Getting a Freelance Visa in Germany
8 Easy Steps
You want to get a freelance visa in Germany?
Then you should read this guide.
This guide explains two ways of applying for a German freelance visa.
- Applying for it from within Germany
- Applying for the visa from your home country.
#0 Why getting a freelance visa rocks
Many people now are able to transfer language, computer, writing, and communication skills into a full time profession. You don’t need to work for one single company.
With a freelancer visa in Germany you can work with several start-ups, businesses and individuals on need-based and part-time contracts. This allows for increased flexibility, self-management, and responsibility.
Follow the following steps to climb the ladder of independence, creativity and a new way of life.
#1 Find a Place & Register
Get yourself a room, a flat, whatever. You usually need a rental contract to register. And you need to have registered to get a freelance visa in Germany.
Sorry to say but without fulfilling these two requirements, you will not be able to even begin the visa application.
Here you can learn more about registration. Fill out the registration form online.
#2 Get Health Insurance
You need to have proof of health insurance. The easiest way for this is to get private insurance (for limited stay), if you want to apply for the freelance visa.
Many applicants for a visa in Germany get rejected because their health insurance is considered ‘insufficient’. This is because the officials require you to have a health insurance coverage that is similar in its value to the public health insurance.
CareConcept has specialised in providing health insurance packages that are accepted for visa applications. At least this is the feedback that our SympatMe users gave us. CareConcept offers its services in 6 languages.
What else do we now about this particular aspect?
If you book a health insurance package, you should make sure you get the “right type”. Apparently, some German officials demand that the health insurance packages must cost at least cost 100 Euros per month.
Because 100 Euros is the equivalent to the German public health insurance. But again, others were lucky, and cheaper packages were accepted. In our experience, you may get lucky or unlucky with some German officials.
In short: It is difficult to give advice on this because different expats have different experiences. So all we can do in this article is to tell you about these experiences.
#3 How to write the Finance Plan and Revenue Forecast for the freelance visa application
To successfully obtain a freelance visa in Germany, you need to complete two budgetary forms: the Financing Plan and Capital Budget form. You must complete both of these forms, regardless if you are an individual freelancer or starting a business.
The Financing Plan is your detailed budget, while the Capital Budget is the form to explain what capital you have to start your business.
Fill out both forms to the best of your abilities. Remember, the Financing Plan is only a projection so just fill it in with numbers that you expect to spend and receive. With the Capital Budget you only need to fill in the capital that you already own. If you do not have all the forms of capital merely strike a line through the box.
Fill these forms in honestly and recognise that this is a useful process that you should be completing either way.
This is what Diego, an American expat, says. He has successfully obtained a freelance visa in Berlin.
“The Financing Plan and the Capital Budget are two forms that are necessary if you are applying for the freelance visa. The two forms may seem intimidating, but they are only an initial projection of your funds and budget.
To fill in the form, gather the information you already have (rent, utility costs, insurance costs, personal expenses) and adjust the value to one year. If you don’t know one amount exactly, do some research and put in the average of what you think you will spend.
Remember, it is only a ‘draft budget’ so just fill it in reasonably.
#4 Schedule an Appointment
It is most convenient to schedule an appointment at the Foreigners Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) to apply for your visa online.
To find your local Foreigner’s Registration Office google “Ausländerbehörde + City”.
The website should be in English.
You can make an appointment online in most cities.
Alternatively, you also may show up at one of the following locations without an appointment, but expect to wait for several hours.
Showing up at one of the offices is best if you need your visa as soon as possible.
#5 Get the documents together for your freelance visa
Once you have completed the first steps and scheduled an appointment, it is time to get all documents together. The documents are:
- Valid passport: 1 current biometric photo, 35mm x 45mm, frontal shot with neutral facial expression and closed mouth, looking straight into the camera, light background
- the form “Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels” (Application for Issuance of a Residence Permit)
- Company profile, Not required for freelancers
- Businessplan, Not required for freelancers
- Business concept, Not required for freelancers
- Capital requirement plan, Not required for freelancers
- Financing plan
- Revenue forecast
- Curriculum vitae
- Details of professional career, qualification certificates, diploma, references/sponsors
- Professional permit of your occupation, if you have one
- If a permit is required for the freelance occupation, if you have one, for example this can be a license to practice law, or a certificate for professional translators
- Proof of Health insurance, those with private health insurance must consider the type and extent of their health insurance and it should be of the same value as a public health insurance would be, approximately 100 Euros per month; you can get immediate proof of health insurance for visa purposes at CareConcept
- Proof of a secure livelihood must also include sufficient health insurance. Those with statutory health insurance are sufficiently insured.
- Lease or proof of home ownership
- Adequate pension plan, Only if you are above the age of 45. This can, for example, be a written proof by a private pension provider. This particular document is often a hindrance for obtaining a freelance visa for older people!
This is what the official website says about this: “An offer from a private pension insurer must be submitted which guarantees a monthly pension of 1,109.88 euros after the age of 67 (for at least 12 years) or guarantees an asset amount of 159,823 euros. Alternatively, evidence can also be provided from currently available assets.”
Proof of a pension plan is not required for these nationalities: Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United States of America
Note: An adequate pension is always necessary for the issuance of a permanent residence permit – regardless of age or nationality.
As you can see the amount of paperwork for a freelance visa is enormous. It can be daunting. But don’t give up. You can do it! As a matter of fact, I know loads of people who made it – successfully!
If you feel lost and you have endless amounts of questions, I recommend you to get help with your visa application. Yes, you have to pay for it. But you increase your chances of getting your desired visa considerably. Some services even accompany you to the appointment / interview at the foreigner’s office.
If you apply for a German visa, try to get it right the first time. Our is experience tells us that, if you get declined for a visa, it only gets hard in the future. This is not to demotivate you. In contrast.
Try to get it right the first time!
#6 Attend the appointment & pay the fee
Of course, attend your appointment. It always helps to start the conversation with a confident “Guten Tag”.
Remember, you are applying for a visa to allow you to live and work in Germany.
Even if your German skills are not excellent, it is important to make the effort.
Also, if possible it is a good idea to bring along a friend who is fluent in German if you are still learning the language.
If you do not know anyone, you can always try asking fellow expats in Facebook groups. It sounds funny, but lots of expats are happy to help! Especially those, that know how nerve-wrecking the visa application process can be.
And I probably don’t need to mention this, but make sure that you have all the documents ready. And bring copies of them.
Note that with every appointment you have to pay a fee, which usually amounts to roughly 50 – 120 Euros.
#7 Time to wait…
The hardest part is always waiting. While you wait you can begin to network, learn how to file your taxes and keep your skills up-to-date.
You normally get an idea from the immigration officer whether your visa application will be approved
As long as you followed all the rules and fulfilled all of the requirements you will be opening a letter in the next several weeks or months with a pleasant result.
You have to fetch the visa in person – unless you have hired a professional service. In this case, they will take care of it for you.
#8 Receive the news & start working as a freelancer
Once you have your freelance visa, you’re offiically entitled to live and work in Germany as a freelancer. Before you start working, you still have to figure out a couple of things
- do you categorise as ‘self-employed’ or ‘freelance’ in Germany? What’s the difference?
- have you applied for your (business) tax number yet?
- where do I do my income tax declaration?
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