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I am an American citizen who wants to do a six-month internship in Germany. The company has said I would be classified as a freelancer doing contract work for them as opposed to a full-time employee or intern. I would essentially be invoicing them each month for my stipend as if it were a one-time contract job. I have to be in Germany for the internship during the entire six months, and obviously a tourist visa limits me to 90 days. My idea was to apply for the six-month job seeker visa for recent university graduates that would allow me to stay there for six months. Technically, I would be seeking longer term employment during that six months that would provide me a work permit, but I would also be doing "freelance" work for this company during that six months. Provided the work is classified as freelance and I am invoicing them as if I were a freelancer, am I allowed to do this even though I am not allowed to take up regular employment, since I would definitely be allowed to do the same type of work (i.e. freelancing) for the German company while residing in the U.S.? Would it make a difference where the stipend was transferred (a German bank account vs. Paypal vs. a US account)?
 

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Where and how you're paid doesn't really make a difference.

It's actually your employer who should be applying for your visa if you'll be working on their behalf for an extended period of time (i.e. something beyond the 90 day Schengen visa allowance). Take a look at the website for the German Missions in the US here: German Missions in the United States - Visa

In your situation, I suspect the "Business" visa may be the appropriate one - i.e. because you are on an extended business trip for your employer. Note that this one does require you to carry adequate health insurance while you're in Germany. But your "employer" definitely needs to get involved in the visa process if you will be working for them while over there.

By the way, your comment
Provided the work is classified as freelance and I am invoicing them as if I were a freelancer, am I allowed to do this even though I am not allowed to take up regular employment, since I would definitely be allowed to do the same type of work (i.e. freelancing) for the German company while residing in the U.S.?
is kind of backwards. You would only be allowed to do freelance work for a German company while residing in the US thanks to your US citizenship. It would not be particularly easy for a German national to do the same thing unless the German employer was backing them on the visa front.

Unfortunately, lots of US employers think they can just dump the visa hassle off on their employees or interns and not worry about it. It isn't usually the case.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Neither a 90 days tourist visa nor a job seeker visa allows you to do any kind of paid work.
To legally do what this company proposes, you need a business visa (and probably register a German residence, join German health insurance, pay tax and other contributions, etc.).
The much more common (and far easier) constellation is that the company hires the intern student temporarily and gets him a visa.
 

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I am an American citizen who wants to do a six-month internship in Germany. The company has said I would be classified as a freelancer doing contract work for them as opposed to a full-time employee or intern. I would essentially be invoicing them each month for my stipend as if it were a one-time contract job. I have to be in Germany for the internship during the entire six months, and obviously a tourist visa limits me to 90 days. My idea was to apply for the six-month job seeker visa for recent university graduates that would allow me to stay there for six months. Technically, I would be seeking longer term employment during that six months that would provide me a work permit, but I would also be doing "freelance" work for this company during that six months. Provided the work is classified as freelance and I am invoicing them as if I were a freelancer, am I allowed to do this even though I am not allowed to take up regular employment, since I would definitely be allowed to do the same type of work (i.e. freelancing) for the German company while residing in the U.S.? Would it make a difference where the stipend was transferred (a German bank account vs. Paypal vs. a US account)?


You can't work on a tourist or jobseeker visa.

There is actually a freelance permit that as far as I have heard is relatively easy to obtain for Americans.

You'd have to apply for it at your local Ausländerbehörde in Germany before you start working!!
 

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Agree with above - you cannot work on a job-seeker visa so this is not worth the trouble.

There might be some confusion around the word "intern" here - sounds like your future employer only wants to hire you as a freelancer. You are not formally any sort of intern, which I believe would have certain benefits. They are probably trying to save themselves some hassle by not treating you as an employee or student, without realizing that this doesn't change your need for a proper work permit.

However, given the relatively generous treatment received by North Americans (no need for visa before arrival and all that) I would try the following strategy:

1. Arrive in Germany, immediately register your address at the local Burgeramt or whatever it's called where you're living.

2. Head directly to the Ausländerbehörde (make an appointment before you leave the US, if possible, or go at six in the morning if there's a daily queue) and apply for a six-month residence permit to do your internship. Bring, among other things, proof of health insurance (which can be US-based travel insurance if it meets the certain requirements) plus proof of sufficient savings to get yourself home if there's a problem, a copy of your return ticket, university degrees and high school diplomas or whatever, and a letter from your potential employer stating the terms under which they wish to hire you. Make a good case, and if all goes well, you'll have a stamp in your passport that morning; if not, enjoy your stay as an unpaid tourist.

If you intend to find a permanent job and stay longer, that's a bridge I'd cross when I get there. Buy a return ticket that you can cash in or easily change, but have one with you as proof of your intention to return.

Last time we were over, I did something similar and it was very easy. But it was clearly a temporary stay - my wife's sabbatical semester. I had an offer letter for a project, showed that along with my CV, asked if I might be allowed to work as a freelancer, and was immediately given an unrestricted work permit for the five months I was there. I could have worked in a bar or kebab shop if I'd wanted to.

The "freelance visa" is an option worth exploring too - intended for creative industries and language teachers and whatnot. There are requirements that you show a bit of a business plan, whereas in your situation you already have an offer.

The safest alternative might be to pursue the business visa before you leave the US - then at least you're not getting on a plane not knowing if it will be approved. I'm not familiar with it so can't offer additional advice.

I've worked on freelance contracts a couple of times and, to my mild surprise, noticed that employers don't seem to care too much about your immigration status or check very carefully or even know what the rules are. If you were working for six months then technically you should have a German tax ID for invoicing and all that, but they'd probably be fine without one (you'd bill them with a US address and SSN though your could probably still be paid locally) or they'll decide it's some sort of tax-exempt student internship thing.
 

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Hello, everyone,

Please, I need information about cheapest cities in Germany, job opportunity, study opportunity and the cost of living
 

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Then you can read this forum and other sources on the Internet. All of these issues have been discussed before.
Just a short remark: The cheaper cities in Germany (most of them in the Eastern provinces) generally have less job opportunities. The best places for jobs are in the South, where it is also more expensive to live - for precisely this reason!
Also: It is very difficult to find a job without German language skills. What is your level there?
 
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