Ask A Question  | Learn more about Germany

What are the residency requirements for holders of resident permits for the purpose of self-employment?

I run a trading company in my home country and have frequent business interactions with German enterprises. I am considering opening a branch in Frankfurt and want to use the new branch to apply for a resident permit. Instead of running the new branch myself, I would like to hire some local employees to supervise the daily operation of it while I spend most of the time in my home country managing the main business. Is this viable? Do I have to live in Germany and operate the business myself in order to keep my resident permit?

  • ECOVIS Beijing (Richard Hoffmann Rechtsanwaltskanzlei)
    September 28, 2018

    In order to fully evaluate your chances of receiving a resident permit according to the plan you outlined, we will require additional information from your side. For the following analysis, I assume that you are a non-EU national and not a citizen of a country with special arrangements with the EU regarding the acceptance of foreign labor (e.g., Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina). In general, it is possible to acquire a resident permit as the GM of a German GmbH, even if you not fully reside in Germany. In order to first set up your company in Germany, you require a visa, either a national (German) or a Schengen Visa. Citizens of Australia, Israel, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea do not require a visa to first enter the country. There is no “investment visa” system in Germany like the ones that exist in Canada or Australia. Hence, an investment alone will probably not be sufficient for the authorities to issue a resident permit. Regarding your resident permit, it is furthermore important to know whether you only wish to have residency in Germany or residency rights for the whole EU. The former is generally easier to receive than the latter. The good news is that prior investment requirements (at least 250,000 euros of investment and at least five local jobs created) are no longer in place. A certain proficiency in the German language is another factor that can help you in this case. To give you a realistic insight into the feasibility of your strategy, we would need to know: your nationality, the size/scope of your business, the size/scope of the business you would like to set up in Germany, your German language proficiency.