Are Blue Card holders in Germany allowed to start a business besides their work as an employee?

I'm a non-EU engineer, with a blue card, working fulltime in a company in Germany.

I want to cofound a GmbH or mini-GmbH (UG) to work on my own project in my free time.

Assuming that my current employer will let me have my own business in my free time, Do you think the immigration office will also let me do this thing? What do I need to do in order to get the required permission?

P.S. My work permit is only for working in the current company. There is nothing mentioned about letting me be the director manager of a company.


2 Answers 2


Above all, this is a question between you and your employer. As already commented: consult your employment contract and give more context here to get better answers.

In Germany, everyone has the general freedom of action, article 2 I GG and this includes the right to pursue secondary employment. The extent to which such a secondary employment may be and how it relates to the work at the employer is to be clarified between employee and employer.

In your situation the following applies: Clarify everything very precisely and keep agreements in writing. The question of whether and how you set up a company is a different matter.


I would recommend to get in touch with your responsible officer at the immigration office. Just to be safe, as being owner of a company requires a separate work permit: Residence permit for the purpose of self-employment (this is the advice of Berlin's immigration office)
Best, David

  • 4
    This is good advice, but surely it should be possible to answer this generally, for all blue card holders, without resorting to "ask the government."
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 14:46
  • @phoog a 'general' answer, based on the given information, would be no. Without the written permission of the present employer, you cannot even start the process. Then you must start the process as described in the given link. Then a case by case decision will be made by the responsible authority (not the government) . How, with so many unknown, should a responsible general answer be given? Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 20:12
  • 3
    @MarkJohnson The question assumes that the employer consents. So "you need the permission of the responsible authority" is a perfectly reasonable general answer. But this answer does not say that; it says merely that OP should "get in touch" with that person. My inference therefore was that the person could explain whether it was allowed, not that the person has discretion to make a decision. I do not understand the assertion that the responsible officer is not the government. Does that person represent the employer?
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 21:02
  • @phoog he can't because he does not have the relevent information. Among others how has the OP has his BlueCard. What he, correctly stated is where the OP can get this information (when in Berlin). Note also it is a breach of contract not to have permission from your employer. An application won't even be accepted without that when the OP wants to do both. Thst is the only reliable information that can be given at this point. Authorities serve the government, they are not the government. Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 21:17
  • 2
    @MarkJohnson when communicates with an officer of the government, one communicates with the government, just as when one communicates with an officer of one's bank, one communicates with the bank. My only point with regard to this answer is that there is more information that can be given, as your first comment ably demonstrates. Since the question assumes employer consent, there is no need to spend undue time on the implications of lack of consent.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 0:06

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