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Artists

Not only doctors and engineers but also the so-called “special occupational groups” have access to the German labour market. Special occupational groups are skilled workers who require a specific qualification profile or have to be part of an essential economic sector in order to work in their profession. Artists are part of that specific occupational group.

As a citizen of the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland you require neither an entry visa nor a residence permit to work as an artist in Germany.

As a citizen of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the USA you may enter Germany without a visa and obtain a residence permit after your arrival. However, you may not take up gainful employment until you have been granted the proper residence permit.

If you come from a different country, you will initially require an entry visa – which can be replaced with a residence permit at a later point in time – allowing you to take up gainful employment in Germany. Self-employment as well as working as a (salaried) employee are considered as gainful employment.
 

Dependent employment

In the case of dependent employment in the cultural and entertainment fields, in which you are occupied for up to 90 days, the procedure runs as follows: after you as an artist have applied for a work visa at their German mission abroad, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) will be contacting you to give you consent. In case of approval by the BA, the visa can be issued. You can get more information on that topic at your local German mission abroad.

There may be exceptions in the case of temporary dependent employment. If the requirements are met, the German missions abroad assess whether the employment in question does or does not require approval:

  • The professional is working in the context of performances, music and festivals of artistic value while maintaining their regular residence abroad, without having the duration of their activity exceed 90 days within 12 months;
  • The professional is performing in daily performances up to 15 days per year.
     

Self-employed activities

Artists from abroad who are planning a long-term stay (more than 90 days) in order to work independently generally need a visa for self-employment. In Germany, this visa subsequently needs to be converted into a residence permit for the practice of self-employed activity. The residence permit requires i.a. proof of your financial means to cover your living expenses and the BA's approval. The profession of an artist is considered an independent occupation. Some of these independent professions in Germany may be practiced without meeting any specified preconditions for admission. Detailed information on requirements, tax issues and the legal forms of freelance professionals can be found on the service webpages of Baden-Württemberg.

This information applies throughout Germany. Exceptions may apply in cases of temporary employment. If the following requirements are met, the German mission abroad assesses whether the employment in question does or does not require approval:

  • The professional is working in the context of performances, music and festivals of artistic value while maintaining their regular residence abroad, without having the duration of their activity exceed 90 days within 12 months;
  • The professional is performing in daily performances up to 15 days a year.

Performers, creatives and creative artists as well as those wanting to work in Germany can find answers to their questions regarding international mobility at www.touring-artists.info.

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