Freelancer positions are those types of jobs that greatly depend on the person and individual who perform it. Under German administration system there is a difference between Freelancer (Freiberufler) and self-employed (selbststaendiger/Gewerbetreibender). Although both titles represent jobs that you are not employed and are your own boss and have to personally and independently manage your job but self-employed people must register themselves at the business registration office.

Who is freelancer?

Freelancer / Self-employed

Examples of freelancer jobs include artists, journalists, doctors, attorneys, business and commercial advisors, performers, authors, interpreters, scholars, teachers and a comprehensive list of similar professions. Examples of self-employed positions are real estate agencies, commercial intermediary, cafe holder and similar professions that are engaged mainly with a business activity. 

Therefore distinction between freelancer and self-employed positions is very important as you can only work as freelancer if your profession is categorised under this type, otherwise if the job is listed as commercial job, you can register yourself as businessperson “Gewerbe”.  

Skills Needed

In order to work as freelancer you need to prove your skills and qualification tailored with named profession. This can be proved through your academic records, vocational certificates and licenses. You can make your qualification and records recognised in advance before applying to work as freelancer in Germany. If you are a graduate of one of German universities and in continuation of your study or research you want to stay and work in Germany as self-employed or freelancer, subject of your business activity should be aligned with your studies and closely connected to the expertise you have acquired during study or research. 

What are requirements?

Financial Resources

One of the other elements that is important and should be taken into account for start of your job as freelancer or self-employed is availability of financial resources. Usually you should provide required finance from personal or private resources otherwise profitability of your business should be predicted in your business plan. Taking loan in some cases is also possible to run your business subject to providing adequate guarantee and a good business plan.

Approval Needed

Freelancers should get the approval of the Federal Employment Agency or approval of the Chamber of Commerce for their work and residency in Germany. This approval is granted by taking into account different factors including how this business effect on development of the local market in Germany, if there is a vacancy in the local market for your skills and profession and if there is commercial interest and regional demand for the services you provide. 

Business Plan

In order to be able to get the approval for your work as freelancer, you should prepare a business plan in which potentials for development of your business in German market is duly scanned and verified. In order to demonstrate your capabilities in your field of work, you can provide letter of intents of future customers or recommendation letters from current ones. 

Tax Registration

One of the initial actions you should conduct as freelancer is registering yourself with the tax office and get a tax number (steuernummer). You should also include this tax number in your invoices for your customers.   


Having adequate insurance including the health and retirement insurance is the other criteria that should be taken into account for grant of license and permission for your residency and work in Germany. Freelancers normally should have private insurance and if you are older than 45 years, you should also provide insurance coverage for your retirement time.

Bank Account

You should also open bank account for the income and expenses of your freelancing business. If your business work good and develop based on your estimation in your business plan, you can apply for a permanent residency of Germany after 3 years.