Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals

Visa for self-employment

Do you want to set up a business in Germany? For nationals of non-EU states special visa regulations apply in this case. 


Self-employed (“Gewerbetreibende”)

If you wish to set up a manual trade or retail business you can get a residence permit for self-employment (section 21 (1) of the Residence Act) if you satisfy the following requirements:

  • There is commercial interest or regional demand for your products or services.
  • Your business activity is likely to have a positive impact on the economy.
  • You have secured financing for your business by way of capital or a loan commitment.

If you are over 45 years old, a residence permit will only be issued to you if you can also provide proof of adequate provision for old age. 

Freelancers (“Freiberufler”)

 If you want to be self-employed in one of the liberal professions, you can get a residence permit for freelance work (section 21 (5) of the Residence Act). This Residence permit is granted if you can prove that you have the means to fund your project, to support yourself and a permit to exercise that profession. If you are over 45 years old, you must also provide proof that you have adequate provision for old age. 

If your business idea is successful and you are able to make a living for yourself and your family as a result of your business, you can have your residence permit extended, which is initially limited to a maximum of three years. If you set up a manual trade or retail business, you can apply for a settlement permit after just three years. You can find out how to turn your business idea into a reality in Germany in the section "Setting up a business".

Information on the internet

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Important information about residence and settlement permits in Germany (German, English, Turkish)

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Flyer „The EU Blue Card (German, English)

Load more links

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Information about permanent residence in Germany (German, English, Russian, Turkish)


Send us your questions about living and working in Germany in German or English. We will answer as soon as we can.

Write email


You can get personal advice in German and English over our hotline. We look forward to your call!

To the Hotline


Here you'll find answers to the most frequently asked questions about living and working in Germany, as well as about our Web site and partners.

Read FAQs


In our chat you can put your questions to our specialists in German or English, rapidly and without prior login.

To the chat


Schicken Sie uns Ihre Fragen zum Arbeiten und Leben in Deutschland auf Deutsch oder Englisch. Wir antworten Ihnen so schnell wie möglich.

E-Mail schreiben


Über unsere Hotline erhalten Sie am Telefon eine persönliche Beratung auf Deutsch und Englisch. Wir freuen uns auf Ihren Anruf.

Zur Hotline


Hier finden Sie Antworten auf die häufigsten Fragen zum Leben und Arbeiten in Deutschland sowie zu unserer Webseite und unseren Kooperationspartnern.

FAQ lesen


In unserem Chat können Sie Ihre Fragen auf Deutsch oder Englisch direkt an unsere Fachleute stellen, schnell und ohne Anmeldung.

Zum Chat


This website uses cookies. By continuing to browse the website, you agree to our use of cookies.