For all of you who’re interested in moving to Germany and starting a business in the country, you’ve come to the right place. In the following article, we’re going to provide you a mini-guide about what to expect when moving to “the land of poets and thinkers.”
Do you need to speak German?
Most Germans speak English fluently because it’s taught in schools. It shouldn’t be an issue to interact with a majority of the population, especially if you live in a large city. You can quickly get around places like Munich, Hamburg, and Frankfurt.
However, you may have a few issues in smaller cities that have an older population that doesn’t prioritize speaking English. Some things may get lost in translation when communicating with people who live in remote areas of the country. This goes for a lot of government agency workers who might give you a hard time when applying for a Visa.
That’s why it’s advisable to make an effort to learn the local tongue if you plan to live in Germany for the long-term. It’ll make your life easier because you’ll understand the culture and the customs so you can communicate with people meaningfully.
Take care of the transport requirements
Depending on where you live in Germany, you might need to take a written test or a driving test before you’re allowed to drive. If you plan to drive, invest in a German traffic book because the driving rules are different from most other countries.
If you want to drive your car, make sure it’s German approved otherwise, you’ll have to rent or buy a German- approved car once you move. Alternatively, take public transportation, Uber, or ride a bike and scooter-like many of the locals.
Get your paperwork in order
It’s essential to have all the required documentation in place when applying for a German visa. That’s because failure to bring even a single document can significantly slow down your application process, and cause you to miss out on lucrative employment opportunities.
Types of visas required
Generally, educated and skilled migrants that want to move to Germany must apply for a visa or a permit from their own home country. The following are the types of German visas that allow you to move and work in Germany:
The freelancer or self-employed permit is suitable for anyone that wants to start their own business or work as a freelancer in Germany, and you don’t need German clients to qualify for this visa. According to Bradford Jacobs, Germany company formation is also pretty straightforward and convenient, if that’s why you’re moving to the country.
The most important thing is to earn enough so that you’re not reliant on the country’s social benefits, and you must pay taxes in Germany.
The general requirements to get a freelancer or self-employment visa include:
- A business plan
- Proof of experience in your field
- Client references from existing customers and clients
- Evidence that you have sufficient funds to support you while you drum up business and regular income in Germany
- A portfolio of your work
Visit your local German consulate to find out more about specific application requirements because it’s slightly different from country to country.
The EU Blue Card
The next type of visa you might want to apply for is the EU Blue Card. This visa program is not unique to Germany, and it’s available in several countries around Europe. It allows you to gain residency quicker and cheaper than you would use other methods.
You can get an EU residency within 21 months after being granted your Blue Card depending on your level of German language skills.
This visa was designed for skilled migrants that have a minimum bachelor’s degree in their field as well as a job offer or signed employment contract. The EU Blue Card also requires the applicant to have an annual gross salary of about 52 000 Euro per year.
If you qualify for a Blue Card, your employer will apply for it on your behalf.
Temporary residence visa
The temporary residence visa applies to anyone that doesn’t fulfill the requirements of the previous two, and you can get it through a formal job offer by a German employer.
Thanks to a law that was passed in December 2018, German employers are allowed to employ non-skilled non-EU workers. This is mostly due to the country’s low birth rate, which has led to a skill shortage.
Before this law was implemented, the federal government gave priority to skilled workers and those with higher education. This law makes it possible to hire employees from outside of the country without going through a complicated process.
This type of visa is meant to allow foreign national applicants to come to Germany for a more extended period so they can apply for jobs and get interviews from within Germany.
The difference between a job seeker visa and a regular tourist visa is that a job seeker visa is valid for six months and is solely to come to Germany to look for work. It doesn’t allow you to work once you’re in the country, but you can reside in Germany for a more extended period than what would usually be granted under a business or tourist visa.
To get the job seeker visa, you need:
- Some form of travel health insurance for health emergencies
- Proof of at least a bachelor’s degree
- Updated cv and cover letter explaining why you need the visa
- Evidence that you have the financial means to stay in Germany
- You need a set amount of experience in the field that you want to work in, depending on your industry.
Are you thinking of moving to Germany? Whether you’re a student, an entrepreneur, or a professional looking to expand your horizons, Germany is one of the best places in the world to acquire valuable work experience and exposure to the global market.