9 steps for getting your freelance visa for Germany

Published on: 11 Sep 20:03

With a freelance visa in Germany you can work with several start-ups, businesses and individuals on need-based and part-time contracts. This allows you more flexibility, self-management as well as responsibility.


1. Freelancer or Enrepreneur?

First of all you should know what kind of self-employed activity you want to start. Do you want to start your own business? Then you should apply for the residence permit of the purpose of self-employment. Or do you prefer working in a free profession (as an artist, doctor, lawyer, etc.)? In this case the residence permit for a freelance employment will cover all your needs.

2. Who does (not) need a visa?

Citizens of the European Union, from Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland can start their own business without applying for a residence permit. Everybody else has to apply for the residence permit to get a freelance employment or for the purpose of self-employment.

3. The residence permit

If you’re already living in Germany, then you can apply for the residence permit immediately. If not, you’ll need a visa for the purpose of self-employment which you can request at the aliens registration authority in your country of residence.They will send your visa application to the department of your future place of residence in Germany. After two to four months, they will let you know if you’ll get your visa or not. If you get it, it’ll be valid for three months and you have to change it into a residence permit at your arrival, so that you can stay longer in Germany. If you’re from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, Korea, or from the USA, you don’t need the entry visa, but only the residence permit which you should request within three months.

4. Accommodation

Most of the applications require a german address. When you start your business, the registration in Germany should already been done. You can fill out the corresponding form online. If you prefer being supported by someone, make an appointment at the next citizen office, called Bürgeramt.

5. Health insurance

In Germany, having a health insurance is mandatory. To apply for the freelance visa, we recommend to choose a private healthcare, because it is the easiest way. CareConcept is a good option for foreigners in Germany and also for Germans in foreign countries.

6. Bank account and reserves

Apart from having enough money for paying the visa application process you should also have sufficient savings on your bank account (It is recommended to open a German bank account as well). The aliens registration authority wants to be assured that you can provide for yourself in the longer term, just in case of need. As a non-German you are not eligible for unemployment and social benefits. The more savings you have, the more likely you’ll get the freelance visa.

7. Learn the language

If you want to work in Germany, you should learn the national language. Besides, a lot of important forms are only available in German. Of course you can bring an interpreter if you don’t understand any German. But before launching your business, it would be recommendable to take a language course.

8. Necessary documents

Germans love their bureaucracy. You don’t? Sorry, but you also have to go through it. It’s not as bad as you might think. As a freelancer as well as an entrepreneur, you’ll need:

As an entrepreneur you’ll additionally need:

Freelancers should take care of the following documents:

9. Do you feel lost?

If you need help with all the documents and the application process, you can ask the embassy of your home country for help. You can also contact certain agencies: the aliens department, the German Chamber of Foreign Trade and several trade associations. Some chambers of industry and commerce as well as “Welcome Centers” may also aid you. Besides, there is a hotline called “Working and living in Germany”, which supports you in the following issues:

The hotline can be contacted from Monday to Friday, between 9:00h and 15:00h at the following phone number: +49 30 18151111

For further information visit: https://www.make-it-in-germany.com/en

Good luck!

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Service-Portal Berlin: “Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur freiberuflichen Tätigkeit - Erteilung“, in: https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/328332/ (11.09.2018)

Service-Portal Berlin: “Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur selbstständigen Tätigkeit - Erteilung“, in: https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/305249/ (11.09.2018)

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