Intellectual Property in Germany


I am Lebanese, living in Lebanon. My family and I want to move to Germany. I have a great idea for a start-up, which is sustainable and can be marketed internationally. What about intellectual property in Germany?


Thank you for your inquiry and your interest in setting up a business in Germany. Regarding your residential status: As a citizen of Lebanon, in order to set up a business in Germany, you will need a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment (“Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Ausübung einer selbständigen Tätigkeit”).

As you are not yet living in Germany, you need to apply for a visa for the purpose of self-employed occupation at the competent German mission in your home country. You can find the corresponding local contact on our “world map”.

General information on visa processes are available on “Make it in Germany”.

Make sure that you apply for the visa that corresponds to the actual purpose of your stay. This is the only way to ensure trouble-free extension or conversion of your visa by the foreign nationals' registration authority of your place of residence in Germany. It is impossible to stay permanently on a visa that was issued only for a temporary stay (for example for a tourist stay).

Please note that there are several criteria which need to be met in order to obtain the residence permit for the purpose of self-employment. This depends on whether

  • you work as a freelancer (“Freiberufler”)
  • or wish to set up a business as a self-employed entrepreneur (“Gewerbe”)

To obtain this permit, you will need to meet a number of general criteria and some additional requirements, which you should ideally cover convincingly in your business plan. A Residence permit will cost you a maximum of 140 Euro, while a settlement permit will cost you 260 Euro at most. As a rule, the fee for visa is 75 Euro. For further questions regarding the visa process, please contact the German mission in your country of residence - especially for questions concerning the required documents.

For personal advice regarding visa issues, please contact the hotline “Working and Living in Germany” under the telephone number +49 30 1815 - 1111.

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

For further information about intellectual property in Germany please contact the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.

We wish you all the best for your future plans.

* Please note:
The information presented here is a general service offering. Only the German missions and the foreigners’ authorities are responsible for the issuance of visa and residence permits. For further questions, please contact directly the respective authority. Also, due to the current pandemic situation, German authorities and public institutions may only be accessible to a limited extent. Special regulations on entry and residence may apply and may change on short notice. Learn more here.

Reference: Justina Godesberg
Projekt „Make it in Germany“
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln e.V.
Oktober 2020

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