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Visa for an economic activity (starting a job or self-employment)

Muster-Formular Arbeitsvertrag


To enter Germany in order to take up employment or pursue self-employment, a national visa is generally required. You must apply for this visa to the competent German foreign mission [embassy or general consulate].

  • If you intend to take up employment, the Berlin Immigration Office is generally not involved in the visa procedure.
  • On the other hand, if you intend to pursue self-employment, the Berlin Immigration Office is always involved. After your application documents have been reviewed, a response will be issued to the German foreign mission.

Entering Germany to pursue self-employment

After receiving your visa application, the Berlin Immigration Office will involve the Senate department responsible for the economy. The latter will, in turn, involve various specialist authorities and institutions under whose responsibility your intended occupation falls.

The Berlin Immigration Office has no influence on the duration of this procedure.

In order to avoid delays, the necessary business documents must be enclosed with the visa application. For more information on this matter, please consult the competent German foreign mission (embassy or general consulate).

Entering Germany for the purpose of employment

Your documents must indicate what specific occupation you intend to pursue, and for what period of time you intend to do so. A corresponding letter of confirmation from your employer, stating the company’s registered office and the place of employment, must be enclosed.
Provided that they are already available, the following must be submitted to the German foreign mission (embassy or general consulate):

Depending on each individual case, further documents may be required.

Employers who want to fill a position with a foreign skilled worker can use the Fast-track procedure to allow their skilled workers to enter the country more quickly before the visa process begins.

Who does not need a visa?

People in the following groups do not need a visa. They can apply for a residence permit or EU Blue Card directly after entering Germany.

  • Nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea (South Korea), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the United States of America
  • Holders of the unlimited residence title EU Permanent Residence, issued by an EU member state (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland or Romania)
  • Holders of an EU Blue Card
    • Which was issued by another EU member state
    • And has been valid for at least 18 months, and
    • If an EU Blue Card is to be issued in Germany

Information and advice on entering Germany for skilled employees and entrepreneurs