Visa for a start-up

Do I need a visa?

People with good start-up ideas are in demand in Germany. We explain here whether you need a visa to start your business and which other regulations may apply to you.

Citizens from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

Welcome in Germany. The right of freedom of establishment applies to you. This means that you can start your own business here without a visa or residence permit need.

Citizens from other countries

Welcome to Germany. So that you can start a business here, you need one residence permit (In the Immigration Act there are two titles that regulate the provisions for entry and residence: the permanent residence permit and the residence permit. The residence permit is limited in time and is issued for a specific purpose such as employment, training and family reunification or for humanitarian, international law or political reasons.)to exercise a self-employed activity. If you are already in Germany, a residence permit to have another purpose or a visa, which was specifically granted for the purpose of self-employment, you have already planned your business start-up and documented in a business plan, you can use the residence of self-employed for the purpose Activity in your foreigners Authority apply for. Information on planning your business start-up and writing the business plan can be found here.

Are you still in your country of origin?

Then you have to apply for a visa for the purpose of self-employment at the responsible German diplomatic mission in your area. The contact persons in your country of origin can be found on the world map.

It is best to find out which documents you will need from the responsible German dip lomatic mission before submitting your application. German chambers of commerce abroad and business associations may also provide support. Institutions at the place of residence you are considering in Germany can also offer support: For example, chambers of industry and commerce in all federal states.

The diplomatic mission forwards the visa application to the immigration authorities in your future place of residence in Germany. The immigration authorities involve other authorities and professional bodies. As a rule, processing takes two to four months. On this basis, the diplomatic mission decides whether an entry visa can be issued for your planned activity. The issued entry visa is usually valid for three months and must be given a long-term residence permit at the immigration authorities in Germany being transformed. You do not need an entry visa if you are a citizen of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the USA. Then you can enter Germany without a visa and apply for the relevant residence permit on site within three months .

A residence permit for self-employment entitles you to set up a business or a freelance business in Germany. You can find out which type of start-up is right for you here .

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