Iranian citizen living in Italy: starting a business in Germany?


I am an Iranian citizen and currently an Italian resident with a working resident permit valid until Jan 2021. For starting a business (a limited company) in Germany, should I ask for a German working resident permit first or can I skip that, while I have an Italian (another EU) working resident permit and later continue with the German resident permit? I also read about the German language - is that a “must have” or a plus? Because I started learning the language, but I can start the business in one or two months, while I cannot learn that much German in a month. So how important is the German language for applying as an entrepreneur?


Thank you for your inquiry and your interest in setting up a business in Germany.

Make it in Germany provides international professionals with information on working and living in Germany. Detailed information on setting up a business are also available on “Make it in Germany”.

To become self-employed in Germany you will either need a residence permit according to §21 Immigration Law (AufenthG) or a Permanent EU residence permit.

In our visa section of “Make it in Germany” you will find information on the visa process for entrepreneurs and freelancers. This information is general and serves as a first point of reference. As you are living in Italy, you will need to apply for a visa for the purpose of self-employed occupation at the competent German Mission there. The corresponding local contact you can find on our “world map”. German missions and the foreigners’ authorities are responsible for the specification and evaluation of the required documents and for the issuance of visa resp. residence permits.

Furthermore we can recommend, that you contact the experts of the hotline “Working and Living in Germany” under the telephone number +49 30 1815 – 1111. The hotline offers personalized information and advice, in German or English, on the following topics:

  • Job search, work and careers
  • Recognition of foreign vocational qualifications
  • Visa and residence
  • Learning German

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

Reference: Justina Godesberg
Projekt „Make it in Germany“
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln e.V.
November 2019

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