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How To Apply For Germany Digital Nomad Visa

7 min read

How To Apply For Germany Digital Nomad Visa

Germany is a Central European country. It is the European Union's most populous member state. Germany is located between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps to the south; It has the largest European economy and the third-largest land area, totalling 357,022 square kilometres (137,847 square miles).

Germany is bordered to the north by Denmark, to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland border it to the south, while France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands border it to the west. The nation's capital and the largest city by population are Berlin, and its financial hub is Frankfurt.


Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany


Germany has such a rich history and culture that listing every unique attraction and place to visit would be impossible. Nevertheless, some of the top attractions you must see while living in Germany are Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, The Black Forest in Southern Germany and Oktoberfest in Munich.

Germany has now joined several other European countries in regulating remote work and encouraging young professionals and entrepreneurs to relocate to the country. One of the main reasons the government is pushing for programs to attract young residents is the country's declining birth rate.

The German digital nomad visa is more than just a visa. It is a temporary residence permit that allows you to live in the nation and is an excellent stepping stone toward permanent residency. Although it takes around three years to become a permanent resident in Germany, some foreigners have utilized the German freelancing visa to begin living in Germany while working remotely.

If you wish to live in Germany as a digital nomad, the first step is to apply for a German digital nomad visa. But due to German bureaucracy, obtaining one may be difficult and frequently stressful. But it'll all be worth it if you want to live in one of Europe's most beautiful nations.


Related content: Obtaining German Permanent Residency in 4 years.


Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern bridge across the Rhine River, Germany

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern bridge across the Rhine River, Germany


In Germany, the digital nomad visa is officially known as the German Freelancer Visa or Freiberufler Visa. It acts as a residency permit, enabling you to live and operate as a freelancer in Germany. This visa is classified into two types:

  • Freelancer Entry Visa: This is a National Visa (D) you must apply for at the German Embassy in your own country. This is only good for a few months, but you'll need it to enter Germany and notify immigration officials that you're coming to work. When you arrive in Germany, you must exchange your visa for a Freelancer Residence Permit.
  • Freelancer Residence Permit: This permits you to live and work in Germany for an extended period. After you arrive in Germany with your entrance visa, you must apply for a Freelancer Residence Permit at the  Ausländerbehörde (German Immigration Office). The entry visa is no longer required after you have obtained the Freelancer Residence Permit.

German Freelancer visas are likewise divided into two kinds. You should apply based on your profession. The first kind of visa is the freelance employment visa (Freiberufler), which is better suited to digital nomads. It applies to professionals whose occupation contributes positively to Germany's culture and economy. Writers, artists, physicians, teachers, engineers, architects, journalists, veterinarians, and lawyers are among the examples. The second kind of visa is the visa for self-employment (Selbständiger). You can obtain this visa if you own or run a business and:

  • Your business is of economic interest in Germany.
  • Your business will be beneficial to the German economy.
  • You have funded your business with your own money or through a loan commitment.

Related content: What Is A Digital Nomad Visa And How Can You Get One?


Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany


If you meet the requirements for the German Freelance Visa and have a certified professional, you may apply for the German digital nomad visa. Apart from being a qualified professional, you must also satisfy the following requirements:

  • Your profession must have an economic interest or a geographical necessity.
  • You must demonstrate that you have a clientele who wants to work with you. Prospective clients must produce letters of intent indicating their desire to engage you. This is not a work contract but a letter expressing interest in your services or job.
  • You must demonstrate that you have the funds to live well in Germany with an income of at least €9,000 ($9,483 USD) per year.
  • You must be a legal resident of Germany by obtaining lodging and recording your residence with a local registration office, known as a Bürgeramt.

If you are above the age of 45, you must have an acceptable pension plan. However, This implies that by the age of 67, you must have the following:

  • A monthly pension of €1,333 ($1,405 USD) for at least 12 years; or
  • Assets worth at least €194,631 ($205,093 USD).


Marketplace in Wenigerode, Germany

Marketplace in Wenigerode, Germany


The German digital nomad visa is divided into two types. You should contact the nearest German Embassy to apply for a Freelancer Visa. You must apply for a National (D-Type) visa to work or freelance. The application procedure varies per Embassy, but you should follow these steps:

  1. You should contact your country's closest German embassy or consulate and schedule an appointment while gathering the required documents. Some of the documents are provided below; however, remember that each Embassy's requirements may differ.
  2. On the scheduled day, you will need to submit the documentation, and you may also be required to attend a visa interview on the same day or at a later time, depending on the Embassy's policies. In addition, you will also be required to pay a visa cost. The Embassy cost is €75 ($80 USD), while the Ausländerbehörde (Germany Immigration Office) fee is €100 ($105 USD). To pay the visa fee, you must follow the procedures provided by the Embassy. It may be done online, through bank transfer, or in cash.
  3. Finally, after completing all these steps,  you can now wait for a response. However, the visa application may take several weeks to three months.

Once your application is approved, the embassy will give you a freelancer entrance visa. The visa is valid for three months, during which you must visit Germany and apply for a residence permit, which will replace the visa.

You do not require an entry visa if you are from the United States, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, or South Korea. You may simply fly to Germany, get lodging and health insurance, and register with the tax office. Then, go to the Ausländerbehörde (Germany Immigration Office) and apply for a Freelancer Residence Permit.


