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Registration Office for Foreigners Berlin

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- Information on starting self employment - §21 AufenthG -*

*(pertains only to citizens, who are neither EU, EEA, nor are of Swiss nationality)
Conditions for the issuance of a residence permit for exercising self employment

You are intending to start self employment. A residence permit for this purpose can be issued to you if,

  • a economic interest or a regional need exists,
  • which allows for the expectation that the activity will have positive consequences on the economy and
  • financing of the enterprise is secured through personal equity or by an approved credit.

Controlling of conditions may also be done if necessary under the inclusion of specialist organizations such as the Senate Administration for Business, IHK Berlin(Externer Link) or Berlin Partners(Externer Link).

In order to the check the prerequisites the fundamental presentation of a complete company profile , is necessary, i.e. a structured and detailed description of a business idea has to be submitted. The required forms are available on the homepage of the Registration Office for Foreigners.
These are:
Self employment

Are you self employed as an architect, artist, language teacher or in another profession?
If so, you are not required to submit a company profile or business plan. The Registration Office for Foreigners will check your application with the help of your Curriculum Vitae, your occupational experience and qualifications as well as, submitted references. You can best verify the successful financing of your plan with the form profit preview / Business Forecast. Before the residence permit can be issued you may have to submit a required permit to work in your occupation.

Questions? Send an Email to the Registration Office for Foreigners Berlin or IHK Berlin.


Persons starting businesses, who are older than 45 years of age, are additionally required to provide proof of an adequate retirement pension. This is with the understanding that they will have at the age of 67 a fund of at least 151,000 Euros for their retirement!

Please, help in speeding up your application process by correctly and completely filling out all forms and attaching them in duplicate to the application. Unfortunately, the application process will take possibly 8 or more weeks.
Please, note that your application can be rejected if the necessary documents are not received within a period of 3 months after submitting the application to the Registration Office for Foreigners Berlin.

If your application is successful, the Registration Office for Foreigners Berlin will issue you a residence permit for a period of 1 to 3 years
Whether your residence permit can be extended is decided with the help of the information provided in an auditing report from your tax adviser, certified public accountant or fiscal agent.

Fees and forms

The amount of the fee often depends on the duration of your residence. Thus, for instance, a limited residence permit exceeding one year costs 60 Euros, from 01.09.2011 usually 110 Euros. The unlimited permanent residence permit costs however, a minimum of 85 Euros. Persons starting businesses are required to pay 150 Euros, from 01.09.2011 up to 200 Euros. You will find a cost summary in the (FAQs).

On our form server you can get a complete overview on all forms, applications and leaflets. You can accelerate your service if you already bring completely filled out forms with you.

State Office for Civil Matters and Public Order
– Registration Office for Foreigners –
Friedrich-Krause-Ufer 24
13353 Berlin

Updated: 07.2012