British citizens including freelancing performing artists do not require visas or residence permits if their activities are not classed as economic activities/ work, for details click here. This exception includes artists performing in the context of festivals or music and cultural events (Musik- und Kulturtage). The exception also applies to individuals posted/ seconded by a non-German employer in the context of guest performances or foreign film and television productions. Any visa-free stay in Germany may not exceed 90 days within 180 days and in addition, the performance days (including rehearsals) must not add up to more than 90 days within one year. Freelance fashion models, freelance travel/tour guides and freelance interpreters also do not require visas within the timeframes indicated above. These privileges also apply to all other nationals who do not require visas for visits not exceeding 90 days.
In all other cases, a visa or residence permit authorising freelance work is required.
British citizens may apply to the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for their residence permits after arrival in Germany and without having obtained a visa prior to travelling to Germany. Please note that you need to register your new residence (Anmeldung) with the authorities (Meldebehörde) within 2 weeks of having moved in and apply to the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for your residence permit within the first 90 days of your stay in Germany. This privilege is also extended to citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Korea (Republic) and the United States of America. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment.
Please note that you may only take up any economic activity once you have been issued a residence permit explicitly authorising self-employment. You may also choose to apply for a visa prior to travel, effectively permitting employment from the first day of visa validity.
All other nationalities require a visa prior to travel to Germany.
Some regulated professions such as medical doctors, nurses, teachers, architects, auditors, tax advisors and more require a formal license to practise their profession in Germany. Please consult the database on recognition in regulated professions.
You may also choose to apply for a visa prior to travel, effectively permitting self-employment from the first day of visa validity.
How to apply for your D-Visa:
1. Complete the VIDEX online application form, print the form including the barcode page (page 7) and sign the form on pages 5 and 6. Separate application forms are required for each applicant; all children also require separate forms.
2. Compile your supporting documentation to bring to your appointment:
- Printouts of the online application form including barcodes (as under #1)
- Valid passport signed by the holder, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least six months. The passport needs to have at least 2 consecutive blank pages (i.e. a blank double page spread).
Plus 1 photocopy of the passport biodata page
- Current UK residence permit (BRP)/ visa (non-British applicants only).
Plus 1 photocopy of the permit/ visa
- 2 fully biometric passport photos, size 35 x 45 mm. Consult our FAQs for detailed requirements.
- Detailed business plan outlining the project/ business idea and the projected revenue (if any) for the first year
- Evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself until sufficient revenue can be generated.
- Confirmation of health insurance cover commensurate with the level of statutory German public health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung)
- Professional curriculum vitae
- Prepaid, self-addressed Royal Mail Special Delivery return envelope (up to 500g) in order to return your passport after processing (not applicable for applications submitted to a Visa Application Centre run by our external service provider, TLScontact).
Processing time: For some visa categories, we will require approval from other German government agencies, such as the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) or the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde). If you have previously lived in Germany this will add to processing times, as the immigration office may need to look into your previous immigration record. Once a decision has been made on your application, we will contact you.
In this visa category, most applications are typically processed within 6 to 9 months. This also applies to accompanying family members.
Although we will provide you with a file number, please understand that we cannot respond to questions regarding the status of your visa application. Should we have any questions or should we require additional documentation to process your application, we will contact you.
3. Book an appointment to apply for your visa.
Where to book your appointment/ apply for your visa:
Accompanying spouses of applicants in the self-employment category are not generally exempt from the usual requirement regarding basic German language proficiency. Some exemptions apply.
If your application is successful, you will be issued a limited-validity entry visa - similar to a UK entry clearance. Once you have arrived in Germany please register your new residence with the local authorities (Meldebehörde) within 2 weeks of having moved in and apply to your local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for your Electronic Residence Permit. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment.
Further information on living and working in Germany is available here.