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How I Obtained My Freelance Permit

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Joined: 29 Sep 2011
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:23 pm    Post subject: How I Obtained My Freelance Permit Reply with quote

First of all, a big thank you to everyone on this forum who so patiently answered so many of my questions. As promised, I am writing a thread on how I received my freelance permit / residence permit. I am a U.S. citizen and am in Berlin.

Requirements to work as English teacher/trainer - From what I've heard/experienced, you need a Bachelor's Degree. A certification to teach English is also very helpful (TESOL/TEFL/TESL or Cambridge, etc). I had no experience teaching English before with the exception of taking part in some different tandem programs. My bachelor's degree is in education, but not focused on teaching English as a foreign language. A friend of mine studied health science and had no experience/background in teaching and was hired by Berlitz in Stuttgart. As a side note, most language institutes seem to pay around 12-16 euro hourly.

What to say at the border when arriving in Germany - I was very nervous about what to say at the border because my ticket was for almost the full 90 days allowed on my tourist stamp--I was not sure if I should say I am searching for work or just there as a tourist. This is how the entire scenario went: I walked up to the border officer's counter and said "good morning", handed him my passport and a form I had to fill out at the airport, he looked briefly through my passport and saw on my ticket that I was heading to Berlin, stamped my passport, and I moved on. He did not ask a single question.

-------Things you are required to do-------

Place to stay - You need to go to the Einwohnermeldeamt (local residents' registration office) in your district where your apartment is and get your Anmeldebest�tigung (within 2 weeks of moving into your apartment). Living in a hostel or hotel does not suffice. Just as a suggestion, I would look into WGs (Wohngemeinschaft / shared apartments) as they are not so expensive. I had the luxury of just staying with my boyfriend's family. You need your passport and also a birth certificate if you never registered yourself as living in Germany before. If you're staying with friends then bring one of them with you (it is important that they are also registered at the same Einwohnermeldeamt) and they need to bring their I.D. as well.

Health Insurance - As a freelancer you can ONLY get privately insured. If you somehow get offered contracted work (which is highly unlikely), then a public health insurance company is required to insure you. Traveller's health insurance through the private health insurance company Hanse Merkur (up to 1 or 5 years) is no longer considered accepted at the Ausl�nderbeh�rde/Foreigners' office. Hanse Merkur offered me a different kind of health insurance which would've costed around 280 euro/month. Instead, I decided to go with aLC. I pay quarterly but monthly the fee is around 173 Euro, so this is a better alternative in my opinion. Here is the contact information for this:

My personal contact:
John Gunn & Partner
Rehrstieg 52
D - 21147 Hamburg

Tel.: +49 (0)40 7666309
Fax.: +49 (0)40 76753301
Mobil: +49 (0)172 9482994

email: [email protected]

*** Health Insurance Update 6. April 2014 ***

I switched health insurance companies this year, so I am no longer with ALC. I am now insured through Care Concept. They are SUPER cheap. I paid about 639 EUR for an entire year. The insurance isn't super great, but I wasn't getting much covered from ALC and had a high deductible with them. Also, their fees increased greatly in the last year and they will continue to rise every year. So, if you don't often go to the doctor, I would recommend getting insured through Care Concept. Some insurance companies will say the foreigners' office won't accept Care Concept because it's considered an emergency insurance, but I've learned that the foreigners' office doesn't really care what kind of insurance you have, just as long as the insurance company can fill out a certain document that the foreigners' office will send you in an e-mail with the other requirements for obtaining/renewing your permits. Care Concept is able to do this.

Here is the link to the Care Concept website. You can change the language in the upper right hand corner to English or German, etc.

*** End update ***

Foreigners' Office/Ausl�nderbeh�rde Appointment - Make an appointment to go to the foreigners' office. If you do not make an appointment you will most likely have to wait around for hours and hours. For me the first appointment available was 2 weeks out so it may be a good idea to do this as soon as you arrive. You can always cancel it if you don't have your documents ready. When you make the appointment, they will send you a .pdf file for all the information you'll need to bring with to the appointment. Because everything at the appointment is said in German, I would suggest bringing a native speaker with you if you do not speak German. My experience is detailed below:

What to bring to the foreigners' office -
- Valid passport
- One passport photo (For specific size requirements, visit this website:
- They ask you to fill out a Finanzierungsplan (financial budget plan) and have it ready when you arrive, but they never asked to see this in my appointment, so it's probably not really necessary...
- On the website it asks you to bring an Etragsvorschau (how much money you would on average make) but I was never asked to show this at my appointment.
- Resume/CV
- Possibly a diploma or transcript to prove that you have a degree (I was not asked to show this)
- Proof of health insurance which your insurance company should supply for you either by post or e-mail (it is called Krankenversicherung Bescheinigung). Mine was sent to me via e-mail and that sufficed at the foreigners' office.
- Letters of employment (from what I've heard you need at least 2 letters of employment, but the officer I spoke to said that as a freelancer I can work at only one school if I wish).
- A current bank statement
- The actual form to apply for a Aufenthaltstitel (residence permit). The form can be found here: (its called Aufenthaltstitel Erteilung). They have it in different languages.
- Enough money to pay for the permit (this varies from 50 - 110 Euros according to their website). I had to pay 60 Euros.

Misc -
My Aufenthaltstitel (residence permit) is good for one year. The officer at the foreigners' office said that in order for me to extend the residence permit, I need to show that I have made around 12,000 Euro / year.

