Work Remotely in Germany

Man working remotely at home

Remote work is nothing new nowadays. More people would like to work from home, even in a traditional place like Germany. Additionally, the wave of digital nomads and expats is on the rise. These individuals prefer to live abroad but still have a sustainable job or online income. But what about Germany? Can you legally live here and work remotely?

If you follow residence and work permit restrictions, you can live and work remotely in Germany. No or few limitations apply to stays under 90 days. One can work remotely from Germany.

Working remotely and living overseas is enticing, but taxation and social security laws should be considered. In many circumstances, residency and work permits are involved.

Are you working a US job and moving to Germany? Read this guide.

How To Live and Work Remotely in Germany?

A photo of a street in a European town at night with half-timbered houses and street lights.

Generally speaking, you can work remotely for some companies (German or foreign) or be self-employed and reside in Germany. But there are a lot of details to it.

Mobile jobs may affect an employee’s taxation rights or social security status.

Most importantly, before working remotely in Germany, analyze any double taxation and social security treaties to avoid legal issues with the German government.

Overall, working remotely in any EU country shouldn’t worry EU/EEA residents. They can work in Germany for 183 days a year without penalty. However, they will become tax residents, which will have implications.

Work Remotely in Germany: How To Do It Successfully

Non-EU citizens

According to German law, EU/EEA citizens can get away with living or traveling abroad and spending their working hours quite easily. But it’s different for a non-EU citizen with the same work.

To work in Germany, one must have a work permit.

Moreover, you’ll pay tax if you stay in Germany longer than six months. Ultimately, we must always consider the caveats when working remotely and living abroad

Working Remotely for US Company While Living in Germany

Residence Permit When doing remote work

An image of a small village in the countryside surrounded by green fields and hills.

Generally speaking, there is no record of concrete regulations regarding residence permits for remote workers in Germany. You can try your luck, but nothing is guaranteed.

Many world nationalities don’t need a visa to visit Europe for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180-day window.

If your foreign or German company agrees, you can live and work remotely in Germany for 90-day business visits to buy work equipment or training swiftly.

To enjoy long periods in Germany, you must apply for a residence permit, but some nationalities in the world will have to travel to their home country and apply from there.

If you plan to stay longer than three months in Germany, you’ll need a freelancer, self-employed, or working visa.

There are a few residence permits options you can apply for depending on the person’s situation.

You might also want to read this article about working remotely for German companies from abroad.

Working Remotely for German Company While Living Abroad

German EU-Blue Card

The main requirements to get an EU-Blue Card in Germany are:

  • Have a job offer in Germany;
  • Have a recognized high degree associated with a job;
  • Have a salary of at least 56,400 EUR (2022) and 43,992 EUR (2022) for high-demand professions.

High-demand (shortage) professionals are in mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, technology, and medicine.

Your single employer has a branch in Germany

EU Blue Card will be granted without a problem if all requirements are fulfilled, and your employer is in Germany.

When your company doesn’t have a branch in Germany

If your company doesn’t have a branch in Germany, you must make it clear to the government why you want or need to stay there in the future. Maybe the activity is somehow related to Germany, like investing in German companies etc.

Since you don’t have an employer in Germany, you must get private health insurance: Ottonova and Feather are preferred for expats in Germany. SafetyWing is the best for digital nomads.

But if you are looking for the cheapest coverage, check out this article

For the EU-Blue Card application, you will need:

  • Foreign employment contract and its translation into German
  • Passport
  • CV
  • Health insurance policy
  • Registration in the town where you live in Germany (Anmeldung)

German working visa/residence permit

The standard working visa is granted to people with lower income than required by the EU-Blue Card but also for the professions in the shortage list and people without university degrees.

In most cases, the government will need a working contract with a local employer in Germany or the corresponding branch. 

German Freelance or remote work Visa

German Freelance Visa is a perfect solution for digital nomads, self-employed, or online business owners. It’s a long-term residence permit with great advantages.

The main requirement is to work as a freelancer and have customers, clients, or partners in Germany.

You’ll need the following documents for a residence permit in Germany 

  • Proof of income from working abroad or in Germany
  • Proof of health insurance coverage in Germany
  • Proof of long-term accommodations (lease) in Germany
  • A letter of intent or motivation

Read an in-depth article about Freelance Visa and its requirements.

What Are The Requirements for a German Freelance Visa?

Working Permit

All these residence permits will give you a work permit in Germany, which you need! You can’t legally work on a tourist visa; it results in legal issues.

Paying Taxes While Working Remotely

A photo of a person sitting on a lounge chair on a patio working on a laptop.

