Is there any work visa which allows the holder to work for any company they want? (Or being a freelancer).

In Austria there is the Red White Red Card which allows the holder to work for a single company. After two years working for the same company they can renew their visa for a Red White Red Plus Card which allows them to switch jobs (or became a freelancer) without the need to make a new visa for every change. It gives them unlimited labour market access.

Is there a similar process in Germany? If so, how can the upgraded visa be obtained?


One option would be the so-called blue card. It does restrict you to a type of occupation and a minimum salary, but you can switch employers as long as you stay in your field.

If you want to be a freelancer, you can get a permit, too. Visa for self-employment. In summary, you have to prove that your idea for freelancing is valid and will feed you and enable you to pay taxes and pay into social security and mandatory insurances. In other words you have to prove that you will pull your weight and not require assistance. That includes some starting capital. So for example with a university degree in CS, freelancing as a software developer is a valid undertaking, while with no degree, freelancing in pool cleaning is not.

Now, you can start a pool cleaning business (see PDF above for rules) if you can prove you have the funds. But quite frankly, if you had that kind of funds, you would be talking to your lawyer, not to the internet.

  • Even with a Blue Card there can be restrictions on switching employers during the first two years, see e.g. service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/326856 On the other hand, what makes you think it's limited to a type of occupation? The main requirement is the salary threshold (the field only figures into it if you want to rely on the lower salary threshold).
    – Relaxed
    Jun 16 at 7:46
  • The last sentence also seems uncalled for. It's not unreasonable to look up information online before involving a lawyer and having financial stability or decent prospect of getting a loan to start a small business doesn't mean you have a lawyer on speed dial in every country of the world. As far as I can tell, we are talking about self-employment here, not residence/citizenship by investment for millionaires.
    – Relaxed
    Jun 16 at 7:52
  • I have looked into the Blue Card but it requires a degree (which I don't currently have) so it's not a possible solution for me right now. That's why I was asking if there was a similar solution like Austria's. Jun 16 at 12:26
  • "what makes you think it's limited to a type of occupation?" The law, mostly. You cannot get a blue card as a pool cleaner, no matter how much money someone pays you. So yes, you do not need to stay inside your type of occupation, you could switch to a different allowed type. Lets say you are not only a software engineer but also a doctor. But you cannot start out as a software engineer and then use your blue card to be a hair dresser. Even if you made more than 50k a year, you and the company would be under investigation for fraud, since local hairdressers only make a fraction of that.
    – nvoigt
    Jun 16 at 13:00
  • @nvoigt While researching another question, I just learned that Germany require some link between the field in which you studied and your occupation so there is in fact a limitation on switching between allowed occupations. My point is slightly different. The general Blue Card system and its implementation in other countries doesn't preclude that, it really applies to any sort of qualified occupation.
    – Relaxed
    Jun 16 at 14:18

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