German Freelance 2023 – A Guide
German Freelance 2023: Freelance has become an ever-growing type of self-employment, as it offers more freedom and less bureaucracy than the traditional type. Working as a freelancer, you are your own boss. There is a lot of flexibility in terms of working days and hours.
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Moreover, you are free to choose the clients and projects you want to work for. You have almost no working protocol to follow. You may not need an office to get your work done.
Essential Features for Freelancers:
- High sense of technical uniqueness.
- Innovative thinking.
- Special education.
- Personal qualities.
- A sense of self-motivation.
- A sense of self-responsibility.
How does freelancing work in Germany?
Before thinking about taking up a freelance job in Germany, you should understand the legal environment of self-employment here. This is because the profession you choose to pursue determines your eligibility to become a freelancer here.
If the profession you are thinking of exercising here is recognized as a liberal profession ‘Freibe Berufe’, you will be able to become a freelancer ‘Freiberufle’.
Otherwise, if the job is listed as a commercial occupation, you will only be able to become a business person ‘govern by’.
Which are liberal professions in Germany?
Here is a public list of liberal and commercial professions in Germany’s Income Tax Act (EStG). However, the final decision as to whether a profession qualifies as a liberal or commercial profession rests with the local tax office ‘Finanzamt’.
Liberal ‘freelance’ occupations in Germany, according to ESTG §18, are self-employed jobs in the following sectors:
- health care.
- Tax and business consulting.
- Linguistic and information transmission.
Which are the legal requirements for freelancing in Germany?
As a freelancer in Germany, you will be exempted from business registration procedures and obtaining trade permits.
Registering with the Tax Office
Instead of the commercial office, your freelance activity should be registered with the tax office. The tax office will be the authority to issue a tax number and collect tax from you based on your freelance activity. Registering your business and submitting your tax reports to the Finanzamt can be difficult.
As a freelancer, you have other concerns that you need to deal with and an unfamiliar tax system can cause you more trouble. That’s why it’s so comforting to know that you can let tax experts do all the paperwork for you.
Professional tax consultants at Sorted can help you prepare all your tax reports, generate invoices and submit them directly to the tax office.
Why prepare and file your tax returns as a freelancer with the help of certified tax consultants?
- Sorted is a leading German-based company with strong backing from serious investors.
- They cover all tax requirements for the majority of freelancers and self-employed people in Germany.
- Organized helps you if you have domestic clients or even outside of Germany.
- With Sorted, you register as a freelancer, do your own bookkeeping, and submit annual tax reports for free until your income reaches a certain amount or you get clients in the EU.
- You can submit your tax reports electronically to the Finanzamt through Sorted. Sorted is directly connected to the Finanzamt through their official software provider, ELSTER.
Can I work as a freelancer if am a foreigner already in Germany?
If you already live in Germany, you are entitled to freelance with exceptions.
To work as a freelancer while already living in Germany you must have any of the following situations:
- You are a foreigner who graduated from a recognized educational institution in Germany. This includes a state, state-recognized, or equivalently recognized training institution in Germany. Your profession should directly match the qualifications you have acquired here.
- You are a foreigner working as a researcher or scientist in Germany. You should expect freelancing as a researcher or scientist.
- You are a foreigner who entered with a German artist visa. You should expect freelancing as an artist.
- You are a foreigner who entered with a German temporary visa for other purposes. You must meet the freelance criteria as a foreigner.
Who needs a Germany Freelancer visa?
If you are a foreign visa holder, you must obtain a German freelance visa in advance, intending to come to Germany to work within a liberal profession.
A freelance visa is usually granted for three months. This can be converted to a residence permit as long as your visa is valid. The address where you apply for a residence permit is the local foreigner authority “Ausländerbehörde or Ausländeramt”.
The residence permit for freelancing can be extended for up to three full years. To get such an extension, you must first have success in your freelance business. This means that you must have proof of generating enough profit to cover living expenses for yourself and everyone in your family.
After 3 years with a residence permit for freelancing, you can get a settlement permit. This can only happen if you decide to set up a retail or manual trading business, since then.
