Business Immigration to Germany

Visa & Residence Permit Service
Legal Advice for Investors & Entrepreneurs
German Lawyers explain how to move to Germany. Use our quick on-page menu to learn more about your options. For more information, feel free to contact us.

Business Immigration for Entrepreneurs and Investors

As the world’s third largest export nation, competing with China and the US, Germany is rightly viewed as a door to the world. Germany has also proved itself an investment magnet and one of the best places in the world for foreign investors and entrepreneurs. Situated at the heart of Europe, Germany is one of the main destinations for investments within the European Union. Entrepreneurs as well as investors appreciate its highly-educated workforce, as well as its political, social and legal security.
In order for investors and entrepreneurs to settle down in Germany, several hurdles have to be overcome. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our experienced team of lawyers will assist you in starting your business in Germany. For business investors and entrepreneurs it is possible to obtain a residence permit under § 21 of the AufenthG (German Residence Act) by acquiring or by establishing a company in Germany.

When it comes to the availing of such visa, there are several steps that have to be gone through. It is here where having an experienced partner is of great benefit.

Your Options to Come To Germany

Explore Europe's Innovation Hub

Business Immigration

Business investors and self-employed persons can obtain a German residence permit by acquiring or founding a company.

EU Blue Card

We provide advice and represent you – even in the event of your EU Blue Card application being rejected.

Family based Immigration

Parts of your family are living in Germany or you want to move family members to this country? Explain your situation to us today and we will help you.

Contact our Lawyers for Immigration Law

Our lawyers are always available for you. Contact us today for business immigration or any other matter relating to immigration law.

Requirements to obtain the German Self Employment Visa and Residence Permit

The key to obtaining a German residence permit as an entrepreneur according to § 21 AufenthG (Residence Act) is to show that the business will have a positive effect on the German economy, i.e. that there is an economic interest and / or a regional need for the business and that funding has been secured. Entrepreneurs must show that their business will increase the market potential as well as sales opportunities of other German enterprises and that it will create a positive impact on the economy.

In 2012, the immigration law and § 21 Residence act was changed to the effect that the applicant will no longer have to demonstrate a minimum investment amount or the creation of a certain number of workplaces. In the previous versions it was still necessary to identify an exceptional economic interest or a special regional need, which was assumed, among other reasons, in particular if substantial investments were made and a significant number of jobs are created or secured. Initially the investment volume of 1 million euros with the creation of at least ten full-time jobs was required. The provision was gradually reduced to 500,000 and 250,000 euros and five jobs and has been now completely eliminated in the current version of the German immigration law.

If the applicant has exceeded the 45th year of his life, they will be required to prove that adequate pension provisions have been made.

The following aspects determine whether the business in question will be of economic and/or regional interest:

  • Sustainability of the applicant’s business concept
  • The applicant’s entrepreneurial experience
  • The qualifications of the entrepreneur
  • Financial investment
  • The company’s impact on employment and vocational training
  • Contribution to the national or regional economy, innovation, and research
  • Competition with established businesses

Frequently asked questions regarding our Business Immigration Germany Program: German Self Employment Visa and Residence Permit

Below, you will find list of the most frequently asked questions about our services with regard to Business Immigration in Germany. If you have any further questions about our Immigration Services or about our lawfirm in general, you can contact us at any time.

How can I apply for a Visa and what kind of category I have to apply?

After we have prepared the required documents and cover letter in accordance with the checklist of the embassy, we will appoint an interview for the national D-Visa at the German embassy in your country of residence. You have to pay the visa fee and save the receipt in order to show it later to the consular officer during the interview.

It is important to be punctual at the embassy for your meeting with all the required documents with you arranged in the given order. Depending on the embassy the meeting will last a few minutes or up to one hour. We are offering a D-Visa coaching for our clients in order to prepare them for this interview situation. During the interview the consular officer will look at your documents and ask you a few questions regarding your background as well as the business idea and the business plan. 

Are there specific branches of business or industries that are preferred for the German Self employment immigration category?

There is no list of industries that are preferred by the German government. In principle, you can open a business in any area and obtain a German residence permit trough Business Immigration Limits are only set where the business model cannot be brought into line with German law. 

