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Residency permit for the purposes of self-employment 

  • Überblick

    ·         Overview

    Are you a foreign national and want to be self-employed in Germany? In this case, you will require a residency permit for the purposes of self-employment.

    The residency permit for the purposes of self-employment is limited to a period of three years. After expiry of these three years, you may obtain a permanent residency permit if

    ·         your company is successful and

    ·         your subsistence continues to be secured.

    Note: Do you already have a residency permit for another purpose and want to pursue self-employment? This is possible if you have the permits that are otherwise required or if the authorities have approved these.

    ·         Residency permit

    ·         Apply for permanent residency

    Who do I have to contact?

    ·         Please contact the German overseas representation (embassy/ consulate) for the issue of a visa before travelling to Germany.
    Tip: The Foreign Office has a list on its website of the representations of the Federal Republic of Germany abroad.

    ·         after entering Germany: the foreigners’ registration office in the district in which you normally reside.
    The foreigners’ registration authorities in Hesse are the district administrators and mayors of independent towns and of municipal towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

    ·         List of representations of the Federal Republic of Germany abroad.




    Before entering Germany, you must apply for a national visa in your home country.

    After entering Germany, you must apply for the residency permit in writing to the foreigners’ registration office before your visa expires. The foreigners’ registrations authority is, depending on the location, either the town administration or the district administration.

    Since 01.09.2011, residency permits have been issued in the form of a card with additional electronic functions. You will find more information under “Apply for electronic residency document (eAT)”.


    Requirements for the issue of the residency permit are:

    ·         that you fulfil the passport and via obligations.
    For the passport obligation, it is sufficient if you possess ID documents in lieu of a passport.

    ·         that you can provide for yourself without having to claim social means.
    You are considered able to provide for yourself if your

    ·         income is in an amount consistent with the simple social assistance rate (e.g. for single persons, €374) plus

    ·         costs for accommodation and heating as well as

    ·         any health insurance premiums.

    ·         that there are no grounds for your deportation.

    ·         that your residency poses no threat nor risk to the interests of the Federal republic of Germany.

    ·         Persons over the age of 45 must have appropriate pension provision.

    ·         the following economic conditions:

    ·         There is an economic interest or a regional need for your activity.

    ·         Your activity can be expected to have a positive effect on the economy.

    ·         The financing of its implementation is secured through equity capital or a credit commitment.

    If this does not apply to your project, the authorities will seek statements by expert bodies. These will clarify whether or not the planned activity is economically feasible.

    Note: In the following cases, you are not required to fulfil the economic requirements for self-employment activities:

    ·         You want to establish yourself as a freelancer.
    However, you will require

    ·         the necessary permits for the exercise of freelance activities or

    ·         at least the approval for their issue.

    ·         You have successfully completed studies at a public or publicly approved university or comparable educational institution in Germany.
    The planned self-employed activities must be in connection with the skills and knowledge acquired during the course of study.

    ·         You have, as a researcher or scientist, a residency permit for the purposes or employment or for the purposes of research.
    The planned self-employed activities must be in connection with your scientific activities or your research activities.


    ·         Evidence of the fulfilment of passport and visa obligations

    ·         Evidence of a secure means of subsistence

    ·         Evidence that there are no grounds for your deportation.

    ·         Evidence that your residency poses no threat nor risk to the interests of the Federal republic of Germany.

    ·         Evidence of the fulfilment of the economic conditions, in particular

    ·         evidence regarding the investment plans

    ·         financial evidence

    ·         depending on the activity: Evidence of professional permits (e.g. entry in the trades register)

    ·         Additionally for those over the age of 45: Evidence of appropriate pension provision

    ·         Entry in the trades register


    ·         Validity of up to one year: €100

    ·         Validity of more than one year: €110

    ·         Extensions of up to three months: €65

    ·         Extensions of more than three months: €80

    Note: The fee may be waived in exceptional circumstances only.

    Legal foundations

    ·         Section 5 Residence act (AufenthG) (General preconditions of issue)

    ·         Section 7 Residence act (AufenthG) (Residency permit)

    ·         Section 8 Residency act (AufenthG) (Extension of residency permit)

    ·         Section 21 Residency act (AufenthG) (Self-employment)

    ·         Section 45 Residency ordinance (AufenthV) (Fees)


    Citizens of members states of the EU have access to the German labour market thanks to their right to freedom of movement. In the context of their right to permanent residency, they may be gainfully employed in Germany. The same applies to other citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as Swiss citizens.

    Processing time

     4 – 6 weeks

  • Kontakt

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