Freelance English teaching while on a student visa

13 posts in this topic

Hello, I recently changed my residency permit as a freelance english teacher to a student visa. I discovered after the fact that as a student you're not allowed to do freelance work (as far as that's what it says in my new visa). Is there anyway around this? I would like to carry on teaching to support myself, eat and pay for shelter, and study at the same time, but these two things seem to not go together in Germany.

 

I'm a bit peeved about it. I told the bureaucrat responsible for this, at my most hated place on the earth (the German immigration office of Berlin), that I was still teaching and it's kinda obvious considering what my old visa was, yet it wasn't mentioned to me that it wouldn't be permitted with the new student visa (I only discovered it a couple of weeks later when I was showing a friend the new visa).

 

Cheers,

Michael

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And did the Beamte provide any advice when you told them that?

 

I would think the best thing to do would be to just have the freelance residence permit, as I don't think that precludes your studying.

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Is your new visa a short term or temporary student visa? I know that on my 12-month student visa I'm permitted to work up to 90 full days or 180 half days per year. It might be different for different nationalities, but I thought that was a universal rule...

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These posts and a similar one are quite old and do not come to a conclusion. I'm in the same boat as Michael and am wondering how to go about teaching with a student visa. I do not necessarily need to work for a language school. I've been offered teaching gigs directly from companies that would like for me to teach their employees. (Yes, after 6 months of hard job search, sometimes these things just fall into your lap). So, any advice as to how I can get that special paperwork that allows me to officially bill my clients and pay all those lovely German taxes would be much appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Jennifer

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Well, I am not sure if this will work - but try changing back to your old visa (the freelance teaching one). As far as I know, you don't need a sutdent visa to be a student here. I was enrolled at LMU on my freelance English teaching visa. They just wanted to see proof that I was allowed to be in the country - I was also only asked to show this one time (when I enrolled). Your best bet is probably to ask both the Intl. Student office and your Auslanderbehörde.

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Thanks. Actually, I'm not exactly in the same boat as Michael because I never had a freelance visa. I think I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and call the Auslanderbehörde with my B1 German. I'm concerned about a few details though. For example, my health insurance is a particular one for students and was especially cheap because of this. It's good for the next six months, which have already been paid for.

 

I wonder if it's possible to be both a student AND a freelance worker... (my passport is nearly full of visas now, but there's room for one more)

 

Yes, Toytown, I am substituting you for an expense lawyer and I appreciate your help

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"I wonder if it's possible to be both a student AND a freelance worker..."

 

I realize that this answer is a bit late, but I just saw this thread again and thought that you might still need the information.

 

In my experience, as a student (from America, at least), it is possible to work 90 full days or 180 half days per year on a student visa. A full day is defined as 8 hours, or in some jurisdictions (like mine) can be defined as 10 hours per day. A half day is defined as 4 hours per day. What this means is that you could essentially work three half days per week (8 hours on a Monday and 4 hours on a Tuesday, for example) and still fall within the law.

 

As a student, I worked for one of the big language institutes in Nuremberg doing just this, and I was able to earn (just) enough to pay my bills each month. (Students only pay around 10% in taxes and health insurance is much cheaper than for non-students, so factor this in when doing a budget based on a 12-hour per week income.)

 

It is "technically" possible to apply for extra hours when you're on a student visa according to the information I received from the Auslaenderamt here. However, when I asked to apply, I was told by the office that it is impossible to get these hours. My employer even called the Auslaenderamt and offered to provide whatever paperwork they needed in order for me to work more hours, but the Auslaenderamt wouldn't budge.

 

It is very important that if you choose to work as a student you follow this 90 day/180 day rule. My employer misunderstood the restrictions of my visa, and we got into a bit of a mess (read massive understatement). When we realized the mistake, I hadn't worked over the legal limit, but I was on the road to doing so, and wasn't able to work the last month and half of 2009, which meant major problems paying rent, health insurance, etc.

 

What some students do here, at least, is work "black". That means doing paid tutoring on campus that is never recorded on the books or working part-time in restaurants that don't ask many questions and pay in cash. This obviously isn't the best option, but it is an option if you need to supplement the rather small salary that working 12 hours/week brings in.

