Friday, January 21

Starting a Business in Germany as a Foreigner

So you have this amazing business idea and want to turn it into a reality soon. Where do I begin? What are the legal procedures? Registration ? and more…
Below is a gist of what you need and a little direction to get you started.

1. Getting a Self-employed Visa
If you plan to start a business During your graduation, involve yourself in various startup meetups, hackathons, , university entrepreneurship societies etc. It gives you ideas and helps build networks. Most important is the funding and the Exit Scholarship Program is the best funding available (a 1-year paid scholarship to work on your idea).

However, considering Post Graduation and funding available.

  1. Unregister yourself from your immatriculation with the university and you have to inform Kreisverwaltungsreferat – Ausländerbehörde ( to obtain 18 months of temporary post-graduation work visa).
  2. Approval as a self-employed person to KVR and IHK (Chamber of Commerce) (which will take 6-8 months). To get this, you need a connection to your degree with the startup, funding available, and that it should have a positive impact on German economy. You also need to submit
  • A financial plan for next 12-18 months
  • A business plan (either slides or word doc)
  • What happens after 18 months plan too

2. Registration with Notary
Before going to Notary, you need to first agree on:

  • Do you want an UG or GmbH? You can find more info here but simply with UG you can register for 1 euro in the capital and GmbH you need 25000 euros (or at least 12500 euros)
  • How many shareholders and equity shares?
  • A standard business template (given by Notar/Lawyer) and clauses
  • Adding a vesting period. You can learn more about vesting here.
  • German template or German & English template (both would cost you twice of the price)
  • You need the following documents:
    • Passport & residence card
    • German address document from KVR (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung, or Vermieterbescheinigung)
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Then, Notar will give you documents to register for the bank, and one document he/she’ll send to Handles Register ( so that you can officially get registered.

Appointments with a notary usually take 1-2 weeks, you need to set an appointment. In general, a Notar takes 150 to 300 euros, and Handles Register takes 60 euros for this process.

3. Open a Bank Account

4. Registration with Finanzamt
You do this by filling the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung. You must submit this form to your local Finanzamt in person or by mail. Once done you will receive

  • A tax number (Steuernummer)
  • A VAT number (Umsatzsteuernummer)

5. Get a Tax Advisor

6. Inform Your Health Insurance

Get the complete details from the link below
Sources : How To Start a Business in Germany After Your Graduation As A Foreigner

There are also companies like nextgenbusinesscouncil who help you set up your business.

Other useful links:
1. Starting your own business
2. How to Germany, Starting your own Business
3. How to Register UG (Mini GmbH) in Germany (UG Gründung)

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