Israelian Citizenship: Starting a Business in Germany?

Question

I am a software engineer from Israel. I have been working for the hightech industry for 4-5 years and recently I have stressed to my employer my desire to move to Germany and that I started to look for a job there to relocate myself. My employer reacted by agreeing to hire me remotely and pay me the same as if I was in the offices. The only barrier now is the visa. I was thinking to open a business in Germany, to which my employer will pay my salary. Can you assist with it? Can you give me details about the process and its length? Alternatively, do you provide a service or know of a service that can help me by receiving my salary from my Israeli company and act as a mediator to hire me in the German workforce, thus allowing me to get a working visa? I am looking forward to your response.

Answer

Thank you for your inquiry and your interest in setting up a business in Germany. We will gladly answer your questions.

Make it in Germany provides international professionals with information on working and living in Germany. As a citizen of Israel, you do not need to apply for a visa to enter Germany. Nevertheless, once you are in Germany, in order to set up a business in Germany, you have to apply for the corresponding residence permit at the local foreigners’ authority within three months. Please note that in Germany, there are two ways of setting up your own business: You can either work as a freelancer (“Freiberufler”) or set up a business as a self-employed entrepreneur (“Gewerbe”). Find out more about the best approach for you in the article on “ways of setting up your own business”. If you would like to embark on a freelance career as a “Freiberufler”, you will need to apply for a residence permit for the purpose of freelance employment / Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Ausübung einer freiberuflichen Tätigkeit at your competent authority. You will be granted a permit, if you can prove that you will be able to finance your undertaking, you will be able to make a living for yourself and if you have the permission to practise in your profession, when required. If you are older than 45, you also require adequate old-age provisions.

If you would like to set up a business as a self-employed entrepreneur, you will need to apply for a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment. To obtain this permit, you will need to fulfil a number of general criteria and the following additional requirements, which you should ideally cover convincingly in your business plan:

  • There is commercial interest or regional demand for your products or services.
  • Your business activity is likely to have a positive impact on the economy.
  • You have secured financing for your business by way of capital or a loan commitment.

Moreover, to work as a self-employed professional the same conditions apply to you as to Germans. You can find out, what these regulations are. Please notice furthermore, that if you are going to work as an employee (under an employment contract in Germany) you will not be eligible to apply for a “residence permit for the purpose for the purpose of self-employment. Here you can check out the different kinds of visas in Germany.

For more personal advice according visa or residence status you may also contact the Hotline “Working and Living in Germany” under the telephone number +49 30 1815 – 1111. The service is provided in German and English and is free of charge. You can also get in touch with “Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie” to learn more about start-up a business and funding in Berlin.

Regarding further information on setting up a business, please check out the website "Make it in Germany" for useful advices on business plan, financing and funding etc.

We wish you all the best for your future project!

* 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 resp. residence permits. For further questions, please contact directly the respective authority.

Reference: Justina Alichniewicz
Kompetenzfeld Bildung, Zuwanderung und Innovation
Projekt „Make it in Germany“
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln e.V.
August 2019

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