Ukranian Citizenship: Starting a Dancing School in Germany?


I am interested in doing a business in Germany (dancing school). Could you tell me please, what requirements this type of business must meet in order to receive a permit for it? At the moment I am a resident of Ukraine and doing the same business here.


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”.

In Germany there are two ways of setting up a business: You can either work as a freelancer (“Freiberufler”) or set up a business as a self-employed entrepreneur (“Gewerbe”). Please notice the following information on whether your business might be considered as a freelance (“Freiberufler”) or self-employed profession.

Freelance (“Freiberufler”): Numerous professions are known as “liberal professions” (“Freie Berufe”). If you set up a business in one of these professions, you usually work as a “Freiberufler”. These include

  • medical occupations, e.g. as a doctor
  • advisory occupations in law, taxes or economics
  • technical or scientific occupations, e.g. as an engineer
  • occupations concerned with the transfer of information and creative occupations, e.g. as an interpreter or artist
  • pedagogical occupations, e.g. as a nursery nurse.

Self-Employed business (“Gewerbe”): If you would like to set up your own crafts or retail business, you will need to register your business in the town or municipality where your business headquarters will be. For some occupations, you will need to fulfil certain admission requirements. These occupations are subject to prior authorisation (“erlaubnispflichtiges Gewerbe”). This applies to handicraft businesses, financial service providers and nursing services as well as many others.

Being self-employed or a freelancer makes a difference with regard to certain formalities and has an impact in your company’s legal structure. The legal structure provides a framework for dealing with legal matters. The decision on the legal structure of your business has significant implications - it will for example determine how much equity you need and whether you are personally liable for your business. Before you choose a legal form for your business, please consult a lawyer or tax advisor. You will also find out more about taxes, insurance and laws on “Make it in Germany”.

Please also consider the following information on residence requirements:
As an Ukranian citizen in order to set up your own business in Germany you will need a residence permit allowing you to exercise a self-employed activity (“selbstständige Tätigkeit”). This may be a residence permit according to § 21 Immigration Law (AufenthG) or a permanent settlement permit. If you are not yet living in Germany, you will first need to apply for a visa for the purpose of self-employed occupation at the competent German mission in your home country. Information on visa process are also available on “Make it in Germany”.

Generally, to apply for a visa, several criteria need to be fulfilled and presented at the German mission while applying for a visa for the purpose of self-employment. This depends on whether you will

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

As the documents you require will depend on the circumstances of your individual case it is best approach to contact your mission before you apply. Ask them for an information leaflet. There you can also find out about your requirements for proof of health insurance. Find your responsible embassy on our “world map”.

For personal advice regarding visa issues, you can also contact the “Hotline Working and Living in Germany” on the following number +49 30 1815 – 1111. The hotline offers advice in German or English.

Detailed information on setting up a business are also available on “Make it in Germany”.

We hope you find the information useful and we wish you all the best for your future plans.

* Important 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 or residence permits. For further questions, please contact directly the respective authority. Please note, that 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 might change on short notice. Learn more here.

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

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