 

There are also other options for legally making money. There are some online companies doing writing tutoring and speaking sessions on the Internet that might be an option. One American company, Smarthinking, has a very good reputation as a writing tutoring company, and they work for many American universities, community colleges and school districts. Working for them doesn't pay much AT ALL ($10/hour for those with a B.A., $11/hour with an M.A. and $12/hour with a Ph.D.), but it IS a good way to supplement student income since you'd be technically employed and earning money in the U.S. and therefore not contributing to the 90 full/180 half day limit. To find more reputable companies like this one, you might try reading The Chronicle of Higher Education's jobs pages for online opportunities in America.

 

Okay, that's a lot of stuff, but I hope that it helps! Having been in this situation myself, I understand how frustrating it can be!

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The 90 day/180 ½ day rule refers to the maximum number of days you may be employed (angestellt). Most jobs on-campus do not count towards the 90 days, but all student visas are supposed to come with the restriction “Selbständigkeit nicht gestattet”, which explicitly prohibits self-employment.

 

From what I was told at the Ausländerbehörde in Berlin (by someone who actually knew what he was talking about), the reform that came into effect in 2005 makes it next to impossible for students to be self-employed during their studies. According to the operational bulletin in Berlin, it is only possible for students to apply for an amendment to freelance for a specific employer or occupation if they can demonstrate that it is in the public interest. The examples given in the bulletin are students who act as an interpretor or translator for a rare language or who work for up to 400€/month for a charitable organisation.

 

Going by the rules, it would not be possible to freelance as an Englich teacher while having a student visa, but you might be allowed to study while having a freelance permit.

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Thank you for your replies. Perhaps I'm paranoid, but I'm kind of afraid to change my student visa to a freelance one because I have a fear that they will revoke my current student visa and then deny me a freelance visa. Plus, don't you need at least TWO job offers at the exact same time in order to qualify for a freelance visa?

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so this post is about a year old, but am wondering if anyone has any new info...

 

I'm a freelance teacher, been here over a year now and am going to apply for a Masters program here in Hamburg. But the only way I'd be able to swing it financially is if I can continue to work at my job (teaching at a bank) around 10-12 hrs a week (assuming I don't receive any grants or scholarships). If I do get accepted, should I plan on keeping my freelance visa in place of a student visa?

 

Thanks!

 

Andy

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You still can't freelance with a study permit.

 

If you read post #5, Tenngirl was able to enroll at her university with a freelance permit, however, you won't know whether your university will allow you do until you try.

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I love it how they make it totally impossible for poor people to get an education here. What really peeves me is that this rule isn't just for foreigners, but for all poor German souls who happen to not have parents who can support them. What a crock.

 

Anyway, I was in the exact same boat. My school didn't even bat an eye when they saw my freelance permit and just handed over my new student ID with no questions, but you could always go and ask the admissions office if you are really scared they will do something. The only people who made a stink were at my insurance company since I have German student insurance. THEY said, according to their rules, I was allowed to work up to 20 hours a week as long as it did not conflict with my studies and it didn't matter how much I got paid. Living on 20 hours of teaching is more than possible (unless I imagine you are getting paid total crap). I had to fill out a form for them demonstrating how much I was earning and working, but that was it.

 

At the Ausländerbehörde I did fail to mention that I was still a student. Perhaps this was sneaky of me, but since every person I talked to had different information to give me, I figured to skip the complications and just not volunteer my student ID for them until they asked... which they didn't.

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I love it how they make it totally impossible for poor people to get an education here. What really peeves me is that this rule isn't just for foreigners, but for all poor German souls who happen to not have parents who can support them. What a crock.

 

First of all, my understanding is that fees are not that high here - 500-1000 euros for the entire year. Ok, so that does not include rent and such, but they do a needs-based system at some universities where you can borrow the money and pay back later.

 

In the U.S. a lot of public universities have the same system now, except in-state tuition is much, much higher and to live there twice that cost, so you can't pay it off by working while going to school anyways. Enter: student loan hell, people who owe tens of thousands of dollars.

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