I work remotely for a US company, and have been staying in Berlin. I'm applying for a language course visa, and one of the requirements is 'Proof of Secure Livelihood.' It specifies either an escrow account of more than 8136 euros or a third-party who can be confirmed as the primary source of income. My question is as how to answer this question. Is it OK for me to say that I am working for a US company remotely that does not German subsidiary (and on the visa application I noted that I am maintaining a permanent residence in the US I am returning to after the end of the visa (up to 1 year) )? Is it strictly legal, or a gray area? If not, what's the best way to deal with this question? Thanks.

  • Working in Germany without permit or staying there more than 6 months without paying taxes there is AFAIK strictly illegal. More than 3 months stay is already a permanent residence in Germany.
    – user9879
    May 3, 2017 at 10:47

2 Answers 2


Legal issues aside, I think you might be misinterpreting the requirements of the "proof of secure livelihood".

I'm assuming you are talking about Berlin, this might be specific to the Bundesland:

submission of a declaration of commitment by a third party on an official form (Verpflichtungserklärung)

You need to have the money, or you need to have a guarantee from a third party. A working contract is not a guarantee. If you'd stop working, they'd stop paying. A guarantee is something that says "we will pay for this persons costs, no matter what."

That said, the easiest way might be to open that escrow account. You will need the money anyway, you might as well have it in a German bank.


If you do not have a German work permit you are not supposed to work while you are in Germany, no matter who is paying you or where they are located. Working German residents are supposed to pay taxes. Presumably, you will not be paying taxes against the money the US company is giving you. THAT is the gray area you need to worry about, in my opinion.

  • It doesn't sound so grey ...
    – Scott Earle
    May 3, 2017 at 8:33
  • @ScottEarle agree, it sounds fully black.
    – user9879
    May 3, 2017 at 10:43
  • yeah...it IS black and white regarding the need to pay taxes. What's gray for me is, I am not sure how any of this works if you are on a student residence permit. I think a person may be able to work some small amount on a student visa but not sure, and I have no idea how that falls out under the tax code. OP needs to investigate that thoroughly.
    – user11687
    May 3, 2017 at 14:53
  • I can't comment on your comment above 9ilsdx but I'm not sure a 3+ month stay qualifies one as a permanent resident (as that really is determined by your residence permit), but it DOES qualify you as a resident for tax purposes.
    – user11687
    May 3, 2017 at 14:55
  • A US citizen or PR will be filing US tax returns regardless of where she lives, and will be paying US taxes on that income unless it is being taxed elsewhere. There is no chance the income will (legally) go untaxed. The only questions are whether the OP can have the status he wants in Germany while relying on the US job to pay for it and, if so, should the income tax be paid to Germany instead.
    – Dennis
    May 3, 2017 at 15:52

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