How to apply for a self-employed Visa in Germany as a non-EU Citizen

You are Citizens from non-EU countries? You want to set up a self-employed or freelance business in Germany but don’t know-how.

One of the most important documents you will need is a residence permit for self-employment. How can you get it? Read this Toolkit to know the right way and the necessary documents.

Please note: the information in this article is not suitable for people who already have a settlement permit in Germany.

  1. Requirements for an application

You are Graduates from a German university, researchers, and academics:

You must be able to earn a living in Germany if you want to start a business in connection with the knowledge from your studies or research. 

People within Graduates from a German university or within residence permit for research purposes:

You must fulfill general criteria and the following additional requirements to receive a self-employed visa. These requirements should ideally be convincingly covered in your business plan.

  • 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.
  1. Processing of a visa application

The process of applying for a self-employed visa as a non-EU citizen is briefly described below:

  • Your documents for an application for a self-employed visa must be sent to the immigration authority if you are already in Germany or to the relevant German mission if you are in your home country.
  • The German mission abroad sends your visa application to the immigration authority at your future place of residence in Germany.
  • The immigration authority will process your application in 2 to 4 months and decide whether or not you will get the entry visa (for 3 months)
  1. Documents for an application:

To apply for a residence permit, you need normally the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Valid passport
  • Business plan
  • Proof of health insurance
  • People over 45 years of age: Proof of adequate retirement provision
  • Your references (recommend)
  • Your entrepreneurial experience (recommend)
  • Researchers and scientists: current employment contract
  • Graduates from German universities: copy of your diploma
  1. Supporting:

Before applying, you should contact your mission or immigration service for more information. You can also find support at the German Chambers of Commerce and German trade associations abroad. The chambers of industry and commerce (IHK) in many cities in Germany can also help you.

Who is it for?

This article is intended for migrant founders, who need important information and support to apply for a business visa in Germany.

About the author:

Make it in Germany is the information portal of the German government and has a strong partner network. This portal offers information and personal advisory services for qualified professionals from all over the world to come and work in Germany.

Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie


Make it in Germany. (English).

Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, GründerZeiten 10: Existenzgründungen durch Migrantinnen und Migranten, 2020 (German).

About the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit:

The Toolkit provides you an overview of a startup path and gives you clear, concise information to make smart business decisions. Through our Toolkit, you will have access to official documents, research, and information related to starting a business in the EU.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *