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Self-employment in Germany
Self employment (stock photo), © colourbox
If you want to become self-employed in Germany, you may need to apply for a visa.
Who needs a visa?
For stays longer than 90 days, foreign citizens generally require a visa. Excluded from this are EU citizens (European Union), citizens of the EEA (European Economic Area) and citizens of Switzerland.
Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United States of America and the UK and Northern Ireland can also obtain a required residence permit after entering Germany from the immigration authorities responsible in Germany. You do not need to apply for a visa before moving to Germany.
For all other nationals residing in France, the following applies: visas for a long-term stay must be obtained from the Embassy in Paris before entering the country.
How do I get an appointment to submit an application?
Please use the following link for a free registration on the waiting list for an appointment to apply for a visa at the Embassy in Paris: Visa section Appointment waiting list
If a minor is accompanying you to Germany, please state this when registering in the appointment waiting list. You need a separate appointment and the application has to be submitted in person.
Please expect a waiting time of at least 12 weeks for an appointment. You will receive an e-mail with the date and time approximately two weeks before your appointment.
We kindly ask you to refrain from making written or telephone appointment requests. Due to the high volume of applications and limited processing capacities, it is not possible to shorten the waiting time.
Which documents are required?
Please bring the following documents:
- two complete printouts of your electronic visa application: VIDEX
Using VIEDX speeds up the processing time at the embassy. If you cannot fill out the application online, you can download the application form here:
Form: Application for a national visa (German/English)
Form: Application for a national visa (German/French)
Form: Application for a national visa (German/Arabic)
- two current biometric passport photos: photo template
- valid passport, original and two copies (the passport must have at least two blank pages)
- valid French residence permit and two copies
your complete business concept and two copies
The concept should contain the plan outlining the required funds („Kapitalbedarfsplan“), a financing plan, a marketing strategy and a revenue forecast (“Ertragsvorschau”). In addition, it should state how many jobs and training positions are likely to be created.
- evidence of academic degrees and qualifications, original and two copies
All certificates must be submitted in German, English or French. Certificates in other languages must be translated into German, English or French by a sworn translator. Please use the link for further information regarding a sworn translator: Translations (in French language)
Certificates on multilingual forms do not have to be translated if they contain a German language version.
Documents from many countries require legalization or an apostille for use in Germany. This should already be available when the application is submitted, but can also be submitted later in the course of the application process. Please use the following link for further information: Foreign public documents for use in Germany
- proof of adequate financial means
Adequate forms of proof are:
bank statements covering the last three months OR
a blocked account with the stated amount OR
a declaration of commitment from a person living in Germany, in which the person agrees to bear the costs of your living expensesRead the guidance for the full list of what exactly is recognized as proof: Proof of adequate financial means
- CV in original and two copies
- proof of health insurance valid in Germany (must be presented at the latest when picking up the visa)
Voluntary insurance in the statutory German health insurance system is possible once resident in Germany. You must provide proof of health insurance for the period between entry and admission to statutory health insurance.
Please note that your application can only be processed if your documents are complete on the day you submit your application. Occasionally, the submission of additional documents may be required.
Fees and costs
The processing fee for a national visa is 75,00 euros in most cases and 37,50 euros for minors. The fee is to be paid in cash when the application is submitted to the embassy. Please bring the correct amount with you.
The processing fee cannot be reimbursed, this applies also when the visa has been denied.
Important : Apart from the processing fee mentioned above payable to the embassy in Paris, there are no further fees (e.g. for arranging an appointment). Only expenses for e.g. returning your passport containing the visa by post must be borne by the applicant.
How long does it take to obtain a visa ?
The embassy in Paris will decide on your application after the responsible immigration authorities in Germany have been involved. On average, the processing time from the day the application was submitted is a few months. Please refrain from making inquiries regarding the developement during this time.
We will contact you once your visa application has been processed. If your application is approved, we will email you when and how to submit your passport to obtain the visa.
If your visa application has been rejected, there can be various reasons. We will tell you these reasons in a rejection notice. You can submit a new application with complete, meaningful and verifiable documents at any time.
For how long is the visa valid?
If you are granted a visa to enter Germany, it will be valid for three months from the date of being issued.
Your visa will contain your full name, passport number and photo. The number of days of stay and the period of validity of the visa are specified, i.e. the time you have until you receive your domestic residence permit.
Please remember to register with the residents' registration office immediately after entering Germany. The visa allows you to travel within the Schengen area.
Information in accordance with Art. 13 and 14 of the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation) on data protection in the visa application process can be found here: Information on data protection (in German language)