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Digital Nomad Visa For Germany

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Freelance Visa For Germany

Germany Quick Facts

Germany is the biggest European economy and fifth-largest country when it comes to area, covering 357,022 square kilometers. From rich history to diverse culture, language, food, and technology Germany has a lot to offer. But that’s not all about Germany, let’s discover some quick facts about Germany.

Capital Berlin
Form of Government Federal Multiparty Republic
Population Around 83 million
Climate Temperate
Language German
Currency Euro - Need Help Converting?
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Germany is a country full of a culture where is one of the oldest obsessions of German culture, resulting in some of the most important literary works of the last century, like “The Magic Mountain” by Thomas Mann and “The Perfume” by Patrick Süskind. Is not surprising that Frankfurt’s Book Festival is the largest in the world.

The magazine was first invented in Germany in 1663, and German directors and screenwriters have been one of the most influential nationalities in the history of cinematography, but also in other arts with movements such as German Expressionism.

The German government pays so much attention to culture and education, that university is free for everyone, including non-Germans.

It is not surprising that the world’s oldest brewery in a country so famous for its love for beer, with the Weihenstephan Abbey having been established in 1040 and working ever since. Other than beer, bread is also a strong representative of German culture. Germany’s 17,000 bakers bake over 300 various styles.

German’s love for football is eternal and so there are over 26,000 football clubs in Germany with around 6 million members. Also, Germany’s football team is extremely successful having won 4 world cups.

Travelling is the Germans’ favorite activity and that’s why they spend more while traveling overseas than any other travelers, which also makes them excellent hosts!

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Germany Digital Nomad Visa Overview

If you want to work remotely and live in Germany, there are two ways to do so: you will need to apply for the freelancer (Freiberuflich) residence permit, which has a duration of 1 year and can be reapplied for.

To be considered a freelancer according to german tax law you must have one of the following or similar professions:

Scientist Artist Writer Teacher Doctor Dentists Notary Engineers Architects Auditors Tax consultants Advisor Sworn accountant Physiotherapist Journalist Interpreter Translators Pilot Veterinarian Photo reporter Business Economists Lawyer
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If you are not in one of the categories considered valid for freelance work, you will be required to get a Gewerbetreibende (Self-employed) residence permit, which is intended for those looking to establish a business in the country and won’t apply for most digital nomads.

An essential thing to keep in mind when looking for information on remote working from Germany as a foreigner is the distinction between “freelancer” and “self-employed”, as the latter means you have your own company or brand, which entirely changes the requirements you must fulfill in terms of taxes, registration, visa application, etc.

According to the German government, the principal consideration when processing visa application requests is the potential positive economic or cultural impact your freelance occupation has for the country.

The processing time for the visa application to be processed is around 5 weeks and requires you to provide documentation that provides insight into your professional and financial history, as well as plans.

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Germany is one of the countries that require foreign freelancers to register their activity with the tax authorities. There are 2 taxes you have to pay as a freelancer in Germany:

Income Tax

 

Paid by any freelancer with an income higher than €9,169. This tax has a base of 14% that can go up to 42% depending on the case.

Added Value Tax

 

Paid by all freelancers based on your revenue, it can be as low as 7% but the average paid is 19%

While the paying of taxes certainly adds a layer of complexity to working in Germany as a digital nomad, this goes in hand with all the benefits that living in the country with the biggest economy in Europe implies.

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What is a Germany Freelance Visa?

The Germany freelance visa is the document that allows foreign freelancers to travel to Germany and work in the country for a period longer than 3 months.

With this visa, you can provide services in any field such as web development, writing, digital marketing, and any other activity that is covered by the categories listed before in a remote manner.

As with most visas of this type, you will be able to work for your international clients remotely, but with the added benefit of having the legal status to work for German local clients as long as you are under no full-time, part-time, or remote contract.

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Types of Germany Freelance Visa

Germany has two types of freelance visas for people that want to live and work in Germany:
Artist Freelance Visa and Work Freelance Visa


It is important to select the right type of visa for your needs, as any incongruence in the information provided or selecting a category that does not apply for a freelance visa at all, might result in your application being denied.

It might happen that if the activity used for your application can’t be clearly defined under one of the categories, the people in charge of processing your application will forward it to the Federal Employment Agency. In such a case the approval process will take up to three months while this agency reviews your application.

To facilitate the process and increase the chances of getting your visa approved on time, try to be as clear as possible when it comes to your job title and other information required by the application form.

Artist Freelance Visa

 

As the name suggests, the artist freelance visa is offered only to artists who plan to reside in the country’s capital: Berlin. Any artist interested in living in a different German city will need to apply for the work freelance visa.

 

The only difference between work and artist visa is that to get an Artist Freelance Visa, you need to be in a profession related to either art or journalism.

 

You will also need to provide documentation that confirms your activities in these areas, such as portfolios, artistic history, confirmation from clients, degrees, etc.

Work Freelance Visa

 

While the Artist Freelance Visa can be approved almost immediately, the Work Freelance Visa application has to be sent to the Federal Employment Agency in all cases to be reviewed and processed under local laws.

 

Just as with the artist freelance visa, you will be required to provide documentation that confirms your work activities as well as financial status, making the two visas different in terms of name and processing time only.

