Being Self-Employed in Germany

There are certain requirements a sole trader operating as a self-employed person must follow...

EU citizens are permitted to work in a self-employed role in Germany. It is only necessary to inform the registry office (Einwohnermeldamt).

A non-EU citizen may also start a business in Germany. Those wanting to start a self-employed business must state so when registering for a residence permit. After three years it is possible to then apply for a unlimited residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis).

In order for application for the Niederlassungserlaubnis to be considered, the work over the past three years must have had a positive effect on the economy – often this means a minimum level of investment and the creation of a number of jobs.

Anyone wishing to be self-employed should get information and advice from the Chamber of Industry or Chambers of Skilled Trade. The local business registration office (Gewerbeamt) should be able to provide the necessary contact details.