importance Of The Company Registration Certificate For Your Schengen Visa
A company’s registration certificate is extremely important for your Visa application.
If you run a company in your country of residence
● It proves your rootedness
If you own a company in your country of residence, it is highly likely that you will return from the Schengen Territory to continue running your business.
Remember that your most important goal as a Visa applicant is to prove to the Embassy/Consulate officers that you have genuine intentions to leave the territory of the Schengen State you will be visiting and return to your country of residence.
● It shows you have a legal source of income
All Schengen Visa applicants must show proof of their legal source of income. Your certificate of registration will prove to the Embassy/Consulate officers that you work for a company that is actually existing (because it has been legally registered) and it allows you to have a legal source of income to fund your trip to the Schengen Zone.
Embassies/Consulates must ensure you have enough means of subsistence to cover your expenses while travelling within the European countries.
If you received a business invitation from a company located in the Schengen Area
● It proves that the purpose of your trip is genuine
Suppose a company located in a Schengen country invites you to visit their headquarters and conduct business meetings. In that case, the company registration certificate will prove that the company actually exists and your travel purpose is 100% genuine.
The Embassy/Consulate officers must also ensure you travel for business purposes to decide the travel Visa type you should get (meaning a Schengen Business Visa and not a simple Schengen Tourist Visa).
How To Get A Company Registration Certificate For Your Schengen Visa
There are some specific steps that you must follow to register a company. These steps vary by country and state laws.
However, the purpose of this guide is not to explain how to register a company but to help and guide you through your Visa application process. If you have already registered your company, you should own a company registration certificate issued by the government of your country of residence.
In case you have lost or misplaced your company registration certificate, you should address your request to the same authority/governing body that issued your company registration certificate. You may need to fill a form and pay a fee.
Also, we recommend you contact the authority/governing body that issued your company registration certificate and ask if you can submit your request through their online portal or you must make an appointment at the counter to submit it.
Important: If you own a business in your country of residence, we highly recommend you submit a certified copy of your company registration certificate (and not an ordinary one) as proof that your copy is the true copy of an original document.
To learn how to get a certified copy of your company registration certificate, please check our Certified Copy of Passport Guide (the section called “How to get a true certified copy of your passport for your Schengen Visa”). You can follow the steps explained in the guide to get a certified copy of any document (and not just a certified copy of your passport).
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Submitting Your Company Registration Certificate For Schengen Visa
● Submitting a business name registration certificate
In some countries, the law requires a business owner to register or reserve the company’s name before registering their business (because a business name should be unique and meet specific requirements).
If you received a certificate after registering your business name, do not submit it for your Schengen Visa application as it does not prove that your company is actually registered. In many countries, registering a business name is the first step required when starting a business, but it is not enough to prove that you own and run a registered company in your country of residence.
● Submitting a company registration certificate that does not show your name (as a business owner)
As we mentioned previously in this guide, in some countries, a business registration certificate does not show the owner’s name as the only purpose of the certificate is to prove that the company has been legally registered.
If your company registration certificate does not show your name, the Embassy/Consulateofficers cannot know that you are the business’s legal owner.
Therefore, you should consider submitting additional documentation that proves your business ownership. For example, you can submit any legal certificate issued by the authorities in your country of residence that proves you own the company as a sole trader or with one or more business partners.
● Submitting an application for business registration or a business registration form
Typically, you are required to fill out and submit a form so that the competent authorities in your country of residence can register your business and issue your business registration certificate. If you submitted your business registration request and did not yet receive an official legal certificate that proves your company’s registration, do not submit a business registration application or form. It has no legal value for the Embassy/Consulate officers.
● Information about shareholders on the business registration certificate does not match the information about the holders of your business joint account
Suppose you own a joint account with one or more business partners. In that case, the Embassies/Consulates allow you to submit your business joint account bank statements of the last 6 months as proof of financial means (also, we strongly recommend you attach a joint account approval letter to your application).
However, all of your documents should show consistency. For example, suppose you own a business with a partner, and the business registration certificate shows both your names as co-owners. In that case, you must not submit the bank statements corresponding to a joint business account you share with a different person (please note that this recommendation regards business joint accounts only, and it has nothing to do with joint family accounts).