Now that you know the different visa types most appropriate for digital nomads, you will need to apply for a “residence permit for the purpose of freelance employment”, which with some luck will result in your application being approved if you can fulfill the requirements.

Who Can Apply for the
Digital Nomad Visa for Germany

Germany is one of the most welcoming countries for foreigners in the European continent, which is reflected by its strong expat community and cultural diversity. Those interested in joining them can apply from anywhere around the world.


Citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein don’t need a freelance visa to live and work in Germany, as their countries have international agreements that allow them to move freely to countries in the European union.

As so, if you belong to any of these places, the rest of the information we are about to provide is not relevant for you, but you might want to keep reading if you want to know how lucky you are

Citizens belonging to countries like Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, the USA, and other countries can enter and stay in Germany without a visa for up to 90 days as tourists. You can look if your country is exempted from this list.


It is important to note, however, that working as a freelancer in the country while under a tourist visa would be against the laws of the country, and would not provide you with the benefit of being able to network and work with local clientele.

There are no restrictions on who can apply for the freelance visa for Germany based on nationality or ethnicity, as well as no quota on how many applications can be submitted or approved, which is a huge reflection of Germany’s attitude towards foreigners.

How To Apply For the
Digital Nomad Visa For Germany

The application for the German freelance visa can take longer than those for other countries. However, this is due to how the applications are processed and not necessarily due to the application itself being more complicated or requiring more documentation.

As with any other country, Germany will require you to certify that your travel’s purposes are coherent with the visa being requested, as well as to the positive impact of your activity in the country.

As the process itself already takes some time, you will need to make sure to follow the steps and provide the correct documentation to avoid any delays that can arise.


Requirements for Applying

There are a few legal requirements that you need to fulfill before starting as a freelancer in Germany. Here’s what you need:


You are required to be at least 18 years of age.

You should have a license and not have been banned from practicing the profession that you plan to continue in Germany.

Before starting as a freelancer, you need to register your planned activity. You will be required to do this in the tax office (Finanzamt) when applying as a freelancer or artist(freiberuflich). Also, for a few selected professions, you may need to prove that you don’t have any previous criminal records.

To apply for the visa/resident permit itself, you will need to:

Be a freelancer in one of the eligible categories mentioned previously in this article.

If you are over 45 years old you will be required to have an adequate pension plan which can be in the form of

- Monthly pension or other income of 1,280.06 euros, with a minimum duration of 12 years.
- Asset amount of 187,682.00 euros.

Having the financial means to move and live in Germany without requiring government support.

If you fulfill these requirements, you will be required to provide documentation proving that you do so, as well as documentation that proves your identity and potential to have a positive impact on the country.

You will also be required to provide the original plus 2 copies of all support documentation. The required documentation is:

Completed application form

Passport with at least 2 empty pages, issued within the last 10 years

Two recent photographs.

Proof of health insurance

Payment of visa application fee

If you are a researcher or academic: Current employment contract.

Proof of health insurance

If you have graduated from a university in Germany: Copy of degree certificate.

If you are over 45 years old and not from the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and the United States of America: Proof of pension plan

Other documentation that might be needed depending on your specific circumstances is:

Recommendation letter from previous employers.

Curriculum vitae

Portfolio of your previous work

Means of subsistence: latest bank statement, blocked bank account, profit/loss statement.

As the documentation required might vary, it is a good idea to contact your local immigration authority and ask for the latest requirements for the specific visa you are applying for and your work activity’s category.

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How much does it cost?

When you apply for a visa, a residence permit, settlement permit, or any such document for getting your visa in any country, you generally have to pay a fee.

In this case, the fee has a cost of 75 Euros to be paid in the local currency. This is a non-refundable fee, which means the money will not be returned if the visa is denied.

The handling fees for the residence permit can cost up to 100 Euros in 2020.

Other costs might be incurred depending on your specific circumstances if you are required to pay for any of the supporting documentation.


Timeline for Applying

The freelance visa usually takes up to three months to get processed as it has to be sent to the Federal Employment Agency to get reviewed unless you are applying for a Berlin Artist Freelance Visa, which would be reviewed immediately.


We recommend that you follow this process 2 to 3 months before applying for the visa, as it is sure to be denied if you don’t fulfill the requirements.

  1. Make sure you comply with the prerequisites.
  2. Get the documentation required for the visa application process.
  3. Make an appointment at your local German embassy.
  4. Present yourself on the day of the appointment with the necessary documentation and pay the fee.
  5. Wait up to 3 months for the visa application to be processed.
  6. If your visa application has been approved, you must travel to Germany, and show that you have adequate health insurance in Germany.
  7. Make an appointment with the Foreigners Authority to apply for the residence permit for self-employment. This must be applied for before the expiration of your entry visa.

Now that you know what is needed to move to Germany and work as a freelancer, you are ready to start the process.

While there is a lot of work involved in getting your visa and preparing your trip, the rewards are sure to be huge both in terms of fun, culture, and business as Germany is one of the best destinations for all of these.

Gute Reise!

 

Do you qualify for this visa?
Requirements for Applying
Be a freelancer in one of the eligible categories mentioned previously in this article.
"If you are over 45 years old you will be required to have an adequate pension plan which can be in the form of

- Monthly pension or other income of 1,280.06 euros, with a minimum duration of 12 years.
- Asset amount of 187,682.00 euros."
Having the financial means to move and live in Germany without requiring government support.
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