You must pay income tax in Germany even if your job is abroad.

But a person can also be taxed in another country, like the country of their origin or where their employers and clients are situated.

Here are general rules and regulations for employment law taxation when living abroad, according to German tax law.

If you live in Germany for less than 6 months

When spending under 183 days in Germany within a year, you will still be taxable in your home country or where you are employed without paying anything to the German state.

If you live in Germany for more than 6 months

You will become a tax resident in Germany when staying longer than 183 days. 

(This doesn’t apply to US citizens). You won’t have to pay taxes in your home country when you no longer have permanent residency and don’t receive income there.

However, you might still be liable for taxes if you receive some income from there.

US citizens

US citizens are taxably liable for their worldwide income in the US, even if they live abroad. Therefore, you must file a U.S. federal tax return every year and report your global income.

Taxes in Germany VS US – Full Comparison 2022

Know your tax liabilities in the home country

As mentioned, you will pay taxes in Germany when living there long-term, but you also might have to pay them in your home country.

Some different rules and laws apply to different countries in the world, but for example, in Europe, if you still have an apartment in your homeland, you will pay taxes there. 

If you moved out completely from your usual place of residence and don’t have future income from a business, rental, or capital assets or spend independent work hours there, then you won’t pay tax there. 

VAT taxes

An image of a pile of tax forms and a calculator on a white marble background.

Employees working remotely pay VAT in Germany if their clients are:

  • a private individual located in Germany
  • business located in Germany
  • a private individual located in the EU

The VAT tax in Germany is 19% of the generated revenue from sales.

Double tax agreement

The next step is to determine whether Germany and your country have a double tax agreement. For example, US citizens are paying taxes in both countries.

Nonetheless, they will contribute the biggest amount in Germany due to the double tax agreement.

To avoid unnecessary troubles with German tax authorities or any legal entity, request a consultation with a tax advisor in Germany!

Get your taxes sorted as home office employees

A tax report dashboard showing taxes in 2020 and tax reports.

Source: getsorted.de

Are you a freelancer or planning to become one? In Germany, the bureaucratic nightmare can get you! But you can avoid it by getting Sorted.

Sorted will do all the bookkeeping, tax, and VAT declarations. 

What can you do with Sorted?

  • Legally register as a freelancer if you are just starting out
  • Create legally correct invoices
  • Prepare and submit tax reports
  • Get help from professional tax advisers
  • Connect to your bank account for full transparency
  • Track your income and expenses
  • Full overview of taxes

Kontist app

A website’s landing page for Kontist, a tax service company, with a purple and white background

Kontist is another tax management option for freelancers, self-employed, or independent contractors. With the app, you can effectively:

  • handle taxes and communication with the German tax office
  • consult experts

Kontist also offers a special bank account for freelancers and self-employed in Germany. 

Some additional features:

  • Services & customer support is 100% in English
  • SEPA transfers 
  • Overdraft – between 500 EUR and 5,000 EUR

You can start with the free plan, sign up here.

Check out the best bank accounts in Germany for freelancers.

Social Contributions

AN image of a hand holding a folded stack of US dollar bills. The background is a plain grey wall.

Like income tax, a person is liable for social security in the same country where he/she physically lives and works.

With self-employment in Germany, you can opt-out from the public retirement system and some other contributions, but you are responsible for paying for health insurance.

If you are liable for social security overseas, then it is likely that your employer may also be liable for the employer’s social security in that country.

Cheapest Health Insurance in Germany

American citizens

Americans who work In Germany either for an American employer or who are self-employed still get their US taxes paid. Social Security taxes.

In some cases, US citizens can opt out from the American system. It can be done by opening a business or becoming self-employed in Germany.

Working Remotely for US Company While Living in Germany

If you work for a European business

Same as with the double tax agreement, there is an agreement about social security between EU/EEA countries. It will protect you from paying social security in Germany and in another EU/EEA state. 

The agreement states that an employee remains liable for social security if he/she was sent to Germany by the employer.

Thus, if instead, you choose to relocate to Germany with your fully remote working, it’s not 100% clear where you and your employer will pay it.

Whether you are working remotely from home or a coffee shop, streaming movies, or want secure, unrestricted access to the web – VPN will help. The top providers in Germany are:

Health Insurance For Germany for Remote Workers

A photo realistic image of a person working on a laptop at a desk with a blue surface, a white cup and saucer, and a notebook. The background shows a bookshelf with books and a vase of white roses.

All employees working from home must have German health insurance. You can choose between two types of health insurance, depending on the kind of work you are performing.

