Germany is a country where there is a strong tie between residence and self-employed status. Unless an individual has some sort of residency permit, establishing a self-employed business will be difficult if not impossible. Developing your self-employment in Germany requires consulting with German authorities specialising in residence permits and on labor, business, and tax laws.
It is likely that you will automatically receive a residence permit for both yourself and your family if you meet certain criteria and can clearly demonstrate that your business will have a positive impact on the German economy.
A business’ type, qualifications, and whether or not you could do something that a German national or another qualified resident could do are usually the primary criteria for determining eligibility. It is likely that the local Foreigners Agency will request certain documentation and then may seek insight from the Chamber of Commerce or another business organization as to whether or not your business is specialized enough and economically viable. Depending on whether your business, for example an international SEO agency, is approved, you may be issued a permit. Nevertheless, there may be limitations on the activities you can do, such as the type of self-employment you are permitted to carry out and the geographical location in which you can carry it out. This decision is left up to the local authorities.
Also, you need to be aware of a number of factors if you plan to set up a business or work in Germany. The best source for information regarding the recognition of foreign qualifications is the German Federal Government.
The establishment of a business involves several steps, including resolving residence permit issues.
There is another requirement: the type of business you intend to engage in must be classified. Rules and regulations may differ depending on your profession, and it is wise to seek expert assistance while getting a work permit.
Lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, and other licensed professionals are considered Freiberuflers. Other professions are considered trades – like butchers, barbers, florists etc. Freelancers are writers, artists, performers, independent consultants, etc.
Depending on your classification, you may have different tax obligations, different licensing requirements, and perhaps membership in certain associations or other “chambers”.
It is recommended to check with the local Trades Office if you intend to participate in any type of “trade” and be prepared to submit a certificate of registration to the Trades Office (Gewerbeamt).
There may be exemptions for certain types of professionals, such as those engaged in agriculture and forestry, from certain registration requirements at the Gewerbeamt. However, there may be other rules and requirements to follow.
The possibility of engaging in “Crafts” in Germany may require the approval of a trade association and the proof that one meets specific German standards regarding the craft.
Those who work as “freelancers” are subject to a separate set of regulations, laws, and procedures than those who work for a firm.
There is no way to emphasize enough the importance of obtaining professional assistance when working as a self-employed person in Germany. Because regulations and laws continually change, you should seek professional assistance to prevent misunderstandings.