German Residence Permit for Self-Employed Investors Overview § 21 AufenthG (English Subtitles)

In our previous post on our YouTube channel, I gave you an overview of the typical residence permits for foreign entrepreneurs in Germany. This contribution applies to foreigners who are not citizens of the European Union, so-called third-country nationals.

Here we would like to go deeper into the residence permit for self-employed investors. To avoid misunderstandings, the following conditions apply to obtaining a residence permit. The residence permit is not a prerequisite for establishing a GmbH. You can also establish and manage a GmbH without residing in Germany.

Back to the topic: So what are the conditions for obtaining the residence permit as a self-employed investor? And how does the process work?

  1. Self-employment. This means that you are the owner of the German company and you manage it. In the case of a GmbH, for example, you are a shareholder and managing director. If the shareholder of the limited liability company is in turn a foreign company, you should be its legal representative.
  2. There must be an interest of the German economy in your company: Your business idea must fit the economic environment, at best fill a gap. It should not displace existing businesses or lead to oversupply. In addition, positive are job creation and profit. Contributions to innovation and research and development are particularly welcome.
  3. personal suitability: you should have experience in the business area, ideally with reference to Germany or Europe. You should be proficient in English or German.
  4. About the procedure: you apply for the visa at the German Embassy or Consulate in the country where you have your habitual residence. To explain the above requirements, bring a business plan. We will gladly support you in the preparation of the business plan. The officer will also have a conversation with you. After confirmation of the business plan by the IHK they get the visa, enter Germany and get the residence permit. This is valid for one to three years and is renewed if you approximately achieve the plans from the business plan.

There are exceptions that you do not have to conduct the procedure through the embassy, but can apply directly at an immigration office. these exceptions apply to certain nationalities such as USA or Great Britain. Or for third-country nationals who already hold a residence permit from a European state.

The residence permit as a self-employed person gives you the chance to get a permanent residence permit (settlement permit) after three years at the earliest, if you have successfully implemented the business concept.

It further allows you to reunite your family.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.