Remote employees can only get private health insurance in Germany. Ottonova and Feather are preferred choices for expats in Germany. SafetyWing has the best coverage for digital nomads.

Private health insurance is often chosen by self-employed, students, unemployed, and those who aren’t public German employees. Premiums depend on the selected package and coverage.

If you need a global health insurance solution, we recommend Cigna Global. With Cigna, you can enjoy instant and easy access to healthcare facilities and professionals around the globe.

Visit their website to choose the optimal coverage for your working time situation. 


A website’s landing page for Feather, an insurance company, with a white and purple background

Furthermore, private insurance from Feather is good for: 

  • Employed person 
  • Self-employed person

Feather insurance is perfect for visa applications and self-employed individuals. You can sign up completely using their site online tools.

But if you are looking for the cheapest coverage, check out this article, we have made a full in-depth review of all affordable health insurance providers in Germany.

Ensure Good Internet access in Germany

An image of a person wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans. sitting on a beige couch with a silver laptop on his lap. There is a potted plant on the table in the background.

All mobile work employees must have good, reliable, high-speed internet access throughout their working hours and in all your work equipment. However, Germany is famous for its terrible internet speed.

Here are my recommendations as a current digital nomad:

Provider O2:

  • O2 my Home M – 19,99 EUR monthly, from the 13th month 29,99 EUR,

50 Mbit/s download, upload up to 10 Mbit/s.

  • O2 my Home L – 24,99 EUR monthly, from the 13th month 34,99 EUR

100 Mbit/s download, upload up to 40 Mbit/s.

Provider 1&1:

  • DSL 100 – first 6 months 9,99 EUR, after 39,99 EUR monthly – best deal! – 100 Mbit/s download
  • DSL 250 – first 6 months 19,99 EUR, after 49,99 EUR monthly, 250 Mbit/s download

If you need super-fast internet:

  1. O2 my Home XL Flex – 34,99 EUR monthly, 250 Mbit/s download, upload up to 40 Mbit/s.
  2. GLASFASER 1.000 – first 6 months 39,99 EUR, after 69,99 EUR monthly, 1,000 Mbit/s download.
  3. DSL 250 – first 6 months 19,99 EUR, after 49,99 EUR monthly, 250 Mbit/s download.
  4. Surf-Flat 300 – first 6 months 14,90 EUR after 39,90EUR; 300 download, upload up to 100 Mbit/s
  5. Surf-Flat 600 –  first 6 months 14,90 EUR after 54,90 EUR; 600 downloads, upload up to 200 Mbit/s

Also read: Internet in Germany: Best Providers (deals with and without a contract).

Compare providers and rates of various insurances including car insurance, sim cards, credits & loans, internet, electricity, and much more. With this fair comparison, you will find the perfect deal for your situation. Check out some of the largest German platforms Verivox.de and Tarifcheck.de. You can purchase a favorable deal directly on the site.

Don’t forget to secure your privacy while surfing the web by getting a VPN. The top providers in Germany are:

Getting Paid in Germany

An image of a person holding a stack of $20 and $50 US dollar bills in his hands.

Another difficulty one might get is the remote worker’s payment process. Usually, there is no problem when transferring money within the EU/EEA. However, banking transfers limited to Germany and non-EU countries are expensive.

For freelancers in Germany, we recommend signing up for this bank.

Open a German bank account online or from abroad

You need a responsive bank account during hiring in German companies and receiving payments. However, opening a German bank account, just before hiring while living abroad can be challenging.

Read this article to learn more about how to open an account in Germany.

You might keep your foreign banking card in Germany to accept payments, but withdrawals can get expensive as well. The best way is to set up a payment structure using online payment tools like Wise, PayPal, or Stripe

Wise is by far the cheapest and fastest solution. 

How To Open a German Bank Account Online or From Abroad?

What Else Do I Need To Consider?

Below are points worth considering when working remotely in Germany. 

  1. Immigration law: Do you have a right to get jobs in Germany? Do you need a visa? 
  2. Employment law: Do you and your employer comply with all regulations for mobile work? Do they know foreign labor laws? In case of doubt, request an online consultation with an employment lawyer.
  3. Data protection: How do you handle employer or client’s data when working remotely? Is it protected enough? 
  4. Employer liability: Do you have any liability insurance for your work in Germany?
  5. Health and safety: Employers have certain legal responsibilities regarding the health and safety of the employee, which must be reviewed when working remotely.
  6. Medical insurance: You must have health insurance that has comprehensive coverage in Germany.
  7. Travel and home insurance: Any policies you need while staying in Germany?

Also read this article about working remotely for a German company from abroad.

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