Applying for a residence permit for freelancers

You can obtain a residence permit to work as a freelancer if you meet certain requirements.

You can obtain a residence permit for freelancers if you want to pursue a freelance activity in Germany. Freelance activities include the self-employed scientific, artistic, literary, teaching, educational or other self-employed professional activities according to § 18 paragraph 1 of the Income Tax Act (e.B. self-employed doctors, notaries, tax consultants)

If necessary, you must present a professional permit. The professional license is a state professional license with which persons in Germany may work in a certain profession (e.B. health professions, lawyers). If you do not yet have a professional license, it is sufficient if you prove that the grant has been promised.

  • Valid passport or passport replacement
  • Visa, if this was required for entry into Germany
  • Current biometric photo
  • If necessary, permission to exercise the liberal profession or commitment to grant it
  • Proof of livelihood security (e.B. equity, blocked account, declaration of commitment)
  • Proof of your health insurance
  • Current registration certificate
  • If you have reached the age of 45: Proof of adequate retirement provision (e.B. proof of own assets, acquired pension rights, business assets)

In individual cases, the Foreigners' Registration Office may request further documents.

  • Online procedure occasionally possible
  • Written form required
  • Personal appearance required


  • You have a recognized and valid passport or passport replacement and, if necessary for entry into Germany - a suitable visa.
  • There is no interest in expulsion against you.
  • Your stay does not endanger or adversely affect the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • You want to pursue a self-employed, freelance activity in Germany.
  • You have the necessary permission to carry out the freelance activity or you have been assured of the granting of the permit by the competent authority.
  • If you have reached the age of 45: You can prove that you have adequate old-age security.
  • You can secure your livelihood and health insurance coverage from your own resources without using public services.

Related Links

  • § 21 paragraph 5 Residence Act
  • § 18 paragraph 1 Income Tax Act
  • §45 Residence Ordinance

The procedure is as follows:

  • Depending on the foreigners' registration office and concerns, it may be possible to apply via the Internet. Find out whether your immigration office offers the electronic application for a residence permit.
  • If the application is only possible in person, make an appointment with the Foreigners' Registration Office. During the appointment, your application will be accepted and your proofs will be checked (bring them with you to the appointment). Your fingerprints will be taken for the production of an electronic residence permit (eAT card).
  • In the event of an electronic application, the Foreigners' Registration Office will contact you after receipt of your online application in order to make an appointment at the Foreigners' Registration Office if necessary. During the appointment, your proofs will be checked (bring them to the appointment) and your fingerprints will be taken for the production of the electronic residence permit (eAT card).
  • If your application is granted, the Foreigners' Registration Office will arrange for the eAT card to be produced.
  • After about six to eight weeks, you can pick up the eAT card at the Foreigners' Registration Office.
  • The eAT card must always be collected in person.

Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport

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