Business Immigration: The German Residence Act §21
The encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurship is a declared goal of the German Residence Act. Company founders, sole proprietorships, managing directors and legal representatives of partnerships and corporations are therefore particularly privileged by the provision of § 21 German Residence Act. Before a residence permit pursuant to §21 can be applied for, the business concept must be carefully examined and needs to be adapted to the law’s requirements. These preparations are often time-consuming, but they eventually pay off.
Basic Requirements for Self-Employment Visa Germany
As self-employed persons, applicants can obtain a residence permit under simplified conditions. However, in order for the intended self-employment to be recognised under German law it must primarily meet three requirements:
- It must meet an economic interest or regional need,
- It shall have a positive impact on the economy,
- The financing must be secured by equity capital or a loan commitment.
The competent authority assesses whether these conditions are met based on a variety of criteria, such as:
- The viability of the underlying business plan,
- The relevant business experience of the applicant,
- The amount to be invested in Germany,
- The businesses’ impact on the employment and training situation,
- The project’s contribution to innovation and research.
These requirements are even less rigorous for graduates of training courses or those with a German university degree and for researchers and scientists working in Germany. In this case, not all of the above requirements need to be met as long as the intended activity is related to the acquired qualification.
Advantages of a Residence Permit According to §21 German Residence Act
Self-employed persons with a viable business plan do not have to prove any knowledge of the German language and do not need to present certain professional qualifications. Moreover, there is no minimum amount for investments. As well as this a residence permit according to §21 comes with the perspective of permanently settled status in Germany. The self-employed person can obtain a settlement permit after just three years and German citizenship after just six years under certain conditions. In addition, spouses and minor children acquire the right to family reunification as well.
Procedure to Obtain a Residence Permit for Entrepreneurs in Germany
Since the competent authority subjects the intended self-employed activity to a detailed examination, it is recommended to proceed in the following steps when applying for a residence for the self-employed:
First of all, the business idea needs to be adapted in order to meet the legal requirements of the German Residence Act.
In addition to a general company profile, the competent authority usually demands for a business concept, a capital requirement plan and a financing plan. Therefore, the business idea needs to be enveloped in a business plan that is as coherent and as detailed as possible.
The business plan is then revised in consultation with the regional Chamber of Industry and Commerce before submitting the D-Visa application.
Eventually, the company must be founded in the appropriate form (e.g. GmbH as the German equivalent to Ltd).
After obtaining a visa and after entering Germany, registration can take place at the local immigration authority.
As a last step, the application for the residence permit pursuant to §21 takes place, at which point all necessary documents in relation to the business must be presented
Full Service Law Firm: General Relocation Service
The organisational effort that comes with a relocation often goes far beyond the initial application for papers. Since almost every area of life is affected by a decision to relocate, they all require an efficient restructuring which benefits from knowledge of the location, the market and the legal system. We help you get started professionally and privately by obtaining registrations, tax IDs, opening bank accounts and coordinating rental agreements, obtaining or renewing residence titles and work permits, applying for criminal records, car registrations, language courses, social benefits and much more. For our lawyers, dealing with authorities and overcoming bureaucratic difficulties is a simple matter of routine, allowing you to focus on more important aspects in business and life.
With offices in Cologne, Aachen, Düsseldorf and conference rooms in Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Stuttgart and Frankfurt we are able to provide legal assistance to entrepreneurs, business executives and investors around Germany. We assist numerous foreign investors and company founders in setting up their own businesses in Germany. Our team have the appropriate skill and the necessary prudence to cope with bureaucratic challenges. We are well-versed in the intricacies of German law. Due to our law firm’s international focus, we are pleased to offer legal advice in Chinese, English, German, French, Spanish, Russian and Turkish. Our contact details are located on this page.
A full list of our services are outlined below.