Visas for Running the Business On-Site
The Residence Permit for the Purpose of Self-Employment
Business operators who are from non-EU countries and who manage their company on location in Germany as a self-employed person require a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment (Aufenthaltserlaubnis für selbständige Tätigkeit).
This is generally issued if
The local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) individually assesses to what extent these criteria are met. It takes into account the following aspects:
The immigration office consults the local trade office (Gewerbeamt) as well as local trade and business associations, e.g. local Chambers of Industry and Commerce (Industrie- und Handelskammer) or the Chambers of Skilled Crafts (Handwerkskammer).
The Settlement Permit
A residence permit for the purpose of self-employment is limited to a maximum of three years.
If the investment project is successful (and success and subsistence appear to be secure over the long term), after three years it is possible to apply for a settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis).
A settlement permit is unrestricted in time and place and automatically includes the right to take up gainful employment.
Who is considered to be self-employed?
Foreign business operators are considered to be self-employed if they are (e.g.):