Germany is one of the European countries that has been attracting a lot of digital nomads in recent years. Neighboring with other beautiful Western European countries such as Belgium, Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, working in Germany provides access to some of the best European experiences! Germany’s digital nomad visa makes this possible.
As one of the economic superpowers in the EU, Germany is a hotspot for anyone looking for work and entrepreneurial opportunities, and thus this visa allows travelers and freelancers to explore numerous opportunities for work and life-based interactions.
While living costs will not be comparable with most digital nomad destinations, it is a fair trade for the high living standard the country provides.
Germany is a developed country known for its bureaucracy. Thus, applying for a digital nomad visa for Germany may not be as simple as applying to other destinations like Dubai, Indonesia, and even Georgia. Any loose ends in your application may cost you a couple of weeks of setbacks.
The following will be a complete guide on everything you need to know about the Germany Digital Nomad Visa or, as they call it, the “freelancer (Freiberuflich) permit.”
Table of contents
- Working as a digital nomad in Germany
- Germany Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
- Cost of applying
- How to apply for the Germany Digital Nomad Visa (steps)
- Wrapping up
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Working as a digital nomad in Germany
Releasing digital nomad visa programs is usually an effort by the government to attract foreigners to their country. However, the program alone has never been enough to attract foreigners successfully.
For the program to bear fruits, the country has to have supporting factors that vary from living standards, tourist attractions, cultures, and many more. Sure enough, Germany, the country, has it all!
Germany is one of the developed countries experiencing a declining birth rate, and releasing the freelancer permit is an effort made by the government to tackle the problem. The program proved successful as Germany faced an increasing birth rate for the first time in decades.
How did the program become such a big hit, and why should you consider Germany your next working destination?
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Germany has always been open to accepting immigrants and foreigners into the country. Amongst more than 80 million people living in the country, you will experience the rich diversity that people in Germany peacefully share.
The culture in Germany deserves its own article. From exploring historical sites and attending Oktoberfest, there are plenty of things that you can experience while living in Germany.
With diversity and rich culture comes a great atmosphere. Why? The city architecture in Germany is heavily influenced by their history and culture, which often becomes the main appeal for foreigners visiting the country.
- Natural beauty
From the mesmerizing black forest to the different mountainous regions, Germany is blessed with the best natural beauty in Europe!
Not just mountains, you can visit the beautiful beaches located on the Baltic Coast, which presents a unique charm compared to the tropical beaches you may be used to.
- Geographical location
Germany has nine neighboring countries across its borders, including France, Switzerland, Denmark, and Austria. It is also close to other popular countries, including Italy and Scandinavian countries.
Germany makes an ideal home base, and you can travel across multiple countries during your stay as a digital nomad.
- Friendly people
One of the most important factors has to be the people. After all, the best way to know a place is by knowing the people.
Germany is known for its friendly and welcoming people. Whether you are coming with friends or alone, it will not be long before you meet new friends you can hang out with.
- A lot more
From the sports culture, beer garden, and numerous delicious foods you can find around the country, the list of reasons is pretty much endless. If you decide on Germany as your next destination, be sure you will have the time of your life!
Cost of living
Regardless of where you are going, it is essential to understand the cost of living in your new place. In this case, the cost of living in Germany, particularly Berlin, is certainly not the cheapest.
However, affordable living is still possible with proper budget allocations. Germany uses Euro (EUR) as their currency, and the rate at the time of writing this article stands at 1 Eur = $1.03.
Apartments are one of the most popular accommodations for digital nomads in Germany. According to reports by cost-of-living aggregator site Numbeo, renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Berlin will cost you a little over $1200, while an apartment of the same size would cost you around $900 just outside the city center.
An average meal at a regular restaurant can cost you as low as just $13 per meal, quite affordable for a developed country in Europe. You can get a 3-course meal in fancier restaurants for just around $30 per head.
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While Germany is known as a country full of car lovers, most people in Germany rely on the excellent public transportation system provided by the German government, and we suggest you do the same.
