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Get a visa

Should you decide to start your own business in Germany, you may have to get a residence permit. The requirements for a residence permit and for work authorization differ depending on your nationality. Citizens from an EU member state, an EEA (European Economic Area) country or Switzerland do not require a residence permit and may set up a business in any other member state. However, few exceptions may apply.

Citizens of non-EU countries have to apply for a residence permit with specific purpose of employment or commercial activity. Once you have a permit, you are free to earn money through self-employment. If your business meets certain criteria, you and your family can get a residence permit. However, first you have to show that your business is specialized enough and economically viable.

Find out more about requirements for foreigners working in Germany at the BAMF website.

Self-employed people can receive a residence visa which allows them to stay in Germany for up to three years with the possibility of extension, depending on the success of their business. Documented proof of the beneficial impact of your company, capital coverage, viability of your business plan, amount of investment and the potential contribution of your project to innovation and commerce have to be established in advance. You will have to convince the IHK that your business is beneficial for the region. We can help you successfully meet these requirements and ultimately show that you have the right qualifications to convince the IHK.

The most important factor for getting the self-employed residence visa is a solid business plan. We also help you set up your company while you are still abroad. This is especially important for non-EU citizens who might not be able to travel to Germany easily because of visa restrictions. If you are self-employed and a freelancer, you do not need a business plan, but rather a calculation of your expected revenue. Leave the financial planning to the professionals and do not worry about the costs because you can get our services subsidized. Read more about subsidies here (Get subsidies).

As mentioned before, usually you have to have lived in Germany for at least five years and have excellent German language skills to be granted a permanent residence visa. However, if you own a business, you might be able to get a permanent residence visa after just three years. In order to do that, you will have to have a convincing business plan. A substantial business plan can allow you to get a longer term visa.


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