American Citizen: How to start a business in Germany?


I am an American citizen and would like to move to Germany permanently with my family. I like to open a business in Germany. I understand that I need to submit a detail business plan to the German embassy for approval. Creating a business and a business plan from scratch is somewhat difficult. So I decided to purchase a franchise. This franchise has a very detail business plan and supporting document. Can I submit this business plan or do I have to make one personally?


Dear Madam or Sir,

thank you for your inquiry and your interest in setting up a business in Germany. We will gladly give you more information. provides international professionals with information on working and living in Germany. Detailed information on setting up a business are is available on “Make it in Germany”.

Please consider the following information on visa requirements:

When you apply for a residence permit, you normally have to bring the following documents with you:

• Completed application form
• Valid passport
• Business plan
• Proof of health insurance
• Researchers and academics: current employment contract
• Graduates from German universities: copy of your degree certificate
• People over the age of 45: proof of adequate pension provisions

It would be wise to also submit documents on the following topics:

• Your references
• Your entrepreneurial experience

Please note: This list is not exhaustive or universal, as the documents you require will depend on the circumstances of your individual case. The best approach is to contact your mission or immigration authority before you apply and ask them for an information leaflet or about the documentation they will require. There, you can also find out about your requirements for proof of health insurance. Your mission or immigration authority will also be able to advise you on whether your pension provisions are adequate.

You can also find support at the German Chambers of Commerce and at German Business Associations abroad. Similarly, institutions in the place where you intend to take up residence may be able to help: for example the Chambers of Industry and Commerce or the “Welcome Centres” which have been set up in some German states.

For further orientation on your residence permit option, please try out the Quick-Check on “Make it in Germany”. For personal advice regarding visa issues, you can also contact the hotline “Working and Living in Germany” under the telephone number +49 30 1815 – 1111. It is free of charge and the service is provided in German and English. Also this chart might help you with your visa application.)

Furthermore you can find out about the requirements that you need to fulfil to be able to receive a.

More information on setting up a business or how to receive a permanent settlement permit can be found on the website "Make it in Germany".

We wish you all the best!

Best regards,

Your Make it in Germany Team

*Please note that “Make it in Germany” does not issue or support any visa application even if you may be qualified for that. The information presented on Make it in Germany is a general service. 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.

Quelle: Justina Godesberg
Projekt "Make it in Germany"
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln e.V.

Juli 2021