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Visa for self-employment

Would you like to start a business in Germany? You can find the necessary information for your visa application here.

With a visa for self-employment, you can realise your start-up project in Germany. Depending on whether you are planning on setting up a business or working as a freelancer, different conditions may apply. 

To find out whether you require a visa to enter Germany, see Who Needs a Visa?

Setting up a business

If you are looking to start a business and meet the following requirements, you can obtain a residence permit for self-employment in accordance with Section 21 (1) on the Residence Act - AufenthG

  • There needs to be an economic interest in or a regional demand for your product or service.
  • It is foreseeable that your company will have a positive effect on the economy.
  • You are able to finance the implementation of your business concept with your own capital or through a loan commitment.
  • If you are older than 45 years of age, this visa can only be issued if you can provide proof of adequate old age pension provisions.


If you would like to work as a freelancer in one of the liberal professions, you are able to obtain a residence permit for self-employment in accordance with Section 21 (5) on the Residence Act - AufenthG. You must fulfil the following requirements:   

  • You can provide proof of sufficient funds to finance your projects.
  • You have obtained any licences required to perform the job in question.
  • If you are older than 45 years of age, you must provide proof of adequate old-age pension provision.

What opportunities does the visa for self-employment offer?

A visa or residence permit for self-employment is initially issued for up to three years. If your business idea is successful and you are able to cover the costs of living for yourself and your family, the residence permit can be extended.

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If you are starting your own company, applying for a settlement permit after three years is an option.

To learn about how to realise your business idea in Germany, see Setting Up a Business

At a glance: Visa for self-employment

From the preparations to the application forms: This step-by-step guide shows you how to obtain a self-employment visa. 

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. 

You can find out more about the various contact options by clicking on one of the icons in the bar below.

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