If you’ve gone through the paperwork for the residency permit for the purpose of freelance work (affectionately known among creatives as the Artist’s Visa), you probably didn’t read anything about needing job offers. The official website encourages you to bring your CV and references, but no-one says anything about needing to have work lined up before you can even start!
While all the other documents are clearly listed in the information the foreigner’s office sends you when you book an appointment, concrete information about “job offers” is conspicuously absent (at least, as of 6 August 2015!). Alas, many freelancers are turned away when they get to their appointment because they don’t have proof of any work lined up in Germany. The official line at the moment is that you need at least two job offers if you’re going for a freelance work permit (aka Berlin artist visa).
So what exactly is a job offer?
Red Tape Translation asked one of our favourite case workers to clarify. If you have a couple of freelance contracts in your hand already, you’re sweet. Otherwise, she suggested, a job offer could be a letter from a German company stating that they are willing to hire you on a freelance basis, mentioning the time period and a sum of money they plan to pay you. There is no magic amount of money that will automatically put you in the clear, either.
But I just got to Berlin and I don’t have anything lined up.
Artist friends, this might be the time to get creative. After all, that’s why you’re in Berlin, right? Are you a graphic designer? Find a self-employed friend in Berlin willing to hire you to redesign their letterhead, and get them to write a letter on it to that effect. Musicians, get a friend in Berlin to have a party and hire you to play. Opera singers, if you’ve had a successful audition with an agent who is willing to recommend you for work, get them to write you a letter to this effect. It’s a start, and everything is assessed case by case. Basically, take whatever you can.
I already have clients in Australia / New Zealand / the USA. Can I use that as a job offer?
Give it a try, take it and include it in your application. But just note, it doesn’t give the Ausländerbehörde any indication about why you actually need to be in Berlin to do your job. Thus job offers from German clients are recommended.
Red Tape Translation loves helping English speakers going for a residency permit for the purpose of self-employment (nicknamed the “Artist’s Visa” by Berlin’s creative crowd). If you want some help preparing, book an hour of Telephone Time and we’ll take you through it. If you want a German speaker to go with you to your appointment, have a chat to Kathleen Parker to book a translator / interpreter.