EU Citizen: Starting a Business in Germany?

Question

I am a qualified and experienced civil engineer and I would like to start my self-employed business in Germany. As I am starting and learning the language, I am willing to work alone at the moment. My business idea is based on preparation of residential housing plans [drafts] - the architectural part. Would you please indicate, where I can check what are the requirements for this independent activity and what are additional requirements for me? I am a holder of the EU passport and have a right freely to live and work in Germany.

Answer

As a citizen of a country of the European Union, you are entitled to take up any kind of employment in Germany. Before you can set up a business in Germany, you need to deal with many new topics, for example like financing or paperwork. In Germany, for example, there are two ways of setting up a business: You are either self-employed (“Gewerbetreibender”), or you are a freelancer (“Freiberufler”). You do not get a choice in this matter - it depends on your profession. Being self-employed or a freelancer makes a difference with regard to certain formalities and has an impact in your company’s legal structure. Freelancers need to register with the tax office (“Finanzamt”). If you want to register as a self-employed entrepreneur, you will need to contact your local trade office (“Gewerbeamt”). Read more

Even if you cannot wait to start your business activities, it is important to take the time for adequate preparation. That is why you should not rush into things. Instead, focus on drawing up a schedule. Setting up a business plan can help you develop a step by step plan for your enterprise. Your business plan is also crucial for convincing someone of your business idea or your plans. Banks, for example, will use the business plan to assess whether you are a suitable candidate for a loan. Read more

Before starting, you should also consider your personal coverage, taxes, laws and contracts that might be important for you while setting up a business. Read more

There are many public information centres in your region, which will advise you as you set up your own business. On the Startup Portal, under “advice and information”, you will find the contact information of regional and national information centres for entrepreneurs with a migrant background. A general contact list is available on the Startup Portal. Similarly, the Authority Finder will also tell you about your nearest information centre.

Keep in mind, as you are operating in Germany, a good command of German is important. Even as you prepare your business, you will find that many official documents are available in German only. If your German is not good enough yet, you should make sure to take a language course, before you set up your business. Some advanced courses have a special focus on the business world.

For further Information regarding setting up a business in Germany, please visit the Website "Make it in Germany".

We wish you all the best for your future plans.

Reference: Justina Alichniewicz
Economist
Projekt „Make it in Germany“
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln e.V.
Juli 2019

Notice of the editor: