Following your application for recognition, you hold refugee status in Germany and have one of the following residence permits: § 22 clause 2 German Residence Act (AufenthG); §22 clause 3 German Residence Act; § 23 para. 2 German Residence Act; § 25 para. 1 German Residence Act; § 25 para. 2 German Residence Act; § 26 para. 3 German Residence Act or § 26 para. 4 German Residence Act. You can become self-employed in Germany. You do not need a permit from your local immigration authority.
You are permitted to set up a company that is to be your sole or main source of income – it will be designated as a full-time start-up. You can also be self-employed on a part-time basis; perhaps your main income will be generated through an employed position, for example. In Germany there are no limitations concerning when a part-time role becomes a full-time role.
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In order to begin your self-employment in Germany, you must register the business (Gewerbeanmeldung) or register as self-employed at the local tax office (Finanzamt). The latter applies to freelance professions.
Registering a trade
In order to register your trade, go to your local trade office (Gewerbeamt) – the office in the town, district or region in which you want to become self-employed. You can find the contact details for the trade office in your local citizen's support office (Bürgerbüro), or search online at: www.bmwi-wegweiser.de/suche/behoerden/. Select "Gewerbeamt" and enter the postcode of the town in which you wish to found your company. The contact information and opening hours for your local trade office will appear on screen. The trade offices' websites often feature forms for registering a business: Some offices expect you to have already completed these forms before coming to the office in person.
In order to register a business, you need:
Registering a freelance profession
If you want to become self-employed as a freelancer, you must register at your local tax office (Finanzamt). There is no form to be completed for the registration; instead, you must write a letter with a short description of the business that you intend to set up. The tax office will send you a tax registration questionnaire (Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung) and will issue you with a tax number. Aside from registering with the tax office, most freelance professions require the fulfilment of certain qualifications, financial requirements and/or other conditions. You can find out which ones here
Do you have questions about the requirements for becoming self-employed? Do you want some help in getting together all the necessary documentation? Get in touch – we are here to help!
We recommend that you draw up a business plan for your business in Germany, so that it is set up correctly from the very beginning. Business plans do not just help to give you a better overview of the various steps and requirements required to set up your business, and to help you reflect on these; they are often a necessity should you require external financial support, for example a bank loan. The main aspects addressed in a business plan are: Why your idea is a good one. Who your customers are and how you will reach them. Why you are better than the competition. How you will earn money with your business. How you will finance your business.