Starting up in Business/ Self-Employment

If you are a citizen of an EU or EEA state, you have unrestricted access to the German labour market. You can also work on a self-employed basis, if you have the appropriate vocational qualifications. However, it may be that you need to have your qualifications checked first by a recognition service.

If you are not from an EU or EEA state, you will need a residence permit.

  • If you are still living in your home country, you need to apply to the German Embassy for a visa for self-employed work
  • If you are already in Germany, you must apply to the local immigration authority where you live for a residence permit for self-employed work. For this, you must produce a business plan explaining your idea and how your self-employed work will be financed. The authority will require this for the decision-making process.
  • Evidence that you are qualified for the profession will also play a major role. If possible, a recognition service must also check whether your education certificate from another country is equivalent to a German education certificate before you can set yourself up as a self-employed worker.

The website Make-it-in-Germany provides information on what you need to know to set yourself up as a self-employed worker in Germany. You can get information in English, Spanish and French. Short information are available in Russian, Arabic and other languages.

You can find more on Recognition of Education Certificates from Other Countries here.