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Special regulations for artists

Would you like to work as an employed or self-employed artist in Germany? Find out which visa regulations apply to your situation.

The German labour market is also open to creative workers from abroad. To find out if you need a visa to enter or a residence permit to stay in Germany, see the “Do I need a visa?” section.

You want to be employed as an artist

If you intend to work as an employee in the cultural and entertainment sector for more than 90 days, the procedure is as follows:

  • You apply for a (work) visa at the German mission abroad;
  • The competent German diplomatic mission will then send a request to the Federal Employment Agency (BA) for approval. If approved by the BA, your visa can be issued.

For more information on how to apply for a visa, please contact the German diplomatic mission in your country.

Exceptions may apply in the case of temporary employment as an artist. The German diplomatic missions may have sole authority to decide on whether to issue a visa for the following groups of people; the BA does not have to approve the employment in this case:

  • People who, while maintaining their habitual residence abroad, engage in performances of special artistic value, festivals or music and cultural events if the duration of the activity does not exceed 90 days within a period of 12 months;
  • People performing in one-day shows or events for up to 15 days a year.

You want to work as a self-employed artist

If you are a creative worker from abroad and plan to stay in Germany for a longer period (more than 90 days) to work independently, you will usually need a visa for self-employment. Once you are in Germany, this visa subsequently needs to be converted into a residence permit for the purpose of exercising a freelance activity.

To obtain this residence title, you will need to provide the following:

  • evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover your living expenses; and
  • if you are aged over 45, adequate provision for old age.

In addition, artists are among those in the liberal professions who are allowed to work in Germany without a licence to practise their profession. Detailed information on the requirements, fiscal aspects and legal forms for freelancers can be found on the Service portal of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. This information applies to the whole of Germany.

Performers and creative and cultural workers who want to work in Germany can find answers to their questions about international mobility at www.touring-artists.info.

Do you have any questions?

Let us advise you on your opportunities to work and live in Germany. Our experts will support you with questions regarding job search, visa, recognition and learning German. 

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