Vietnamese Citizenship: Starting a Business in Germany?

Question

I live in Germany since 2014. I have experienced background in product marketing and communication and product development. I would like to start my business here. I am focusing on design clothes (Bekleidung) and bags from re-usable and recycle materials. Besides that, I also want to introduce handmade from natural materials products from Vietnam, where I come from. At the moment, I have rattan bags and straws made from rice flour. I have an idea and a draft business plan, but I have no idea how to start and I am also looking for an investor to fund for my project. I speak fluently English and basic B1 German, but I try my best to communicate in German as much as possible. I appreciate your assistant to advise me a consultant to start-up my business in Germany.

Answer

Please note the following information regarding your residential status, if you do not have an indefinite residence title (“settlement permit”) in Germany:

  • If you are a citizen of the European Union, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, you are generally free to start up your own business in Germany.
  • If you are a citizen of another state, in order to set up a business in Germany, you will usually need a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment (Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Ausübung einer selbständigen Tätigkeit).

Therefore, you will need to clarify if your current residence status enables you to start a business in Germany. We recommend you to contact your foreigners’ authority (“Ausländerbehörde”). For a first personal advice according your 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.

Besides, there are many public information centres, 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.

Germany supports entrepreneurs with a number of funding programmes. Most of these funding programmes consist of public loans, which offer you better conditions with regard to their interest, loan periods and repayment terms. In order to apply for such funding, your place of residence and your company’s operations must be located in Germany. On “Make it in Germany” you will find more information on financing and funding.

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!

* 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
Projekt „Make it in Germany“
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln e.V.
August 2019

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