Visiting, working or doing business in Germany can be a breeze once one knows the rules, regulations and formalities of the country.

Germany is a Schengan country hence a Scehngan Visa is required during your stay here. The same can be applied for at the German Embassy. As with any country visa, there are different categories of visa based on the purpose of visit and stay, viz. Tourist Visa, Work Permits, and Business Visa.

1.1 Visas & Work Permits:

Schengen Visa- also known as a “short-stay visa”, allows visitors to enter the Schengen area for a period not exceeding 90 days. Application for the same may be made at the German Embassy or Consulate for the specified period. The visa application must be accompanied with (a) Travel insurance to cover medical costs for the entire duration of your stay, and (b) insurance policy covering repatriation on medical grounds, emergency medical attention and hospital treatment up to 30,000 Euros.

1.2 Business Visa

A Business visa may be applied by people intending to make a business trip to Germany for a period exceeding 90 days. Citizens of many countries do not require a visa if they plan to stay up to 90 days. However, the nationality of the applicant determines whether you require a business visa or not.

1.3 Different Categories of Work Visas Permit for General Employment

If the applicant wishes to enter Germany to seek employment, s/he is required to apply for a Residence Permit. S/ he can only be eligible for general employment only if a Worker from the EU, EEA or Switzerland cannot fill the position.  The application has to be accompanied by a vocational qualification and a firm job offer in Germany. The permit is valid for 1 year, which may be extended if the worker is still holding a firm job. After the completion of 5 years of employment, s/he can apply for a Settlement Permit to enable her/him to stay in Germany permanently.

Permit for Highly Skilled Workers

Under this category, a permit is given for an individual earning 84,600 Euros or more having a firm offer and permission from the Federal Employment Agency. The applicant can apply for a Settlement Permit (mentioned above, in 1.3), which will give her/him the freedom to live and work in Germany permanently.

Permit for Self-Employed Persons or Freelancers

Under this category, the applicant is able to apply for a Residence Permit for Self-Employed Business Purposes.  The initial validity of this permit is for 3 years, which can be extended if the business is successful. It is vital to prove that the business has to fulfil a ‘need’ in Germany and is conducting business to benefit the country from an economic perspective. Such a business or business person must be fully financed with her/ his own capital or a by a bank loan.

2. Social Security in Germany:

Contribution for social security payments is made in equal proportion by Employers and Employees who contribute directly to pensions, nursing care and sickness. The cover extends to • Health insurance. • Nursing care insurance. • Pension insurance. • Unemployment insurance. • Accident insurance. However, in case of accident insurance, it is the Employer alone who covers the cost of accident insurance.

3. Taxation in Germany:

There are various taxes in Germany including Income Tax, Solidarity Tax, Church Tax, VAT and Municipal tax.

All employees in Germany are subject to mandatory health insurance cover. • Individuals earning a gross annual salary of 54,900 Euros or more. (i.e. 4,575 Euros per month or more), should ensure that they have private health cover.

Tax rate varies from 1 to 45% based on income level.

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