Working Visa for a Salaried Employee
Who is it for?
A working visa is for experienced professionals, who received a job offer from a Berlin based employer. This visa is usually issued for professionals from fields, in which there is a shortage of in Germany and requires confirmation from the German Ministry of Labor (Arbeitsamt). This process takes about ten days to three weeks. After you've turned in all of the documents to the foreigners' registration office, they will be transferred to the Ministry of Labor. You will receive an answer along with a summoning to the foreigners' office in order to pick up your visa, or a rejection letter.
What do you get?
If your visa application had been approved, you will get a visa for one- to three years. Throughout that time you must be working at the same position and for the same employer that was approved by the Ministry of Labor. If you wish to switch employers, you must go through the same procedure again in the first 2-3 years of your stay as a holder of a working visa.
I found a job – how do I apply for a working visa?
Before applying, it is recommended to consult with a professional in order to estimate the chances of your application being approved, as the Ministry of Labor doesn't approve all the applications it receives. If your application is not approved – you might receive a deportation order from Germany and will be able to return according to the visa laws that are valid for people with your nationality.
Freelancer Visa and Artist Visa
Who is it for?
A freelancer visa is for experienced professionals, who are able to make a living in their profession as independents or freelancers in Berlin. Please note, that one of the requirements in order to get this visa is having a profession, in which one can freelance according to the German Income Tax Law.
What's the difference between a freelancer visa and an artist visa?
As we've said, a freelancer visa is issued to professionals who can work in their profession as a freelancer; however, it is issued for lot more easily to artists. This means that while artists usually receive their visa on the spot, other professionals who want to work as freelancers will be examined by another institute, usually the Chamber of Commerce or the Senat Administration of Berlin. This process can take around three months.
What does it mean when an application gets sent to the Chamber of Commerce or to the Senat Administration of Berlin?
A freelancer's visa is issued in all occupation fields in which one can work independently in Germany. However, it's easier to get the visa when working in the different fields of art. Meaning, if your field of occupation is not defined as art in Germany, the chances of your application being sent to the Chamber of Commerce or to the Senat Administration of Berlin are high. In this case, you will be issued a temporary visa (in German: Fiktionsbescheinigung), which will allow you to stay in Germany but not to work, until the decision regarding your application will be made. It is very important to note that it is within the agent's power to send your application to the Chamber of Commerce or to the Senat Administration for examination even if your field of occupation is defined as art in Germany. In order to minimize this risk, it is important to go to the appointment with a professional, or at least with someone who possess the relevant legal knowledge.
What do you get?
If your visa application will get approved, you will get a visa for one- to three years. Throughout that time, you will have to work as a freelancer in the field you are qualified for.
How will I know if my application is good enough?
Despite the rumors that say that this visa is easy to get, it holds different complexities which derive from the variability of the applications. Therefore, it is very recommended to set a preparation appointment with a professional, in which you go over the documents and make sure everything is written in order, that the forms are filled out correctly and that the application sends the right overall message. Even if you decide not to set a consultation appointment, I advise you to thoroughly understand the contents of your job offer, and specifically – job offers written in German in order to prevent misunderstandings.
Visa for Business Owners
Who is it for?
A business visa is compatible for people who want to start a company in Berlin, or for people who already have a profitable company in Berlin.
How do I do it?
The process of applying for that visa is not so different than the application process for a freelancer visa, only it is longer and more complicated. In order to apply for the visa, you will need to present documents related to the company you would like to start, including a business plan and a financial plan. In order to get these documents, and in order to set and run your company in Berlin, you will be required to work with a lawyer and a tax professional.
Is the visa issued on the spot?
Like in the case of a freelancer visa, also here, your application will be sent to the Chamber of Commerce or to the Senat Administration of Berlin. The average processing time is three to six months.
How will I know whether to apply for a freelancer visa or for a business visa?
People often think they need a business visa, when in fact, they are allowed to do the same things with a freelancer visa. It is recommended to set a preparation appointment with a professional in order to get an opinion on the matter.
Additional Working Visas
There are three other working visas: an internship visa, a job seeking visa for qualified professionals and a job seeking visa for Graduates of German universities. Here is a short description of these visas.
This visa is issued for a maximal period of six months, in order to allow you to take part in an internship in the field you've studied. To get it, you need to show an acceptance letter to the internship along with other requirement such as ensuring your sustenance in Germany.
Job seeking visa for qualified professionals:
This visa is issued for a period of six months for you to seek for a job in your field. In order to get this visa, you will need to prove that you are in fact professionals in a certain field, in which there is a need for work power in Germany. Additionally, this visa is only given to people who hold an academic education.
Job seeking visa for Graduates of German universities:
This visa is issued for a period of up to 18 months, during which you will be allowed to work with no restrictions. At the end of this visa, you will need to find a job in the field that you have studied in Germany. In order to get the visa, you will need to prove that you've finished your studies in a German university.