For shy of $90 a month, you will have unlimited access to every public transport in the city, including the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, Buses, Trams, and even ferries.
A reliable internet connection is one thing that is always present in a developed nation like Germany. You can easily connect to a private network provided by cafes, restaurants, and working spaces around the city. You can also purchase unlimited data with a speed of over 60 Mbps for around $40 a month.
Germany Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
Germany has a comprehensive tax law on who qualifies as a freelance worker. The categories for a freelance worker in Germany include:
- Healthcare worker
- Tax consultant
Other jobs that do not fit into the above categories will have to apply as a business owner, which is pretty standard as you can register as a one-person business (Einzelunternehmer).
Once you identify your job category, it is best to prepare the required documents ahead of applying, as there are a lot of documents that the German government will ask from you. Here are the required documents:
- Resident permit application (click here)
- Appointment information – to be given to your interviewer
- Biometric photographs – regular biometric photos as the one in your passport, can be taken in the German immigration office for $6
- Passport – should be valid at the time of your application
- Health insurance – proof of health insurance with international coverage, including Germany
- Homeownership/lease documents – proof that you have a place to stay during your time in Germany, including the cost of rent and utilities
- Resume (CV) – past work, experience, and education
- Cover letter – not necessary but encouraged to boost your chance of getting accepted for the freelance visa
- Recommendation letter – often asked by interviewers during the interview, it is ideal to have at least two recommendation letters at your disposal
- Letter of intent – you should have a minimum of 2 letters of intent to show that your work has demand in Germany
- Contracts – show contracts of the current job you are working on
- Portfolio – proof for your interviewer to know that you can do your job
- Permit – you need to show a working permit whenever your work requires one, usually needed for workers in the fields of health and law
- Financing plan – to give the interviewer an idea about how you will finance your life in Germany
- Bank statement – necessary to support the figures written in your financing plan
- Profit and loss statement – including your expected income and expenses for the following year
- Proof of pension plan – required for people looking for permanent residence regardless of nationality
Business documents (for business owners)
- Business plan – comprehensive plan on how you want to grow your business in Germany
- Business concept – explaining the products and services you are planning to provide in Germany
- Company profile – name, registration, contact information, management details, licenses, assets, and income
- Capital requirement – including startup cost and working capital required
Cost of applying
Applying for a Germany Digital Nomad Visa will cost you $62-$112. You can pay the fee in debit or cash, depending on the immigration office you are applying to. We suggest bringing at least $140 in cash just to be prepared.
How to apply for the Germany Digital Nomad Visa (steps)
The required documents above may be daunting, but applying for the German freelance visa is not as complicated. You can follow these steps:
- Make visa appointment
Germany has a long list of visa applicants, it may take up to 2 months to get an appointment. That is why it is best to make your appointment way ahead of time.
- Registering your address
Once you are in Germany, you can register your address at the closest local administration office.
- Visa interview
Remember to bring all your documents for the interview. In Germany, there is no such thing as too many documents! Make sure to make a good impression, it is an interview after all.
From endless job opportunities, and high living standards, to some of the most beautiful natural destinations in Europe, Germany has everything that makes it a haven for digital nomads.
The required documents may be daunting, but there is no need for you to worry. The application process is simple as long as you have everything prepared ahead of time. What are you waiting for? Time to plan for your move to the land of beers and festivals!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the most common questions about Germany’s freelance or digital nomad visa.
Your visa can be processed in just a few working days (some applicants get the Visa on the spot depending on the result of the interview), the long wait will be when you are scheduling your visa appointment, which can take up to 2 months depending on the number of applicants at the moment
This is a reasonable question, as the waiting time for the visa interview may take a couple of months. However, please do not stay in Germany without a valid visa, as you will get blacklisted from the Visa application.
The interview usually takes only around 10 minutes of your time. The interviews are not necessarily hard, remember to bring all your documents with you.
Unfortunately, there is always a possibility that your application gets rejected, which is why many applicants consult with an immigration lawyer to accompany them through the whole process. In case of rejection, you can call the “working and living in Germany” hotline for advice.