7 Steps for Setting Up as a Freelancer in Germany

 

Step-by-Step Guide for Becoming Self-Employed in Germany


Freelancer Registration

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We have all heard how difficult it is to become freelancer or self-employed in Germany. Lots of paperwork and confusing information online! 

We made it easy for you because simplifying bureaucracy is our mission! 

Find below a step-by-step guide for setting up as a freelancer in Germany. No bla bla bla... Just facts!

Anmeldung

[STEP ONE] ANMELDUNG


Register your German address at the citizens office in your new city and receive a

tax ID (Steuer-ID) by post within 2-3 weeks. Without registration, you cannot work in Germany or do the next bureaucratic steps.

Important: Your name must be on the mailbox on the delivery day. 

Paperwork: Bring your completed and dully signed Anmeldung form, a valid ID or passport

and a completed & signed landlord letter to your local citizens office for registering your address in Germany. Make also sure to bring all translated documents proving your civil status: translated marriage certificate, translated divorce certificate, translated children's birth certificates, etc.

Appointment: Book directly an appointment for your Anmeldung here if you live in Berlin. Other locations: Hamburg - Düsseldorf - Frankfurt - Cologne - Dortmund - Stuttgart - Munich.

If you live in another city, you first need to search for your local registration office here (select "Einwohnermeldeamt", insert your ZIP code & hit the search button), then search for the "Termin" page to book an appointment.

German SIM Card

[STEP TWO] GERMAN SIM CARD


Get a German SIM card and/or a phone plan. You need one because you will have to add it on the freelancer registration form in case the Finance department wants to get in touch with you. 

Here are a few suggestions.

Bank Account

[STEP THREE] BANK ACCOUNT


Open a German bank account. You need one because you will have to add a German bank account number (IBAN) on the registration form to become a freelancer.

As a freelancer, the best choice for a bank account would be N26 (because not all banks accept freelancers!). It's totally free and you also get a free Mastercard (Debit).

Freelancer Registration

[STEP FOUR] REGISTRATION AS A FREELANCER


Register as a freelancer or self-employed to get a tax number (Steuernummer) and a VAT number sent by post to your registered address within 2-3 weeks. You can do this process easily online and in English for free using this website. They have good customer support in English if you need help filling in the form.

Important: You need to already have a Steuer-ID (see Step One), a SIM card (see Step Two) and a German IBAN (see Step Three) to be able to fill in entirely the registration form. 

Health Insurance

[STEP FIVE] HEALTH INSURANCE


Take out German health insurance. It is mandatory to have one in Germany, you cannot start working without having a proper health insurance!

If you are a freelancer who recently arrived in Germany from a non-EU country, your best choice at the beginning would be to take out an incoming private health insurance. We recommend Ottonova as they are cheap, in English and 100% digital. They have excellent online reviews.

If you are a EU citizen, try out this website to figure out what health insurance would fit better to your needs. It's a free service that will redirect you either to public or private health insurance, depending on your situation.

Post Delivery

[STEP SIX] POST DELIVERY


It's done! Once you get your freelancer tax number and VAT number by post (within 2-3 weeks from the freelancer registration), you can start working as a freelancer and issue invoices. 

You can also use this service for free to create professional invoices and connect your bank account.

[STEP SEVEN] VAT & TAX RETURNS


Once you start working, you will need to file quarterly or biannual VAT return. Every 3 or 6 months, you need to declare your VAT to the tax authorities (via ELSTER); then at a later stage, you also have to do your income tax return... 

You can do everything online using this website again. You can start for free then upgrade to a different plan depending on the size of your business.


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We hope this guide was useful and could help you relocate smoothly to Germany, stress free!

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