NON-EU German University Graduate: How to Start Freelancing?

7 posts in this topic

Hey guys,

All good?

I hope it is, because I need your assistance with this one…

Here is my situation.

 

I am non-EU graduate (M.A. in Entrepreneurship)

I graduated last year here, in Berlin, and obtained an 18-month residence permit that allows me to look for a job, be self-employed or start a business.

 

 

Currently I am looking to start my one-man online marketing agency (though I would use other freelances as well) to work mainly with foreign clients (i.e. they are not located in Germany).

Given this, here are my questions.

 

#1: What exactly is my procedure for starting this up from the bureaucratic point of view?

From what I understand, I need to go directly to Finanzamt in order to get my Steuernummer (and get registered as a freelancer), but I also came across some resources that suggest I should first ask Bürgeramt for approval.

Please share your knowledge/experience with this.

 

#2: This one is for the future, because my residence permit expires in a little more than 6 months. How exactly do you extend residence permit, based on the freelance work that you do?

Please share your knowledge/experience here also.

 

I would appreciate advice that comes directly from your personal experience, because I did have a thorough look through online resources and need to clarify things…thank you for your time and input!

 

A warm day to you (even though it’s quite chilly in Berlin this morning)

 

ShineBrightLikeADiamond

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8 hours ago, ShineBrightLikeADiamond said:

Currently I am looking to start my one-man online marketing agency (though I would use other freelances as well) to work mainly with foreign clients (i.e. they are not located in Germany).

 

Only having foreign clients could be a problem down the road; you should also try to find a few local contracts.

 

8 hours ago, ShineBrightLikeADiamond said:

#1: What exactly is my procedure for starting this up from the bureaucratic point of view?

 

From what I understand, I need to go directly to Finanzamt in order to get my Steuernummer (and get registered as a freelancer), but I also came across some resources that suggest I should first ask Bürgeramt for approval.

 

You only need to determine whether or not you can be a freelancer or whether you need to register a business (Gewerbe).

 

8 hours ago, ShineBrightLikeADiamond said:

#2: This one is for the future, because my residence permit expires in a little more than 6 months. How exactly do you extend residence permit, based on the freelance work that you do?

 

You need to prove that your business is viable and that you have sufficient funds (including health insurance!) in order to extend your permit.  

 

Where did you study? Many schools have resources to help students and grads start their own businesses.

 

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I did basically the same thing as you, graduated here in Berlin, got my 18 month visa and began freelancing. I'm a marketing/sales consultant. I also work mainly with clients outside of Germany. Probably not great to have only clients outside Germany if you want to extend the visa, but more on that below. 

 

In regards to setting it up, I would highly recommend speaking with an English speaking tax advisor. I can recommend Benjamin Gruschla: 030 609834090.

 

You're going to need to have a tax advisor anyway, unless you plan on filing your own income tax return/VAT, which is not worth it in my opinion. His pricing is very reasonable. I think he charged me €60 or €70 to do the Finazamt registration. It's important that they fill it out properly. Especially if you want freelancing status and not to be classified as a business.

 

In regards to the future, I'm afraid I don't have experience there, as I'll be extending my visa through my wife (German citizen) now that we're married. Good luck!

 

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Thank you for your replies guys!

I was at Fiananzamt and a lovely lady took my application form for the freelance work saying that I will get my Steurnummer soon (she specifically told me to have my name on the mail box for some reason).

 

 

@engelchen:

Roger that on the local clients - will do.

Yes, I am aware of university resources for help, but thank you for the reminder once again.

What's the way to 'prove' business viability?

 

@CanadianExpat:

Thank you for sharing your experience!

It looks like I should just get married =D

My local friends helped me to fill up the form, so it looks like it's fine (I hope to get the Steurnummer soon).

 

Perhaps anyone else with the experience of actually extending the permit, based on the freelance activity in similar circumstances?

 

Thank you for your time and input, guys.

 

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On ‎19‎.‎07‎.‎2017‎ ‎10‎:‎45‎:‎52, ShineBrightLikeADiamond said:

I was at Fiananzamt and a lovely lady took my application form for the freelance work saying that I will get my Steurnummer soon (she specifically told me to have my name on the mail box for some reason).

 

Because apartment numbers are not common in Germany and mail is often returned if your last name is not on a mailbox.

 

On ‎19‎.‎07‎.‎2017‎ ‎10‎:‎45‎:‎52, ShineBrightLikeADiamond said:

I am aware of university resources for help, but thank you for the reminder once again.

 

It is probably the best place for detailed free advice.

 

On ‎19‎.‎07‎.‎2017‎ ‎10‎:‎45‎:‎52, ShineBrightLikeADiamond said:

What's the way to 'prove' business viability?

 

Fachkundige Stellungnahme / Tragfähigkeitsprüfung

 

BTW, how is your German?

 

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Hey - So, I'm in the middle of a lot of stress now, but if you still need help in a couple weeks then let me know.

 

I'm a HTW-Berlin graduate, freelancing in Online Marketing: www.kaseyphifer.com

 

Glad to help out, but in a couple weeks :)

 

-Naví

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If you don't know the language, highly recommend getting a translator to help you. The translation of the freelance tax number to the Finanzamt was 20 euro.  Note that they are a translator, not an accountant, which are two different services.

 

Once you are set up, you don't need to look for roles specifically in Germany.  You can try to obtain freelance work in other countries willing to hire someone that is not local (as in, someone that's can't just stop by for a coffee).

 

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