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How to apply German residence permit for foreign entrepreneurs and self-employed workers

As the world’s third largest export nation, competing with China and the US, Germany is rightly viewed as a door to the world. With EUR 469 billion FDI, the country has also proved itself an investment magnet and one of the top regions for foreign investors. Germany is one of the main destinations for investments within the European Union. Entrepreneurs as well as investors appreciate its competent personnel, as well as its political, social and legal security.


Who is eligible to apply for a residence permit for foreign entrepreneurs and self-employed workers?


In order for entrepreneurs and other self-employed workers to settle down in Germany, several hurdles will have to be overcome. Our experienced team of lawyers will assist you in starting your business in Germany and acquiring a German residence permit.According to § 21 AufenthG (German Residence Act), entrepreneurs and self-employed personnel from non-EU countries can acquire a German residence permit. The following persons are entitled to apply:

  • Foreign entrepreneurs who aim to set up a business in Germany

  • Foreign entrepreneurs who aim to set up an overseas branch of a business

  • Freelancers

However, the provision extends beyond individual entrepreneurs. Directors, managers, and legal representatives of business partnerships, as well as stock corporations, are entitled to apply so long as they do not hold an employee status.


What are the legal requirements for § 21 AufenthG?


The key to obtaining a German residence permit as a self-employed person is to show that the business will have a positive effects on the German economy, i.e. that there is an economic interest in and/or a regional need for the business and that funding has been secured. Entrepreneurs have to show that their business will increase the market potential as well as sales opportunities of other German enterprises and that it will create a positive impact on the economy. If the applicant has exceeded the 45th year of his life, he will be required to prove that adequate pension provisions have been made.


In 2012, the law was changed to the effect that the applicant will no longer have to demonstrate a minimum investment amount or the creation of a certain amount of workplaces.


The following aspects determine whether the business in question will be of economic and/or regional interest:

  • Sustainability of the applicant’s business concept

  • The applicant’s entrepreneurial experience

  • The qualifications of the entrepreneur

  • Financial investment

  • The company’s impact on employment and vocational training

  • Contribution to the national or regional economy, innovation, and research

  • Competition with established businesses

Who makes the decisions concerning residence permits?


The relevant immigration authority in Germany is the Foreigner Registration Office. It is in charge of reviewing whether the legal requirements have been met. The Registration Office will then seek the advice and approval of relevant trade bodies, public and judicial trade associations and authorities responsible for occupational permits, as well as the chamber of Industry and Commerce, which are given a right to influence the process.


Yan Incorporation can take care of the company establishment in Germany and support for Entrepreneurs have the possibility of obtaining a permanent residency to work for their business.


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