In Germany, there are two ways of setting up your own business: you can either work as a freelancer (Freiberufler) or set up a business as a self-employed entrepreneur (Gewerbe). Find out more about the best approach for you in the article on types of new businesses.
If you would like to set up a business as a self-employed entrepreneur, you will have to apply for a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment. To obtain this permit, you must fulfil a number of general criteria and the following additional requirements, which you should ideally cover in your business plan in a convincing way:
- There is commercial interest or regional demand for your products or services.
- Your business activity is likely to have a positive impact on the German economy.
- You have secured financing for your business by way of capital or a loan commitment.
Advisory services, such as business associations located in your target region, will help you assess whether you fulfil the requirements listed above.
Did you graduate from a German university, or do you have a residence permit for the purpose of research?
If you would like to set up a business related to your academic degree or your research activities, you will also have to apply for a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment. You do not have to fulfil the requirements above.