Does the selection of business plan / type depend on the specific regulations of each state / city?

The legal requirements are basically the same throughout Germany.  However, there are of course certain industries which are preferred in some regions / cities in Germany.  We will be glad to help you find the right place in Germany for your business idea.  For this purpose we will conduct a market research in advance and contact the relevant authorities to discuss your Business Idea. 

Is there an age limit for the Self-employment Visa?

Applicants  for Business Immigration in Germany that are over 45 years old are required to provide proof of adequate provision for old age or pension plan. Perspectively, at the age of 67, you must have the following:

  • a monthly pension of 1,280.06 euros (for at least 12 years) or
  • assets which amount to 187,682 euros.

Proof of a pension plan is not required for these nationalities: Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United States of America.

Are there Any minimum investment amount requirements?

There is no minimum investment required to obtain a residence permit as an entrepreneur in Germany Several years ago it was assumed that the economic interests in Germany are fulfilled, if the applicant invests at least 250k EUR.  This requirement has now been abolished and no minimum investment is required anymore


However, it is important that sufficient capital is available to create the company and manage it according to the business plan.  Especially for the start-up phase, sufficient liquidity should be available There is no fixed amount for this.  We always determine the capital requirement together with our clients after we have discussed the business idea and know what monthly fixed costs can be expected. 

Is it a mandatory requirement to recruit persons from the German labour market?

According to 21 AufenthG (Residence Act) it is considered positive if jobs are created in Germany. However, this is not a prerequisite and a residence permit can also be obtained without hiring personnel from the German labour market.

Is a company and residence address in Germany required? When do I have to register the address? 


To establish the company, it is a prerequisite that a company address exists. Since our clients are often not in Germany at the time of the company foundation, many decide to rent a virtual office as a company address. After you have received the D-Visa, you must also have a private address in Germany.  Otherwise you cannot register at the registration office and will not receive a residence permit.

Can I set up the company together with a business partner following which we both apply for a residence permit for self-employed persons in Germany?

In principle, it is also possible to set up a company with several shareholders or a joint venture company.  However, it must be made very clear what kind of role and function the individual shareholders have.  Please feel free to contact us regarding the planned company structure.  We will advise you on the possibilities and best chances of success.

Is there a minimum time I must stay in Germany in order not to lose the residence permit? For how long will the foreigner office issue the residence permit?

The validity of the residence permit is generally limited to a period of 3 years. Subsequently, a settlement permit (unlimited residence permit – § 9 subsection 2 AufenthG) may be granted if the applicant can show that they have covered the cost of living and that the business has been successful.

Procedure for Business Immigration to Germany



No matter whether you already run a business, have an business idea or still need inspiration: Our lawyers for business immigration will support you with their experience in the preparation of your business plan.



We coordinate the contents of the business plan with the responsible local chamber of commerce and make sure that your plan meets all requirements.



Our lawyers for commercial and corporate law as well as our specialist lawyers for labour law ensure that your company is founded without legal worries.



We take care of the application for the required visa according to § 21 Residence Act.



German bureaucracy does not have to be complicated: our lawyers will accompany you in all legal matters, both during and after your entry into Germany.



Finally, our lawyers take care of the application for your residence permit. We make sure that your application meets the requirements and that no questions remain open to the German immigration authorities.

About us

German lawyers for Business Immigration: Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we are an internationally active law firm based in Germany. Our primary field of focus is German immigration law. On this front, we have been advising clients from all over the world – private individuals and corporations alike – for many years in a wide-range of immigration matters. With our corporate clients we have had a special focus on business immigration – from assistance with the appropriate visas to advice on relocation to Germany and support with German corporate legal requirements. On this website you will find out how our services can benefit you.

One of the services we provide is advice on German residence permits and how you can legally reside in Germany. There are several ways in which citizens from non-EU Member States can obtain a German residence permit. For example, it is possible for business investors and self-employed persons to obtain a residence permit under § 21 of the AufenthG (German Residence Act) by acquiring or by establishing a company in Germany. Whereas for highly-qualified workers they can obtain a residence permit under § 19 AufenthG and § 19a AufenthG.

