Germany Digital Nomad Visa

Article Breakdown

Rounded Germany Flag IconThere is no official digital nomad visa in Germany. You can, however, apply for a freelancer visa (Freiberufler), which allows you to work remotely for German clients.

Citizens of the Schengen Zone can live and work in Germany for as long as they want. Those who are not so fortunate have a few different visa choices depending on how long they wish to remain.

Alternatives for Digital Nomad Visas in Germany

In Germany, the German freelancer visa is the closest equivalent to the digital nomad visa. It differs from the digital nomad visa in that you must work in a few specific professions that are not exclusively considered “remote employment” to obtain freelancer status.

Entry Visa for Freelancers. You must apply for this visa at the German Embassy in your home country. You’ll need it to enter Germany and notify immigration authorities that you’re there to work. When you arrive in Germany, you exchange your visa for a Freelancer Residence Permit.

Permit for Freelance Work. With this visa, you can live and work in Germany for an extended period of time. After you arrive in Germany with your entrance visa, you must apply for the Freelancer Residence Permit at the German government Immigration Office.

If you are from the United States, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, or South Korea, you do not require an entry visa.

There are two types of freelance visas for Germany.

You can apply for one of two types of German freelancing visas based on your occupation:

  • Visa for self-employment (Freiberufler). This visa is available if your job benefits the German economy. Artists, writers, self-employed doctors, engineers, language teachers, interpreters, auditors, and architects are examples of such employment.
  • Self-employment visa (Selbständiger). If you are the founder of a company, a solo owner, or a management representative of a corporation, you may be eligible for this type of visa.
    • Your profession/business is of economic interest in Germany.
    • Your company will help the German economy.
    • Your company has been funded using either equity or a loan commitment.

If you intend to work for yourself in one of the liberal professions, you can apply for a residence permit for freelancers (“Freiberufler”). It is only valid for one year, but you can reapply.

According to German tax legislation, you must be in one of the following professions:

  • Scientist
  • Artist
  • WritersTeachersDoctor
  • Dentists
  • NotarysEngineers
  • Architects
  • Auditors
  • Tax professionals
  • Advisor
  • Licensed accountant
  • Physiotherapist
  • JournalistsInterpretersTranslators
  • PilotsVeterinarian
  • Photographer and videographer
  • Economists in Business
  • Lawyer

Freelance Visa Requirements in Germany

To be eligible for a freelance visa in Germany, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your profession must be necessary or financially advantageous to Germany.
  • You must demonstrate that you have clientele who want to collaborate with you. Prospective clients must write letters of intent indicating their intent to hire you.
  • You must demonstrate that you have enough money to live comfortably – at least €9,000 per year.
  • You must be a resident of Germany. You must obtain lodging and register your address with the local registration office (Bürgeramt).

If you are over the age of 45, you must have a sufficient pension plan. You must have: a monthly pension of at least €1,332.36 for at least 12 years, or assets totaling at least €194,631 by the age of 67.

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Required documents for a Germany Freelance Visa

To apply for a freelancing visa in Germany, you must provide the following documents:

  • Completed visa application form. Fill out the application form completely.
  • A valid passport.
  • Two biometric pictures taken recently.
  • Receipt of the paid visa application fee. You must show proof of payment for the German freelance visa application cost.
  • Health insurance. As a freelancer in Germany, you can choose between public and private health insurance. You may also need to get travel insurance, especially if you want an entry visa.
  • Letters of recommendation from former employers.
  • An updated CV detailing your professional and academic experiences.
  • Your prior job portfolio. You must give printed samples of your previous professional experience.
  • Professional certification. To demonstrate your knowledge and relevance to the intended profession, you must produce a license or other authorisation. This is required if you intend to practice a profession that needs prior expertise in the subject, such as medicine or law.
  • Certificates of previous education. Academic achievements must be demonstrated.
  • Enough financial resources. Demonstrate that you have enough money to pay your living and freelance expenses:
  • The most recent bank statements. Bank statements from a home-country bank are required to demonstrate sufficient available funds.
  • Profit and loss account. Write down the potential monthly revenues and losses from the planned freelance activities.
  • Evidence of a sufficient pension plan. Only if you are over the age of 45 must you provide proof of a pension plan:
  • Evidence of a freelance strategy.
  • Letters of intent from prospective customers/employers. Submit at least two letters of commitment from potential clients indicating their intention to hire you when you arrive in Germany.

How Do I Get a German Freelancer Visa?

Germany Coat of ArmsTo obtain a German digital nomad visa (Freelancer visa), follow the steps below:

  • Make an appointment with the German embassy in your area. The German missions abroad can be found here.
  • Gather the documentation required for a freelancer visa. Before you apply for the freelancer visa, you must gather all of the necessary paperwork. The embassy will specify which documents you want. They are listed below.
  • Attend the interview. You must bring the completed document checklist and your biometrics to your appointment (fingerprints and photo). They will also keep your passport and return it once they have made a decision.
  • Wait for a decision. After submitting your application, you should receive a decision within 15 days. It may take longer at certain periods of the year, such as before the holidays or when embassies, consulates, or visa application centers are overburdened. The visa will be attached to your passport once you have got it. Certain embassies will return your passport through courier, while others will require you to pick it up in person.
  • Travel to Germany. After receiving your visa, you may enter Germany to begin your freelance career.

Following Your Arrival in Germany

After you have secured your freelance visa and landed in Germany, the following actions must be taken:

Register your mailing address. Once you’ve found a place to live (for example, a rented apartment), you must register your address with the local Citizens Service Centre (Bürgeramt). You will be given an Anmeldebestätigung registration certificate as well as a copy of the certificate. The latter is required to open a bank account and obtain a residency permit.

Open a bank account in Germany. Once you’ve registered your residence, you’ll be able to create a bank account in Germany, which you’ll require for all of your work and transactions. You will need your registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) and your passport to create a German bank account. Additional requirements may be imposed by different banks.

Make an appointment with the tax registration office. To begin working as a freelancer in Germany, you must first register with the German Tax Office (Finanzamt), declare your freelance activity/business, and obtain a freelance tax number (Steuernummer). Sorted is a professional organization that handles your taxes as a freelancer in Germany. Contact a tax consultant right away.

Fill out the Tax Collection Questionnaire (Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung). You can fill out this form online at the German Ministry of Finances’ website (Bundesministerium der Finanzen), or you can request it from the Finanzamt. You should have the following information at your disposal:

  • Your Tax Identification Number. The one you get after registering your address.
  • Your bank account information.
  • A full description of your freelance or company activity.

Wait for your freelance tax number to arrive (Steuernummer). It may take several weeks to acquire your tax number; it should arrive in the mail.

Apply for a work permit as a freelancer. After completing all of the processes, you must apply for a freelancer residence permit at the Foreigner’s Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde). This must be completed within three months of your arrival in Germany.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following fees apply to the German freelancer visa:

  • The charge for the Embassy is €75.
  • The fee for the Ausländerbehörde is €100 (€28.80 for Turkish citizens).
  • The cost of extending a temporary residence permit is €100.
  • The permit for settlement (PR) costs €124.

There is no official Germany digital nomad visa. The approval of a freelancer visa in Germany normally takes three to four months. The processing time is determined by your country, the season, and whether you are required to submit extra documents.

Taxes work differently for freelancers than for people who work for a company. You must pay the entire tax bill yourself.

Freelancers and self-employed individuals must pay income tax on from 14% to 45% of their earnings. The taxes you must pay are determined on your income:

  • You are exempt from income tax if your annual income is less than €9,744.
  • If you earn between €9,745 and €57,918 per year, you must pay 14% to 42% in taxes.
  • If you earn between €57,919 and €274,612 per year, you must pay 42%.
  • If you earn more than €274,613 per year, you must pay 45%.

In Germany, freelancers are not required to pay social security. However, you should take care of your own health insurance, disability insurance, and life insurance.

In Germany, international students are not permitted to work as freelancers. Another option is to apply for a student visa as well as a freelancing visa.

The German Freelancer Visa, as the name suggests, permits you to live in Germany and operate as a freelancer. The total "visa" is divided into two parts:

  1. Visa for Freelancers (Entry). This is a National (D) Visa, which you must apply for at the German Embassy in your home country. This is only good for a few months, but you'll need it to enter Germany and notify immigration authorities that you're there to work. When you arrive in Germany, you exchange your visa for a Freelancer Residence Permit.
  2. Permit for Freelance Work. This is what allows you to live and work in Germany on a long-term basis. After you arrive in Germany with your entrance visa, you must apply for the Freelancer Residence Permit at the Ausländerbehörde (German Immigration Office). The visa is no longer required once you have obtained the Freelancer Residence Permit.

There is no official Germany digital nomad visa. The alternative German Freelance visa costs 60 euros, a residence permit costs 100 euros, and a settlement permit costs up to 260 euros.

