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 that you are your own boss and have to manage your job independently but self-employed people must register themselves at the business registration office.

What are requirements?


Applicants of EU/EEA (including Switzerland) and citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America shall not be subject to entry visa requirement to come to Germany for working as self-employed, however within 3 months as of the date of arrival in Germany should refer to the local immigration office in order to make an application for residency under the title of self-employed in Germany. This request should be made during or before laps of three months as of the date of arrival in Germany.  

Other citizens that are considered as third country citizens should apply for the entrance visa before the local German Embassy or Consulate under the title of self-employment in Germany. Upon entering to Germany, application to getting the residency permit under the named title should be made before the local immigration office in the city of your location in Germany. 

2.General Requirements

There is commercial interest or local demand for your products or services

Your business activity is likely to have positive impact on German economy

You have secured financing through loan commitment or capital

3.Business Plan

The Business Plan should contain issues on your business concept, company profile and capital plan. In the Business Plan you demonstrate a clear plan of the portfolios you want to work in, your customers, rate of growth, number of local people will be employed, contact details of the office (if available), defining products or services you provide, target clients and market conditions, sales and marketing strategy, a profile of yourself and your business and also financial plans from startup costs till income generating and becoming profitable. The Business Plan normally is reviewed by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) in order to verify the above elements and efficiency of the business in German market. 

4.Personal Capabilities

CV: Providing an overview on your academic and professional background and expertise with referral to your success or achievements as self-employed or with the employers with whom you have worked locally or internationally.  

Motivation Letter: Describing your motivation for working and moving to Germany, your targeted market and German companies, its relevance with your expertise, academic studies and profession.

Language Skills: You can refer to your language skills including English and German and if any other language is relevant to your professional market such as Spanish, Portuguese and etc. 

Financial Plan: Providing a financial plan with an overview on the operational costs, your rate, expected profit and plausible outlook on your prospective financial state in Germany.  

Proof on your expertise by providing recommendations from previous employers or testimonial from previous and current customers.

Letters of intent or commitment from German customers that show their interest to work with you upon your set of activity in Germany. 

5.German University Graduate

If you are a graduate of one of German universities and in continuation of your study or research plan 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. 

6.Financial Resources

Proof on sufficient fund for covering your self-employment costs in Germany.

Bank statement proving availability of enough fund for your professional and personal living costs. 

Balance sheet of your self-employment profit and loss during years of activity with perspective on its stability in the future or on its growth after moving to Germany.   

7.Insurance and Pension Plan

Getting German insurance prior to your registration and presence in Germany is complicated. Nevertheless, the visa application can be supported with a travel insurance or insurance services that are offered to expats that will cover your travel and also your stay in Germany; accordingly you can apply for adequate insurance inside the country. In Germany there are two main categories of insurance as public and private insurance which depending on your personal and job criteria are granted. Public insurance is normally granted to employees while self-employed people should apply for the private insurance unless you have other possibilities that offer you a public insurance. 

Applicants that are more than 45 years old and work as self-employed should also apply for a pension insurance.  

8.Accommodation and Residence

Rental contract or proof of home ownership.

Invitation letter by a Person who is legally living in Germany and has provided documents on accommodation possibility for your stay.

Hotel or other similar accommodation reservation for short time with the possibility to change into a permanent address  

9.Regisration in Germany

Both nationals of countries that do not need entrance visa to Germany and other third countries citizens that need prior visa for travelling to Germany and arriving in the country, should within 3 months as of the date of arrival refer to the local immigration office in the city they have already registered their residency and request for issuance of a residency permit for their stay and living in Germany as self-employed. 


In order that self-employed persons get the approval for their work and residency in Germany and depending on the substance and subject of their activity, prior consent of the Federal Employment Agency or approval of the Chamber of Commerce may be needed. 

11.Other Common Documents

valid passport 

Filled out visa application form

Biometric passport photo

Visa application fee


By personal interview that is normally held by the time of your visa or residency application, you have to establish your eligibility for German market as a self-employed in a way that your skills and profession is needed in the German local market and will also have a positive effect on German economy.