How can I work as self-employed?

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If you don´t want to work for an employee in Germany, then you have to become self-employed and start your own business. Whether you are allowed to work as self-employed depends on your right of residence. Based on your profession, you are either a freelancer (“Freiberufler”) or a businessperson (“Gewerbetreibender”). In any case, you have to register at the local Tax Office or Trade Office ("Gewerbeamt"). Some professions are known as "regulated professions", and a set of particular rules and regulations apply to their practitioners. As a self-employed individual, you are also subject to these Regulations. In order to work in such professions, first, you have to register for the recognition of the certificates you acquired outside Germany. As a self-employed person, you are responsible for providing various documents, among others, invoices and your annual tax return.

Rules and Regulations of Self-employment

Am I allowed to work as self-employed?

Can I simultaneously work for an employer and be self-employed?

Where do I have to register to become self-employed?

What does "freelancing" mean?

How do I register as a business owner?

What does „Small Business Regulation“ mean?

How do I issue an invoice?

What should I include in the invoice?

When do I have to pay taxes?

What does "Scheinselbstständigkeit" mean?


If your residence document does not explicitly permit gainful employment ("Erwerbstätigkeit gestattet") or self-employment ("Selbständige Tätigkeit gestattet", you are not allowed to work as self-employed. Also for freelance jobs, additional permits are often required to legally pursue your profession.