Guide: Freelance visa in Germany 🇩🇪

  • Term of receipt: up to 6 months, depends on country of submission
  • 🤑 Requirements: savings of €11,840 per adult and €5,920 per child
  • 📄 Work: profession and experience suitable for Freiberufler
  • 💻 Experience: portfolios and letters of recommendation
  • Contract: only German сustomers
  • 🎓 Education: higher education diploma
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🚩 Since the beginning of October 2023, the Berlin foreign affairs authority has ceased to accept documents for freelance residence permits from applicants in Germany entered on Schengen visas. Applicants who had prepared their document packages in advance are also facing rejections. Therefore, it is advisable to postpone your trip to Germany for applying for Freelance visa until a new processing procedure becomes available.

The process of obtaining a freelance visa is more complex and time-consuming than obtaining a Blue Card. One of the main difficulties is the complex and less formalized set of required documents, often necessitating assistance from lawyers with varying levels of expertise. The Germany freelance work visa permits allow working only in a specific profession with clients in Germany, but it does not set a minimum income requirement.

There are no guarantees that freelance residence permit Germany will be extended after its expiration if your income does not meet the legal freelance visa Germany requirements. Additionally, health insurance for freelancers is mandatory and can be costly.

Unlike salaried employees, freelancers must independently manage their social security, including pension insurance, health insurance, and unemployment insurance and taxes.

It is recommended to apply for these visas at consulates with experience in issuing them, such as those in Russia, Serbia, and Turkey.

The opportunities of this freelance visa and residence permit include:

👌 Issued for a duration of 1 to 3 years, depending on your business plan and financial stability.
👌 The possibility of applying for permanent residency after 3 years of successful freelance activity and proficiency in the German language.
👌 The option to relocate with your family, provided financial stability is demonstrated for all family members.
👌 Flexibility in selecting projects and clients.
👌 Tax deductions for business-related expenses and work-from-home arrangements.

📌 You will need to show savings in a blocked account to demonstrate adequate financial security
There are 2 types of freelancers recognized in Germany:

Freiberufler: a self-employed person with special qualifications who sells his/her services. This does not include actors, artisans, cab drivers, delivery drivers and most photographers. Freiberufler are representatives of certain professions: engineer, architect doctor, nurse (home care/ elderly care), massage therapist, psychotherapist/psychologist with medical degree, dentist, language teacher, speech therapist, trainer, accountant, economist, auditor, artist, journalist, writer, copywriter, translator, interpreter, lawyer, notary, tax consultant, nanny, geodesist, biologist, veterinarian, business consultant, IT consultant, IT consulting, IT specialists, software development and system administration, designer, pilot, scientific researcher etc.

Selbständiger/Gewerbetreibender: if you sell products or apps, if you have a website or if you are a co-founder. In other words, if you are self-employed but not a Freiberufler, such a business is a trade (Gewerbe). Websites that are funded by advertising or affiliate links are almost always Gewerbe. Delivery drivers, actors, craftsmen, cab drivers, tour guides and most photographers are not Freiberufler; they are classified as Gewerbe. Most commercial websites are registered as Gewerbe. If goods are sold, it is rare for such activities to be labeled as Freiberufler.

🚩 How to choose? Essentially, there is no choice. The Financial Office decides who a freelancer is when he or she registers his or her business. The Migration Office uses the same definition as the Finance Office when applying for a freelancer's residence permit. If the application is submitted as a Freiberufler but the Financial Office decides it is a Gewerbetreibender, it can retroactively oblige the freelancer to pay trade tax.
Which type of freelancers your activity belongs to?

Check-list for Freelance visa application in your country consulate or visa center:

  • Make an appointment
  • International passport
  • Find a place to live in Germany for the first three months
  • Higher education diploma
  • Confirmating of work experience and portfolio
  • Evidence of financial sustainability
  • Letters of intent or contracts from customers in Germany
  • Recommendation letters
  • Professional authorization (if applicable)
  • CV
  • Health insurance
Do you still have questions? Feel free to ask us.

What does a typical process looks like:

1

Preparation of Documents

Confirm your qualifications as a freelancer and your interest in working in Germany, as well as your financial stability

2

Visa application

Submit your application to the consulate or VFS

3

ABH Application

Upon arrival in Germany, apply at the ABH. Simply arrive on the designated date (usually ∼3 month after arrival) and provide the documents

4

Wait for your Residence Card

On average, getting your residence card may take up to 6 months in some cases and lands

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