German Immigration as an Entrepreneur or Investor
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 particularly privileged by the provision of § 21 German Residence Act. According to § 21 AufethG, the business concept must be carefully examined and adapted to the law’s requirements before applying for a residence permit. These preparations are often time-consuming, but they eventually pay off.
As self-employed persons, applicants can obtain a residence permit under simplified conditions. However, 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 of money 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 researchers and scientists working in Germany. In this case, the application must meet not all of the above requirements 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 specific professional qualifications. Moreover, there is no minimum amount of investment.
As well as this, a residence permit according to § 21 AufentG comes with the perspective of permanently settled status in Germany. The self-employed person can obtain a permanent residence permit after just three years and German citizenship after just six years under certain conditions. Besides, their spouse and minor children also acquire the right to family reunification once this residence permit has been gained.
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 to meet the German Residence Act’s legal requirements.
- Additional to a general company profile, the competent authority usually demands a business concept, a capital requirement plan and a financing plan. Therefore, the business plan needs to be as coherent and 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 appropriately (e.g. GmbH as the German equivalent to Ltd).
- After obtaining a visa and entering Germany, registration can occur at the local immigration authority.
- As the last step, the application for the residence permit according to § 21 AufentG takes place, at which point all necessary documents concerning the business must be presented.
At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our business immigration lawyers have worked with company founders worldwide and are widely experienced in this process. Please consult with our team for detailed assistance with applying for the self-employment visa in Germany.