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Germany – Self-Employment

Germany is known for its thriving economy and supportive environment for entrepreneurship, making it an attractive destination for expats looking to work as self-employed individuals or start their own businesses. In this article, we will break down how self-employment works for expats in Germany, provide a step-by-step guide on how to register as self-employed, discuss the possibility of working as a digital nomad, and explore the process of starting a company in Germany. We will also look at incentives and programs available to encourage expats to become self-employed or start their own companies.

How Self-Employment Works for Expats in Germany

Expats in Germany can work as self-employed individuals, either as a sole proprietor or by forming a company. As a self-employed individual, you are responsible for registering with the relevant authorities, paying taxes and social security contributions, and obtaining any necessary permits and licenses for your business.

It is important to note that the legal and tax requirements for self-employment in Germany can be complex, and it is advisable to seek professional advice to ensure compliance with all regulations.

Registering as Self-Employed in Germany

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to register as self-employed in Germany:

  1. Determine your business structure – Decide on the legal structure of your business, which could be a sole proprietorship or a company.

  2. Register your business – Register your business with the local trade office (Gewerbeamt) and obtain a tax number from the tax office (Finanzamt).

  3. Obtain necessary permits and licenses – Depending on the type of business, you may need to obtain additional permits and licenses at the national or municipal level.

  4. Register for social security contributions – Register for social security contributions with the relevant authorities.

  5. Register for value-added tax (VAT) – If your business involves selling goods or services subject to VAT, you must register for VAT with the tax office.

  6. Set up bookkeeping and accounting – Set up bookkeeping and accounting procedures to track income and expenses.

  7. File tax returns – File tax returns on a regular basis, either monthly or quarterly, depending on the size of your business.

Can You Work as a Digital Nomad in Germany?

Yes, it is possible to work as a digital nomad in Germany. However, if you are a non-EU citizen, you may need a visa to enter the country and work legally. The German government offers a freelance visa for self-employed individuals, which allows you to work and live in Germany for up to three years. To obtain this visa, you must provide proof of your professional qualifications, a business plan, and sufficient financial resources to support yourself.

How an Expat Can Start a Company in Germany

Expats can start a company in Germany by forming a limited liability company (GmbH) or a stock corporation (AG). Both types of companies offer limited liability protection for shareholders and are recognized under German law.


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Here is a step-by-step guide on how to start a company in Germany:

  1. Choose a company name – Choose a unique company name and check its availability with the Commercial Register.

  2. Draft articles of association – Draft articles of association and have them notarized.

  3. Obtain a trade license – Obtain a trade license from the local trade office.

  4. Deposit share capital – Deposit the required share capital (minimum of ‚€25,000 for a GmbH or ‚€50,000 for an AG) into a bank account.

  5. Register your company – Register your company with the Commercial Register, including obtaining a tax identification number and registering with the Social Insurance Agency.

  6. Obtain necessary permits and licenses – Depending on the type of business, you may need to obtain additional permits and licenses at the national or municipal level.

    1. Set up bookkeeping and accounting – Set up bookkeeping and accounting procedures to track income and expenses.

    2. File tax returns – File tax returns on a regular basis, either monthly or quarterly, depending on the size of your business.

    Incentives or Programs for Expats in Germany

    Yes, the German government offers several incentives and programs to encourage entrepreneurship and self-employment, including:

    1. Start-up grants – The German government offers grants for start-up businesses to help cover initial expenses and investments.

    2. Business development support – The government offers business development support through a variety of programs, including coaching, training, and access to networks.

    3. Accelerator programs – Accelerator programs provide start-ups with access to funding, mentoring, and other resources to help grow their businesses.

    4. Tax incentives – The government offers tax incentives for start-ups, including a reduced corporate tax rate for the first few years of operation.

    5. Visa programs – The German government offers several visa programs to attract entrepreneurs and investors from outside the EU, including the Freelance Visa for self-employed individuals and the Entrepreneur Visa for those looking to start a company.

    In conclusion, Germany offers a supportive environment for expats looking to work as self-employed individuals or start their own businesses. The legal and tax requirements can be complex, and it is important to seek professional advice to ensure compliance with all regulations. However, with the right planning and support, expats can successfully navigate the process of self-employment and entrepreneurship in Germany.


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In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.

Germany's Health Insurance Update:

Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.

COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:

With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.

Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:

Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.

Spain's New Health Advice App:

Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.

Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:

A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.

Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

YouTube Video UCB21b-C4O2aXm7H18_GsXMQ_nC_Fs6gU22U

Expat Focus International Healthcare Update January 2024

Expat Focus 31 January 2024 10:36 am

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