A residence permit for freelancing can also be converted into a residence permit for self-employment (Residence Act, section 21/6). This can only happen if you are able to obtain a permit to pursue the desired self-employment activity.
Which are the Requirements to Apply for a Freelance Visa?
You usually have to submit an application for a freelance visa to the German embassy or consulate in the country where you currently live. The procedure is the same as applying for any German visa. You are advised to complete the application 3 months prior to your intended travel date. Send the application documents as originals along with photocopies of each.
Here are the documents to apply for a German freelance visa:
- The National Visa Application Form has been duly completed.
- Valid National Passport.
- Two biometric photographs were taken recently. (See photo requirements)
- Payment of visa application fee.
- travel insurance.
- Letters of recommendation from previous employers.
- curriculum vitae.
- Introductory Letter.
- A portfolio of your previous work. Several printed samples of previous freelance work, or regular work in the same profession.
- Professional authorization. You need to show a license or other authorization to show proof of your skills and suitability to pursue the desired occupation. It is required if you are planning to pursue a profession that requires prior expertise in a field, i.e. medicine, law, and so on.
- Elementary Education Certificates.
- Sources of sustenance. Proof that you have enough money to cover your living and freelancing expenses. It can be one of the following:
- Latest bank statements. From a home country bank, showing sufficient available funds.
- Blocked bank account. The easiest and fastest way to open a German-blocked account is through Expatrio. The blocked account provided by Expatrio is accepted by German Embassies/Consulates worldwide.
- Profit/Loss Statement. It has to show your forecasts of monthly profits and losses from the desired freelance activity.
- Evidence of adequate pension plan. Only if you are above 45 years of age.
- Proof of freelance plan.
- Letters of commitment from future clients/employers. Send at least two of them. These letters should clearly state your intention to hire you when you come here.
Germany Freelancer Visa Fees
The application fee for a freelance visa is 75 euros, the maximum for a residence permit is 140 euros, while for a settlement permit, it is up to 260 euros.
How to start freelancing after arriving in Germany?
After arriving in Germany, you will need to legalize yourself as a freelancer.
Follow these five important steps before freelancing as a foreigner in Germany:
- Register your residential address. As soon as you get your permanent residence you must register in Germany. This procedure is known as ‘Anmeldung’ and is carried out by the local residence registration office ‘Bürgeramt’. Once this process is completed, you will receive a confirmation on the registration ‘Meldebescheinigung’ of the living address.
- Open a bank account in a German bank.
- Register with the tax registration office “Finanzamt”. This is done by submitting the completed tax number registration form “Fragebogen zur steuerliche Erfassung”. Professional tax consultants such as Arranged can handle all the necessary paperwork on your behalf. After this process is completed, you will receive a tax ID ‘Steuernummer’. This unique number will be used by you to charge your clients and collect taxes from your freelance operations through the tax office. Contact a tax consultant now.
- Cover yourself with proper health insurance.
- Apply for a residence permit for freelancing. Within the first three months of your arrival, you must submit a valid application for a residence permit. The application is made at the Foreigners’ Registration Office ‘Ausländerbehörde’. To apply, you need to provide a completed application form for a residence permit and the evidence required to support such an application. Among the supporting documents, you need to provide ‘Meldebescheinigung’, and ‘Wohnungsgeberbestätigung’ – a letter of confirmation of residence issued by the landlord of the place where you are staying. This needs to be supplemented by a rental agreement.
- Start implementing your freelance plan. You may want to start by contacting waiting clients to inform them of your availability to work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is freelancing allowed in Germany?
However, you are allowed to have both a student visa and a freelancer visa, so if you are living and studying in Germany and want to start freelancing, you can get a freelancer visa in addition to your student visa. can do Freelance work permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis für selbständige Tätigkeit).
How much is a freelance visa in Germany?
fee. When you apply for a visa, residence permit, settlement permit or extension of these documents, you usually have to pay a fee. The fee depends on your location, duration, and purpose of your stay. A residence permit will cost you a maximum of €100 while a settlement permit will cost a maximum of €147.