The German Freelance Visa enables its holder(a freelance worker) to travel to Germany. A freelance worker works for different companies at different times. The worker is not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term. To clarify, you are your own boss when you are a freelancer. You are self-employed you have flexible hours and days of work. Also, you may not need an office to do your work. However, you need the following skills to be a great freelance worker:
- A lot of self-motivation.
- A sense of self-responsibility.
- Responsiveness and communication skills.
- Individual qualities related to work.
- Specialized education in your field of operation.
- You must be very innovative and creative.
How does freelancing work in Germany?
There are professions which do not allow workers to freelance in Germany (Commercial professions). On the other hand, there are professions that permit freelancing in Germany (Liberal professions). Therefore, you must understand how self-employment works in Germany. Also, you must understand all the legalities around it.
If the profession you intend to practise in Germany is a Liberal profession, then you will get a Freelance visa. Otherwise, if the profession is commercial, you will not get the visa. However, you can enter Germany as a business person.
Which profession can I work in as a Freelancer in Germany?
The EStG (Income and Tax of Germany) has a list of Liberal and Commercial professions in Germany. But, the final decision on the status of a profession depends on the local tax office.
Below is a list of Liberal professions in Germany. To clarify, you can apply for a freelance to exercise your skills in any of the following professions:
- Science and Technology.
- Tax and Business counselling.
- Linguistics and Communication.
Requirements to freelance in Germany
A freelancer in Germany does not go through the registration process for getting a trade permit. However, the freelancer must register at the tax office. The tax office is in charge of the freelancer’s tax. That is to say, the tax office issues the tax number and collects the freelancer’s taxes. Most noteworthy, the tax depends on the freelancer’s activity.
You must get registered into a chamber before practising some of these liberal professions. Similarly, for some other professions, you must get professional recognition of foreign qualification in that field before exercising that profession.
How can I work as a freelancer in Germany when I have a visa other than the Freelance Visa?
What happens if I am in Germany on another visa, and then decide to start freelancing. This is possible, but there are some conditions. You must fall in one of the descriptions below before you will be allowed to freelance in Germany.
- You are a foreigner, and you entered Germany on a visa other than the Freelance visa. In this case, you must have all the criteria for becoming a Freelancer in Germany.
- As a foreigner, you entered Germany with an artist visa. In this case, you get a freelance visa as an artist.
- You are working on a scientific project or research in Germany. You must get the freelance that expects you to work as a Scientist or researcher.
- After graduating from a recognized German school. Your profession must be related to your education.
Who needs a Freelance Visa to enter Germany?
Citizens from some countries are obliged to get a valid visa before travelling to Germany. Therefore, you must obtain a German Freelance Visa if you belong to any of these countries.
The Freelance visa is valid for 3 months. However, it can be converted to a Residence permit. Apply for a Residence Permit at the Local Foreigner’s Authority (Ausländerbehörde or Ausländeramt).
After getting the residence permit with a freelance visa, you can extend the permit for up to three years. But before the extension, you must have succeeded in your previous freelance activities. To clarify, you must be making enough money to take care of yourself and your family.
Three years after living with a Freelance-visa and a residence, you can apply for a settlement permit. Also, you must have set up a business in Germany.
Similarly, the residence permit can be converted to a residence permit for self-employment. However, you must get a permit to pursue self-employment activities in Germany.
Application fees for the Visa
The following fees apply for these applications:
- €60 for Freelance visa application fee.
- €140 for a residence permit.
- €260 for a settlement permit.
Requirements to apply for a German Freelance Visa
To get a freelance visa, you must submit all required documents the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country. This process is easy and very similar to applying for any other German visa. It is recommended to complete the application 3 months before the intended travel date.
Below is a list of required documents to apply for a German Freelance Visa:
Bring each document with another extra copy with it.
- A valid passport
- Two recent biometric photographs.
- A filled application form
- Proof of payment of application fee.
- Your Curriculum Vitae
- A cover letter.
- Proof of Freelance plan in Germany.
- Proof of Education. Provide the certificates of your education.
- Travel Insurance
- Letters of recommendation from previous employers.
- Sample of your previous work
- Professional authorization: Certain fields require prior expertise. For instance, Medicine and Law. You must show proof of your expertise and relevance to pursue that profession.
- At least 2 letters of commitment from your future customers or employers. They must state that they are willing to hire or employ you in Germany.
- Proof of finance: Any one of the following documents will suffice. Therefore, you must be able to take care of yourself and your family in Germany.
- A recent bank statement from your bank in your home country.
- Profit/Loss Statement: This document shows your forecasts for monthly profits.
- Proof of pension plan for individuals who are older than 45 years.
Freelancing in Germany
You must register yourself once you arrive in Germany. That is, you must register yourself as a freelancer.
Endeavour to follow the steps below once you arrive in Germany as a freelancer:
- Register your home address: Report your address to the German authorities once you get a permanent home. This is the Anmeldung process. Do this at the Local Resident’s Registration office. You will receive a confirmation on your living address.
- Create a German bank account:
- Register as a Freelancer with the Tax Registration Office: You will have to submit a Tax Number Registration form. Afterwards, you are issued a Tax ID. This number is used to charge your clients. Also, it is used by the tax office to cut taxes from your freelance activities.
- Obtain Health Insurance coverage from a German company.
- Apply for a Residence permit for freelancing: You must apply for a residence permit within your first 90 days in Germany. Apply for a Residence permit at the Foreigner’s Registration Office. As mentioned herein, you have to provide: a filled application form for a residence permit and other documents listed herein.
- Start executing the freelance plan you had. Contact all your clients and employer and inform them when you are available to work.
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