If you're a digital nomad and want to travel the world as your job, Germany is an excellent place. It's one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads. There are many reasons to love it: from beautiful landscapes and delicious food to amiable people.
But before you pack your bags and head over there, there are some things you should know about applying for a freelance visa in Germany. While being a self-employed remote worker with nomadic tendencies is a genuinely exhilarating experience, it still requires a lot of research and knowledge about the world.
If you want to take your freelance work to a new home country, then feel free to read on. Applying for a German permanent residency requires much work and research, but we've boiled it down to a single article. If you're a true entrepreneur who isn't afraid of a bit of work, the application process shouldn't be a problem.
What Is a Digital Nomad?
Digital nomads are people who can work remotely from anywhere in the world. They usually have a laptop, Wifi, and a smartphone. They can work from cafes, coworking spaces, libraries, and even airplanes. Digital nomadism is especially popular among millennials who want to travel the world while earning a living. Digital nomads are found in countless countries, including:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- South Korea
Digital nomadism has become an alternative lifestyle for many people because it allows them to travel while working on their laptops or smartphones. You don't need to rent an office if you're doing this kind of work because everything can be done remotely with your computer or mobile device.
Some massive perks of being a digital nomad include:
- Freedom: You're not tied down by an office job, so if you want to work from the beach, outer space, or kitchen table, you can do it.
- No commute: If you have a long commute every morning and evening, that's time wasted that could be spent working on your laptop. Now, with this visa in hand, it doesn't matter where you live — you could even live in Germany (if Germany is your thing).
- No boss: It can be a drag when someone tells you what to do at work every day and expects results on time — being self-employed means you don't have to answer to anyone but yourself.
Digital nomads typically make money through freelance work. They may be self-employed or work for a company that has granted them the right to perform their job remotely. In either case, a digital nomad visa will allow them to stay in Germany while they perform their duties.
How To Apply for a Digital Nomad Visa
To qualify for this visa, you must have a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) or a permanent resident permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis). You need one of these permits to obtain the visa that allows you to live in Germany as long as you want.
These visa applications are typical across many European countries, so if you're an ex-pat who's already gone through processes to get a visa in Europe, it shouldn't be too hard. Applying for a digital nomad visa to any EU country in the Schengen area is usually a somewhat complex process. However, it is still more accessible than in many non-EU countries.
These are some essential first steps to take when applying for a visa in one of these countries:
- Contact the embassy or consulate in your home country and ask about the requirements for applying for a freelance visa in Germany. Also, request an application form and find out how much it will cost to submit your application (usually between $30 and $50).
- Fill out all the forms required by the German government and your country's government before submitting them via mail or fax (ask which is preferred). If applicable, make photocopies of these documents before sending them in because they may be lost or damaged during transit — and if this happens, you could get stuck waiting months while they're being reprinted.
- Mail everything off with any other required documents such as proof of income; one copy each should suffice if everything matches up correctly upon arrival at its destination.
While these rules are relatively general, it's essential to research on your own just so that you can be entirely up to date with any visa requirements. These requirements change in German embassies reasonably frequently, so keeping up with these standards is essential.
What Do You Need for a Digital Nomad Visa?
A large part of the digital nomad visa application is looking for whether or not you will be a suitable addition to the country. The cost of living in many first-world EU countries is noticeably higher, and if you're planning on living there full-time, it's vital to prove you can sustain yourself.
Here are some things that Germany, as well as many other countries of the European Union, is looking for:
The first thing you'll need to do is make sure that you have health insurance. If you don't have it, you won't be able to apply for a freelance visa in Germany. You'll also need proof of your healthcare coverage when applying for your visa.
You should be able to find health insurance and travel insurance online, as long as it covers any medical expenses while abroad and has been obtained legally (meaning no fraud). The German government doesn't require specific companies or plans, so feel free to shop around.
This is one of the ways that a tourist visa generally differs because it won't deal too much with your health coverage. This will also get handled differently if you take your family members with you, so make sure you know what requirements you need to meet.
You must prove you have an income of €100,000 per year before tax. The amount varies based on your age and marital status. You can verify this using information directly from your bank account.
If you're a digital nomad who wants to relocate to Germany and work remotely, you'll need to ensure that your German residence permit is approved. For this to happen, you must save €10,000 post-tax. This is the minimum amount required by law.
Depending on some factors, you may have to submit bank statements to the tax office on your visa application form. Tax consultants will often take considerable looks at your work visa to ensure you can sustain yourself off of remote work or not.
To become a digital nomad, you'll need more than a valid passport. There are many application fees and income taxes that you'll have to deal with. Part of this is the government trying to prove that you have enough money and willpower to go through the whole process.
This will often decide if you're going to be a temporary resident looking for hotspots or a dedicated startup looking to start a new life in a good place.
The German freelance visa has a lot of benefits, but it is also a complex process. Congratulations if you are eligible and have been approved for the freelance visa. However, that decision could have consequences if you don't meet the requirements or make a mistake in your application process.
To help ensure that everything goes smoothly and successfully, ensure you understand what will happen during this necessary process so that it doesn't come as a surprise. Getting these kinds of visas can be difficult and take anywhere from a couple of weeks to one year to even a couple of years, so make sure you can handle this process correctly.
If you would like to trial life as a digital nomad in Europe, consider first applying for an ETIAS. On an approved ETIAS, you can visit your EU country of choice for up to 90 days, per 180 day period, while working on your business. This will enable you to have the flexibility to try living in a few different EU countries before selecting your ideal location.
EU travel authorization rules frequently change but you can keep yourself informed by following the current ETIAS requirements.
Next time you're setting out on the adventure of a lifetime and need a nomad visa or an ETIAS, check out the latest information and resources.