Dinkelsbuhl, Germany

Dinkelsbuhl, Germany


You may apply for a Freelancer Residence Permit if you have all the essential credentials and tax numbers. To apply, you should follow these steps:

  1. Firstly, you will need to schedule a meeting with the Ausländerbehörde (Germany Immigration Office) and gather all of the necessary documentation, including your Certificate of Registration of Residence, letters from potential employers and a Freelance Tax Number.
  2. Ensure you arrive on time for your appointment to avoid queuing and attend the interview. After your successful interview, you can now wait while your visa comes. The processing period varies by state and might range from one to twelve months.
  3. Your career possibilities in Germany are one of the most essential elements for the Ausländerbehörde (German Immigration Office) to examine while processing your Germany digital nomad visa. That is why you must get a letter of intent from at least two prospective clients. Your clients' willingness to employ you while in Germany should be stated in the letter.

You may begin working after obtaining the Freelancer Residence Permit, the last stage in the visa procedure.


Related content: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency.


Kristin Castle in Germany

Kristin Castle in Germany


When applying for a Freelancer Visa in Germany, you must submit the following documents to the Ausländerbehörde (German Immigration Office):

  • Your passport.
  • A Passport size photograph of yourself must be recent and meet German visa photo standards.
  • Freelance Residence Permit Application Form (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels).
  • Your earnings estimate.
  • A Letter of Intent Collaboration. Your prospective clients (at least two) should send a letter indicating their intention to engage with you after you have the visa. This is only required if you will be working for payment.
  • If you want to work as both an artist and a language teacher: Proof of consistent income. For example, you may use your savings, a monthly transfer, or a "statement of responsibility" from a third party.
  • Health coverage. Statutory health insurers may refuse to enroll you if you do not have a visa. Thus, you should start with a private insurance plan.
  • Address Registration Certificate in Germany
  • Your rental agreement and landlord confirmation (if applicable).
  • Evidence of house ownership (if applicable).
  • Evidence of a retirement plan (if you are over the age of 45). This might include your money, pension rights, functioning assets, or proof of a private pension or life insurance.
  • Your curriculum vitae.
  • If you are a university graduate, you must provide evidence of graduation from a recognized university or training facility.
  • If you intend to work for a corporation or as a business owner:
  • Your company plan.
  • Your financial plan.
  • Registration in the Trade Register.
  • A letter from your university indicating that the information you gained there is relevant to your company concept.

You must translate these documents into English or German. If they are not, ensure that you translate them.


Relevant articles: Portugal Digital Nomad Visa, Romania’s New Digital Nomad Visa For Expats.


Jungfrau Alps, Germany

Jungfrau Alps, Germany


The processing period for German visas varies based on the visa, but it may take as little as one month or as long as four to five months, so do your research before booking a flight. Allow a few months to gather all of your papers and hear back from the embassy on the status of your application.


Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg, Germany


Germany is one of the nations where international freelancers must register with the tax authorities. As a freelancer in Germany, you must pay two taxes:

  • You must pay income tax as a freelancer earning more than €9,169 ($9,661 USD). This tax has a 14% basis and may rise to 42% depending on the circumstances.
  • Depending on your earnings, you will also be required to pay an Added Value Tax. It may be as low as 7%, but the average is 19%.

While paying taxes adds a degree of complication to working as a digital nomad in Germany, it also goes hand in hand with all of the advantages that residing in one of Europe's largest economies offers.


Lubeck, Germany

Lubeck, Germany


Germany is an excellent place to reside for digital nomads. It is culturally rich and has enough internet speed, which is critical for digital nomads. Furthermore, the transportation system is quite effective and fast, enabling you to effortlessly go from one city to another when on a break from work.

You may live in the busy metropolis of Hamburg or Berlin or the snow-capped Alps of Bavaria. You can anticipate a good standard of life as a digital nomad in Germany regardless of where you base yourself. Despite being one of Europe's critical economic actors, living as a digital nomad in Germany is cheaper than in other European nations. You can spend an average of $3,912 USD per month in Berlin. Apartments are priced at $1,362 USD per month.

There is a lot to do across the nation when you are not at work. Aside from seeing the country's major landmarks, you may relax in a beer garden and have some cold drinks. If you feel you are eligible to operate as a freelancer in Germany, you should apply for a digital nomad visa in Germany.


Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany


In general, Germany is a safe place to visit. The crime rate is minimal, and the law is typically observed. Of course, like any large metropolis, you must take care to prevent minor crimes. To avoid pickpocketing, always keep an eye on your things. Many cities in Germany are as safe as or safer than those in the rest of Europe.


Berlin, Brandenburg Gate

Berlin, Brandenburg Gate


Germany is a beautiful destination for digital nomads, with a strong nomad community and an excellent visa for freelancers and digital nomads. If you want to relocate to a beautiful and sophisticated European nation, living as a digital nomad in Germany is an exciting possibility. The nation has a growing population of digital nomads, and you can find them congregating in coworking spaces in major cities such as Berlin. In summary, Germany has a lot to offer. So, if you wish to experience its lovely lifestyle, you should apply for a digital nomad visa.


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I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.



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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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