Apply for a residence permit for self-employed persons who have completed their studies or work as scientists or researchers

Under facilitated conditions, you can obtain a residence permit to pursue a self-employed activity if you have successfully completed a degree in Germany or have a residence permit as a researcher or scientist.

If you have successfully completed your studies at a state or state-recognized university or comparable training institution in Germany or have a residence permit as a researcher or scientist, you can apply for a residence permit to pursue a self-employed activity.

A prerequisite for university graduates is the successful completion of their studies, which enables them to pursue a self-employed activity. Your intended self-employment must therefore be related to the knowledge you have acquired in higher education.

If you are in possession of a residence permit as a researcher or scientist, the intended self-employment must show a connection with your previous activity as a researcher or scientist.

A residence permit for the purpose of self-employment is a temporary residence permit. It shall be granted for a maximum of three years and may be extended.

  • Recognized and valid identity document (e.g. passport or passport replacement)
  • Current biometric photo in passport format (45 x 35 mm)
  • For university graduates: Proof of completion at a state-recognised university or comparable training institution in Germany
  • For scientists and researchers: previous employment contract
  • Proof of livelihood security (e.g. equity, blocked account, declaration of commitment)
  • Proof of health insurance coverage
  • Current registration certificate
  • After the age of 45: Proof of adequate retirement provision (e.g. proof of own assets, acquired pension rights, business assets)

In individual cases, the Foreigners' Registration Office may require less or more evidence.

Forms available: No

Written form required: Yes

Informal application possible: No

Personal appearance required: Yes


  • You have a recognized and valid identity document (for example, passport or passport replacement) and, if necessary for entry - a dedicated visa.
  • You want to pursue a self-employed, freelance activity in Germany.
  • You can secure your livelihood and health insurance coverage without using public benefits.
  • If you have reached the age of 45: You can prove that you have adequate old-age security.
  • There is no interest in expulsion against you.

Your stay does not endanger or adversely affect the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.


  • The issuance of the residence permit is at the discretion of the Foreigners' Registration Office.
  • Self-employment is any self-employed, permitted, profit-making and long-term activity, unless it is an employment relationship.
  • Scientists are persons who belong to the scientific world, i.e. essentially the scientific staff of universities and research institutions. Researchers also fall under the concept of the scientist.
  • Holders of the residence permit can already obtain a permanent right of residence (settlement permit) after three years of successful self-employment under simplified conditions.

Related Links

  • § 21 paragraph 2a Residence Act (AufenthG) - Self-employment

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

Last update or date of publication