International company founders

Company founders with foreign citizenship are very welcome in Bavaria! In German industry, start-ups by people with foreign citizenship already account for more than 40 per cent of all start-ups in Germany. All support services on offer in Gründerland Bayern are essentially also available to international company founders. Some arrangements may vary, however, depending on personal circumstances. It is therefore important that you are familiar with the special requirements and are well prepared.

The start-up portal created by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) provides most of the important information on the subject of starting a business in English, French, Italian, Russian and Turkish.

Citizens from the EU member states and the states of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland require no special residence permit if they want to go self-employed and start a business, because they have freedom of movement and the freedom to trade.

If you come from a country that is not a member state of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) and you are not a Swiss citizen, then you will require a special residence permit that allows you to work in Germany on a self-employed basis. The Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IHK) or Chambers of Crafts (HWK) as well as specialist advisory centres for international citizens wishing to start a business can show you how to submit an application to the Foreigners’ Registration Office to secure a residence permit or extend your existing permit. The advisors can help you, for example, to establish the formalities you have to take care of and the knowledge you need.

When wishing to work on a self-employed basis in Germany, establishing whether a foreign professional qualification is recognised in Germany can also be important. The wide range of professional qualifications means that different places are responsible for regulating them in Germany. You will find detailed information on the Recognition in Germany website. The Bavarian Ministry of Social Affairs also has an overview of the relevant contacts in Bavaria.

Do you live abroad? Have you already started your business and are now planning to settle in Germany or Europe?

Then Invest in Bavaria is the right place for you to go. Invest in Bavaria is the state’s business development agency and it helps companies from abroad to set up and expand their business activities in Bavaria. The services are free and all enquiries will be treated confidentially. Invest in Bavaria and BayStartUP have developed the ‘Ois Easy’ package (Bavarian for a simple and stress-free approach to starting your business in Bavaria) especially for young start-ups from abroad that wish to establish themselves on the German market on a long-term basis. You can find out more about the ‘Ois Easy’ programme here.