Setting up your business: A step-by-step guide

Do you live in a country that is not Switzerland and is also not part of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA)? Have you acquired a vocational qualification in this country and now wish to become self-employed in Germany? Here you can find out the criteria that you need to meet. Once this box has been ticked, you can find out what you need to do to turn your idea into a business. There are three key questions that need to be answered: 

  • What am I allowed to do? 
    You can find information about so-called "regulated professions": You need to fulfil extremely specific vocational qualifications in order to become self-employed in these professions. Approval is easier to come by in the non-regulated professions. You can find out whether your business idea falls under the heading "commercial professions" or is classed as a "freelance profession" in Germany – the registration procedures are different for each. We will also tell you about "fictitious self-employment" (Scheinselbstständigkeit), which is forbidden in Germany.
  • What do I need?
    We will tell you which legal status you must have in Germany in order to set up a business, and which documents you need in order to do so. You will also discover which authorisations and permits are required and where you need to go in order to register as self-employed. There is also a "Business plan" section, which shows you how to write your own business plan.
  • What next? 
    Even when you have obtained all of the required permits and authorisations, and have drawn up your business plan, there will still be a few things to take care of when it comes to making your business idea a reality. Here you can find information about important insurance policies, about dealing with staff, and about key marketing principles. You will learn what you need to consider when it comes to bookkeeping and which taxes you will need to pay.
What next?

Keywords: insurance, dealing with staff, marketing principles, tax and bookkeeping, contract law

Contact persons

Dr. Ralf Sänger

Dr. Ralf Sänger
IQ Fachstelle Migrantenökonomie
+49 (0)6131 9061855

Rainer Aliochin

Rainer Aliochin
AAU e.V.
+49 (0)911 23986689