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Please note:You can only obtain complete information if you indicate the place of residence, the place of business or the building project, depending on the procedure.

Apply for a residence permit for freelancers

You can obtain a residence permit for freelancers if you wish to pursue a freelance activity in Germany. Freelance activities include scientific, artistic, writing, teaching, educational or other self-employed professional activities as defined in Section 18 (1) of the Income Tax Act (e.g. self-employed doctors, notaries, tax consultants).

If required, you must submit a professional permit. The professional permit is a state occupational licence that allows persons to work in a specific profession in Germany (e.g. medical professions, lawyers). If you do not yet have a professional permit, it is sufficient to prove that you have been promised one.

Process flow

The procedure is as follows:

  • Depending on the immigration authority and concerns, it may be possible to apply via the Internet. Find out whether your immigration authority offers the electronic application for a residence permit.
  • If the application is only possible in person, make an appointment with the Foreigners' Registration Office. During the appointment, your application will be received and your supporting documents will be checked (bring them with you to the appointment). Your fingerprints will be taken to produce an electronic residence permit (eAT card).
  • In the event of an electronic application, the Foreigners' Registration Office will contact you upon receipt of your online application in order to make an appointment at the Foreigners' Registration Office if necessary. During the appointment, your documents will be checked (bring them with you to the appointment) and your fingerprints will be taken for the production of the electronic residence title (eAT card).
  • If your application is granted, the Foreigners' Registration Office will arrange for the eAT card to be produced.
  • After about six to eight weeks, you can pick up the eAT card at the Foreigners' Registration Office.
  • The eAT card must always be picked up in person.

Who should I contact?

You can also obtain free advice on the topics of entry, residence and employment from the "Hotline Working and Living in Germany" from the Federal Government's portal for skilled workers from abroad.

Telephone: 030 1815-1111

Service hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Competent authority

The immigration authority responsible for the applicant's place of residence.


  • You are in possession of a recognised and valid passport or passport replacement and - if required for entry into Germany - an appropriate visa.
  • There is no interest in deportation against you.
  • Your stay does not endanger or impair the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • You wish to exercise a self-employed, freelance activity in Germany.
  • You are in possession of the necessary permit to exercise the freelance activity or you have been assured of the granting of the permit by the competent authority.
  • If you have reached the age of 45: You can provide evidence of adequate old-age provision.
  • You can secure your livelihood and health insurance cover from your own resources without recourse to public benefits.

Which documents are required?

  • Valid passport or passport replacement
  • Visa, if required for entry into Germany
  • Current biometric photo
  • Permit to exercise a liberal profession or confirmation of the granting of such a permit, if applicable
  • Proof of the security of livelihood (e.g. equity capital, blocked account, declaration of commitment)
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Current certificate of registration
  • If you have reached the age of 45: Proof of adequate retirement provisions (e.g. proof of own assets, acquired pension entitlements, business assets).

In individual cases, the Aliens' Registration Office may request further documents.

What are the fees?

Fee: 100,00 EUR
Payment in advance: No
Under certain conditions, a fee reduction or exemption may be considered. Hints: Additional fees may apply for the issuance of the residence permit in the form of an electronic residence title, which can also be used as an electronic proof of identity. The timing and form of charging and payment vary depending on the authority.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

  • The residence permit should be applied for no later than eight weeks before your visa or current residence permit expires.
  • The residence permit is issued for a limited period.
  • Deadline for appeal: one month

Processing duration

about six to eight weeks.

Applications / forms

  • Online procedure possible in some cases
  • Written form required
  • Personal appearance required


Administrative court action:
Detailed information on this can be found in the decision rejecting your application.

Portal of the Federal Government for skilled workers from abroad

Technically approved by

Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)