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Entry / residence for the purpose of economic activity

Employees, self-employment, research …

Wirtschaft

General information on taking up gainful employment

You are only allowed to take up gainful employment if your entitlement to work is expressly stated in your residence permit.
The German law distinguishes between employment (dependent gainful employment – employee) and self-employment (self-employed, freelancers).
Questions regarding employment should be directed to the German diplomatic mission in your home country or to the Foreigners’ Authority.

Please note:
Germany adopted the European Union's Directive on Highly Qualified Workers, which entered into force in 2012. The new law especially benefits scholars, researchers and students planning to take up employment in Germany.

Fees

The fee you will be charged depends on whether you are in possession of a residence title issued for the purpose of employment or your initial residence title has been amended to allow you to take up employment.

Furthermore, the amount you will be charged depends on the duration of your stay. So, for example, for a temporary residence permit granted for up to one year a minimum of €100 will be charged, for a temporary residence permit granted for more than one year €110.
The extension your residence permit will cost between €65 and €80.
For changing conditions on your residence permit (without granting or extending a residence permit) €30 will be charged.

Employment (employees)

Pursuant to Sections 18, 20 of the Residence Act (AufenthG), a foreigner may be granted residence title for the purpose of taking up employment, or the initial residence permit may be amended to allow the foreigner to take up employment. Amending or changing conditions on your residence permit is based on the intended duration and purpose of your stay.

As a rule, a residence permit pursuant to Sections 18, 20 (AufenthG) is only granted for highly qualified employees.
In most cases, proof of a specific offer of employment has to be provided. Applications to take up employment are to be submitted to the Foreigners’ Authority. Advice and information is also available from the Foreigners’ Authority. Your application is subject to approval by the Foreigners’ Authority and the Federal Employment Agency Bundesagentur für Arbeit - Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung (ZAV)

Required documents

  • Valid passport with visa or residence title
  • One biometric photograph
  • One completed application form “Erteilung der Aufenthaltserlaubnis“ (application for issuance of a residence permit) or “Änderung der Auflage“ (application for changing conditions on your residence permit)
  • Tenancy agreement with specification of the size of living space
  • Offer of employment or employment agreement including the job description
  • Proof of professional qualifications

Self-employment (self-employed, freelancers)

A foreigner may be granted a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment pursuant to Section 21 of the Residence Act (AufenthG), or, pursuant to Section 21, subsection 6 of the Residence Act (AufenthG), the initial residence permit may be amended to allow the foreigner to pursue self-employment.

Whether a temporary residence permit for the purpose of pursuing self-employment is granted, depends on the following criteria:

  • there is an overriding economic interest for your proposed professional activity,
  • a special regional need applies,
  • your business activity is expected to have positive effects on the economy,
  • the financing of your business is secured through personal capital or a loan undertaking
  • your business activity creates at least ten new jobs, and you invest an amount of at least 1 million EUR in your business

Please submit your application to the Foreigners’ Authority. Advice and information is also available from the Foreigners’ Authority.
Your application will be assessed by the trade and industry office (Wirtschaftsdezernat) of Magdeburg and the Chamber of Commerce (IHK) Magdeburg.

Required documents

  • Valid passport with visa or residence title
  • One biometric photograph
  • One completed application form “Erteilung der Aufenthaltserlaubnis“ (application for issuance of a residence permit) or “Änderung der Auflage“ (application for changing conditions on your residence permit)
  • Tenancy agreement with specification of the size of living space
  • Business registration and business plan
  • Freelancers need to submit their freelance contracts, and, if applicable, further proof of secure livelihood
  • Proof of professional qualifications
  • Proof of private health insurance (if applicable, include a confirmation from your health insurer which evidences that your health insurance provides the coverage of statutory health insurance pursuant to Section 11, subsection 1 to 3 of the German Social Code (SGB V)

Residence permit for purposes of research

In 2007 a law governing the implementation of various European Union directives relating to immigration and asylum, including the Researcher Directive (Directive 2005/71/EC), came into force and became part of domestic legislation in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees intends to facilitate the admission of researchers from non-EU states by a special, three-step procedure. The new procedure simplifies the obtainment of a residence permit for the purpose of research for stays of more than three months.

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Required documents

  • A valid hosting agreement (Aufnahmevereinbarung) pursuant to Section 38, subsection 1 of the Ordinance Governing Residence (AufenthV). The hosting agreement should be concluded with a research establishment which is approved by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees for implementation of the special admission procedure for researchers. Also, provide a description of your research project
  • A written declaration (Kostenübernahmeerklärung) by the research establishment accepting liability for the costs related to your stay for the period of up to six months after expiry of the hosting agreement (does not apply for research establishments funded mainly by the public sector)
  • Valid passport with visa
  • One biometric photograph
  • One completed application form “Erteilung der Aufenthaltserlaubnis“ (application for issuance of a residence permit)
  • Tenancy agreement with specification of the size of living space
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of secure livelihood
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