When it comes to the availing of such visas, there are several steps that have to be gone through before they are awarded. It is here where having an experienced partner is of great benefit. Our lawyers regularly help our many clients to avail of suitable visas. Assisting them to fulfil the necessary requirements while bearing in mind the relevant deadlines is what we do on a daily basis. You can learn more about the services we offer by clicking on the relevant tab above.

As an internationally-oriented law firm, we understand that our clients prefer to receive advice in their own language, due to the high level of complexity and detail inherent in immigration legislation. Therefore, our attorneys are fluent in English, Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, and Arabic as well as German. This ensures that we will be able to communicate smoothly and not get lost in translation. Please feel free to contact us directly for a consultation or to approach us with any questions or concerns you may have.

Services for German Business Immigration Clients

As any of our clients who has gone through the Business Immigration process in Germany will tell you, navigating any area of German immigration law is not an endeavor you'd want to go through alone. There is an extensive paperwork process that even natural-born German citizens would struggle with.

Many applicants are not clear about everything required of them during the application process, and this lack of information contains the risk, that they do not provide the involved authorities with the necessary documents / information, miss deadlines or make other mistakes. It is here where having an experienced partner is of great benefit. Our lawyers regularly help our clients to avail of suitable visas. Assisting them to fulfil the necessary requirements, while bearing in mind the relevant deadlines, is what we do on a daily basis. You can learn more about the services we offer below: Schlun & Elseven Attorneys consists of a team of highly-skilled and experienced lawyers. Our legal professionals specialise in comprehensive support of businesses and entrepreneurs, and offer a full-service package of legal counsel and representation.

Drafting a Business Plan
Market Research
Business Idea Consultance
Discussion with authorities
Contact with Chamber of Commerce
Visa Application Assistance
Contact to your German Embassy
Company Formation
Business Assistance
Application for Companies Tax ID
Application for Business License
Due diligence if needed
Employment Contracts
D-Visa Coaching
Application for a residence permit
Application for a settlement permit
Family Reunion
Full-Service Advice in any legal matter
Free initial assessment of eligibility

Frequently asked questions regarding the fees for our Business Immigration services

Below, you will find list of the most frequently asked questions about our services with regard to Business Immigration in Germany. If you have any further questions about our Immigration Services or about our law firm in general, you can contact us at any time.

How much do you charge for your services?

The fees we charge for our immigration services in Germany depend largely on the services required for the intended purpose and in consideration of the circumstances. After we have received your request for assistance we will provide you with a noncommittal, transparent fixed price offer for our all-inclusive services.

What activities are covered in your professional fees?

Under the section „Our Services“ you can find all the services that are included in our fixed price. This is a brief overview of the services that we provide of entrepreneurs in the area of Business Immigration through setting up a company in Germany:

  1. Providing strategy and guidelines
  2. Drafting a business plan if necessary
  3. Discussing the business plan with the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  4. Incorporating a company (e.g. foundation of a GmbH)
  5. Applying for visa according to § 21 AufenthG
  6. Registration with the local registration office after client’s entry 
  7. Applying for a residence permit by submitting of all documents
  8. Extending the residence permit 
  9. Applying for Permanent Residency

Do you provide a free initial assessment of eligibility? What information is required for this assessment?

Yes, we provide a free initial eligibility assessment. For the assessment, the following information is important, whether and how you can move to Germany.

  • Business Idea
  • Tell us about your work-related qualifications and work experience.
  • Education/University degree
  • Age
  • Language skills
  • Available investment capital

You can use our online form in order to send us your inquiry for the free initial assessment of eligibility. 

Does your fee include the company incorporating fee? How much is this fee?

Our fee is not including the company incorporating fee. Depending on the city and notary the fees for the notary and the trade register are maximum 1.500,00 EUR in total.

Free initial assessment of eligibility

With this offer, we want to ensure that we only accept mandates that can meet the requirements for the process. Are you unsure or do you have remaining questions? Our lawyers for Business Immigration Germany will be happy to help you.
homeapartmentlicensebubble linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram