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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.
👌 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
✅ 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.
A Gewerbetreibender has more responsibilities than a Freiberufler. If a business registers as a Gewerbe, you must:
📌 Obtain a trade license (Gewerbeschein). This can be requested by your client when you enter into a contract with you, and the migration office requests it when you apply for a freelancer visa.
📌 Pay trade tax (Gewerbesteuer). If your profits exceed €24,500 per year, you must pay trade tax (Gewerbesteuer). Registration for the payment of trade tax is formalized when you register your business.
📌 Sign up for the trade register (Handelsregister).
📌 Keep double bookkeeping if profits exceed €60,000 per year, or income exceeds €600,000 per year, or Gewerbetreibender is entered in the commercial register (Handelsregister).
When you apply for a freelancer visa or permanent residence permit, the required documents for Freiberufler and Gewerbetreibende are also different.
Freelancers in Germany are also eligible for a number of tax deductions and benefits. These deductions and exemptions can vary depending on the specific situation, here are some of them:
👶 General tax deductions: child deductions, education deductions, health deductions and others that are available to both employees and freelancers, depending on their income and marital status.
💼 Business expense deductions: include office equipment, office rent, professional literature, marketing, travel, and other business-related expenses.
👩⚕️Health insurance deductions: you can get tax deductions for health insurance payments, but freelancers must pay their own health insurance premiums
🧓 Tax deductions for pension contributions: it is possible to get a tax deduction for the pension contributions you pay.
🏗 Zonal exemptions: there are some tax exemptions for certain development zones.
🕵️ Professional organizations and associations: membership in professional organizations and associations can also guarantee access to various tax deductions and benefits.
It is recommended to consult with a professional tax advisor or accountant specializing in taxes for freelancers and the self-employed. These professionals can help optimize your tax profile and ensure that you receive all deductions and benefits available to you in accordance with German law.
Preparation of Documents
Confirm your qualifications as a freelancer and your interest in working in Germany, as well as your financial stability
Submit your application to the consulate or VFS
Upon arrival in Germany, apply at the ABH. Simply arrive on the designated date (usually ∼3 month after arrival) and provide the documents
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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Date of experience: August 02, 2023
Date of experience: July 31, 2023