There is no official Germany digital nomad visa. German Freelance visa processing time changes depending on the visa, but can take as little as one month or as long as four to five months, so do your homework before booking a flight. Allow a few months to gather all of your papers and hear back from the embassy on the status of your application.

International students (non-EU) are not permitted to work as freelancers as part of their Student Visa. However, if you identify prospective employers and complete all of the other self-employment requirements, you can apply for a Freelancer Visa at the Immigration Office, just like everyone else.

If you are in Germany with another sort of residence permit or a long-term work visa, you can apply for a Freelancer Visa at the German Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde). You must meet all of the requirements to be qualified for freelancing.

You cannot, however, apply for a Freelancer Residence Permit if you are in Germany on a tourist or other short-term visa. If you are a tourist in Germany, you must return home and reapply for the required visa, which is a National D-type visa for employment.

Overall, Germany is a highly safe country for ex-pats to visit. The crime rate is minimal, and the law is typically observed. Of course, like any large metropolis, care must be taken to avoid minor crime. To avoid pickpocketing, always keep an eye on your belongings. Many cities in Germany are as safe as or safer than cities in the rest of Europe. Germany is also regarded as one of the world's most gay-friendly cities, which is great news for LGBTQ visitors. It is also safe for female solitary travelers.

Freelancers who are not citizens of the European Union (or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Sweden) who intend to work as a Freelancer in Germany must apply for a Freelance Visa.

To submit an application, you must have evidence of potential German clients who want to cooperate with you. Artists, language teachers, and company owners who want to work or operate in Germany can apply for such visas.

There is no official Germany digital nomad visa. German Freelance visas are valid for six months to three years, depending on the information you offer in your application. You can leave Germany for up to six months per year without your visa expiring.

Your German Freelance visa allows you to stay in Germany for up to three years. To qualify for permanent residency, you must have lived in Germany for at least five years. The time you spend on a Freelance Visa can be applied to your residency period when applying for permanent residency.

The Germany Freelance Visa allows you to live and work in Germany for up to three years, as well as travel freely throughout the Schengen area. You can freelance for both German and international companies, but keep in mind that foreign income is taxed in Germany.

You can only work as a freelancer in Germany if you have a residence permit; a student visa does not allow you to work. For example, if you have a work permit, you can freelance in addition to your regular job, but you cannot abandon your regular job. If you want to quit your sponsored job and work as a freelancer in Germany, you must apply for a German Freelance Visa. You may apply from anywhere in the country.

If you have a German Freelance Visa, you can apply for Dependent Visas to bring your spouse or dependent children with you. You must demonstrate that you have enough money to maintain your dependents and that they are covered by health insurance. For the period of their visa, your dependents are permitted to work and study in Germany.

All applications for a German Freelance Visa include a face-to-face interview, and you must bring all of your application papers with you. Before attending your interview, you should have located a place to reside in Germany and obtained health insurance.

The interviewer will want to know why you need to be in Germany to complete your freelancing work, which usually requires confirmation of German clients willing to work with you. They will also want to see proof that you can support yourself in Germany. This entails demonstrating that you have enough money to cover your rent and health insurance, plus an additional €449 per month for living expenditures.

As a German resident on a German Freelance Visa, you must pay local taxes, including VAT on products and services provided. The typical VAT rate for most freelance work is 19%; this applies in around 95% of cases. Certain goods and services are subject to a 7% VAT rate.

Agricultural items, books, periodicals, and other publications, medical and nursing supplies, and works of art may be subject to a reduced tariff.

Dental services, admission fees to cultural events, overnight lodging, and services for non-profits and charities are examples of services that may be subject to the cheaper cost.

The Artist Visa, a subtype of the Freelance Visa, is intended for artists who can demonstrate a need to be in Germany for the sake of their artistic profession. It is exclusively available in Berlin.

This visa has an advantage over a conventional Freelance Visa, which artists can also apply for, in that your application does not need to be examined and authorized by the Chamber of Commerce. This means it can be given right away. A Freelance Visa typically takes 8-12 weeks to process, although it can be obtained from any German city or worldwide German embassy.

If you intend to apply for a German Freelance Visa as a self-employed person, you must show that your business activities: (1) meet an economic interest or regional need; (2) will have a positive effect on the economy; and (3) that you have the personal capital or loan undertaking to realize your business idea. This information should be submitted in the form of a detailed business plan that will be assessed by the relevant trade and industry authorities.
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