Do I need a visa to start your business?

The answer to this question generally can be divided into three parts:

  1. German or EU/EFTA citizens
  2. Third countries without a visa requirement
  3. Third countries with a visa requirement


German or EU/EFTA citizens

If you have a German or EU/EFTA citizenship you’re lucky. You have full access to the German labor market and do not require a visa or residence permit (=Aufenthaltserlaubnis) to enter or work in Germany.


Third countries without a visa requirement 🎫

Non-EU/EFTA countries are divided into two categories: countries with and without a visa requirements. Citizens from certain states such as Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the USA can enter Germany without a visa. However, coming from these countries a residence permit is required to enter the labor market and start working in the country.


Third countries with a visa requirement 🛂

The last option are countries for whom’s citizens a visa is required to enter Germany. A list of all countries with and without visa requirements is offered by the Auswärtiges Amt and can be accessed via the following link:


Coming from those countries one has to first apply for a visa to enter Germany. After their arrival in the country a residence permit has to be applied for additionally, before the expiry of the entry visa.


The residence permit is issued according to the AufenthG. It can be differentiated between people searching for employment and self-employment. If searching for employment §18 AufenthG applies. For self-employment which we consider to be more interesting for members of this community §21 AufenthG is applied. For a detailed explanation of the next steps check out our All-in-One Class: Founding in Germany.

For additional information, use the free access to our community to check out our exclusive online classes!

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All information is without guarantee.