Tax -
You need to get a tax number (Steuernummer) from the local Finanzamt (the tax office). I have not gotten mine yet but I've been told it takes about 2-3 weeks to obtain this. In order to obtain this, you need to bring your residence permit with you, so this is something you can wait to do until you've got pretty much everything else sorted.

You also need a German bank account. You need your Anmeldebest�tigung to open a bank account here. I would suggest opening one at Sparkasse. If you are a student, it is free. Otherwise, the monthly fee is 2-4 Euros.

That's it!

I would plan on organizing as much of these things before your trip to make your time the least stressful as possible--also, because you only have 90 days to get everything organized once you arrive. It took months of planning to make sure everything would work out well for me. As a tip, I would e-mail as many schools as possible in your destination city with your resume and cover letter (make sure there is a professional picture of you on your resume). Even if you do not hear back from them, continue e-mailing them about once a month showing that you are interested in working with them. I would also write in the e-mail your date of arrival.

Obtaining health insurance was the most challenging part of all of this for me. I do not know what the experience is like in other cities, but I've had around five or six institutes offer me work and I have not even been here for a month. As a heads up, some institutes may actually want you to work for them even before you have your permit. I would suggest not to do this (not only because it is illegal), but because it is very stressful working when you do not yet have everything else sorted.

Finally, I received my permit on the same day I applied for it. I have heard horror stories that people have had to wait months at a time and visit different officers. This may be the case for you, but as I have heard, if an officer is not helpful to you, just make an appointment to see another one!

Feel free to send me a personal message if you have any questions! Smile

Last edited by dannenbr on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 40
Location: Belgium

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sounds like what I had to go through in one form or another. It may also involve dealing with the Industrie und Handels Kammer (spelled something like that) who deals with freelance matters. Just as a side note regarding the insurance: I'm paying 285 euros a quarter, but males pay a lower rate (no pregnancy coverage) and my deductable is 600 euros.
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Joined: 10 May 2013
Posts: 1
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow thanks! Kudos to the admins for making this post sticky.

I came to the forum to ask about getting a freelance permit in Germany. I'll be there for my post-graduate studies and I'm thinking into working part-time as a freelancer.

That was the plan. Little did I know that you aren't allowed to work in Germany on student visa. Now everything is complicated.

It's the health insurance: Since I'm going to study in Germany I've already payed for 1 year coverage at but since I will also be working there I'm worried if they'll give me the freelance permit at all.

I have all the other required documents.

Do I need to pick another plan in order for them to give me the freelance permit?

I'd really appreciate your help!
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Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 875
Location: the world

PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BritgirlInDE wrote:
I came to the forum to ask about getting a freelance permit in Germany. I'll be there for my post-graduate studies and I'm thinking into working part-time as a freelancer.

That was the plan. Little did I know that you aren't allowed to work in Germany on student visa. Now everything is complicated.

This sticky is aimed at non EU people who want to work in Germany as freelance teachers. Your avatar suggests you're already in Germany and are British, but your words suggest you're not. If you have arrived and are there on a British passport, then you'll just need a residence permit. You should've got this within a certain time period of arriving in Germany (3 weeks? Not sure if it's still that). Student health coverage should be fine*. I don't see how student visa conditions would apply to you as you won't need one. You don't need a freelance permit either. I guess you're planning to be there for the Sept. semester.

If you're not in Germany and are planning to be there without an EU membership passport, then I suggest you discuss what preparations you've made with the nearest German embassy/ consulate. See what they say about health insurance coverage and student visa requirements. The student plan you have looks okay to me as it covers doctors and hospital stays (latter very important), but I don't know if being a freelancer changes things. I'm surprised international (non EU) students are prohibited from doing any work in Germany.

In fact, even as an EU national, it would be good to check with an embassy on general regulations concerning students and freelancers*, and also do a search under EU (or international if you're not) students in Germany. Your university should be able to give you information on requirements as well.
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Joined: 29 Sep 2011
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:41 pm    Post subject: Re: BritGirlInDe Reply with quote

Hi BritGirlInDe,

I'm happy I could help! I just wanted to mention that you should be able to work with a student visa. The amount of hours/days you can work is a bit limited, but it shouldn't be much of a problem as a freelancer. I think you can work a maximum of 90 days but they may have increased this.

Best of luck to you!

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Joined: 06 Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Riyadh

PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can work as a student one of two ways. You can get what they call a 400 euro a month job which is the cap of what you can make. Second thought is to put out a post for tutoring on whatever campus you are on and surrounding areas. Many people are looking for private tutoring--esp. on a college campus if they have to write their thesis or any other piece of work in English. You can edit for them, etc. You make more money this way as opposed to going through a school who charges them upwards of 65 euro an hour and pays you 15-20 euro. Can you see how this is more beneficial for everyone involved??

As for how many places you can work, maybe each bundeslaender is different, but I worked in Hamburg for three different companies. If you wish to teach in Hamburg, HH, you have to have letters from minimally 3 companies saying they potentially have work for you. There are also agencies who will work with you on health insurance to help you get the best insurance coverage. With private insurance, you should never have a deductible--it makes no sense as for what you pay monthly, you may as well choose the no deductible and enjoy the health care system that is there and really good.

Many people think it is difficult to work in Germany as a freelancer, but I did not find this to be the case. The hours were flexible and I could pick up "shifts" classes and earn extra money--almost like waiting tables. The biggest thing is just showing up in person and letting them know you are in the country already and you are eager to work. I did not have any of my degrees completed at that time and it was not necessary. Bottom line is that you are a native english speaker and therefore, they will hire you over a German because the schools require a native speaker. Obviously any kind of teaching experience helps, but again, it is not that difficult Smile
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