Citizens of non-EU countries need a work visa to work as managing directors of a GmbH in Germany. It is true even if they own part of the company’s shares. In this article from Wise Business Group, we will explain whether a foreign GmbH shareholder can work as a CEO for his company in Germany or not.
All non-EU nationals must obtain a work visa to work in Germany. Even if the foreigner is a shareholder in a company in Germany, he must obtain a work visa to work for that company.
However, if a foreign shareholder wants to work as the CEO of his company in Germany, the visa issuance process also becomes more complicated.
The visa application process for a foreign CEO in Germany depends on the answer to the question of whether the applicant is a dominant shareholder in the company or not.
A dominant company shareholder is a person who owns 50% or more of the shares of that company or plays a dominant role in the shareholder group.
Therefore, there are two different processes for issuing work visas as CEOs for foreign shareholders in Germany according to their percentage of shares:
In the following, we will explain in detail the process of obtaining a visa and work permit for each of the two groups above.
If a foreign national owns less than 49% of the shares of a company in Germany, he can apply for a work permit as the CEO of that company under the following conditions:
Note that the visa issuance process for a foreign CEO in Germany who owns less than half of the company’s shares takes about 4 to 8 weeks.
On the other hand, an applicant for a CEO work permit in Germany who owns less than 49% of the company’s shares can apply for an EU Blue Card, provided that he meets the required conditions.
If the applicant owns at least 50% of the company’s shares in Germany, he can apply for a work permit as a CEO according to the following steps:
1. First, he must prepare a detailed and complete business plan for his business in German.
2. German immigration and employment authorities will review his self-employment request. In addition to the aforementioned German organizations, other institutions, such as the Chamber of Commerce, will evaluate his business plan and all the documents he has submitted to obtain a work permit in Germany. The applicant’s self-employment request will only be approved if he proves that he can provide the minimum costs required for a pension.
3. The applicant must register his self-employment visa application with the immigration authorities in Germany.
4. If necessary, he must also register his visa application at the relevant German consulate.
5. As soon as he completes the initial steps to obtain a work permit as a foreign CEO in Germany, he should take other actions, which we will mention below.
The procedure of obtaining a visa and work permit for a foreign CEO in Germany, a dominant company shareholder, will take about 4 to 6 months. The more prominent his role in the shareholders’ decisions, the more complicated and time-consuming it will be for him to obtain a visa.
Non-EU nationals need a work visa to work as a CEO of a GmbH in Germany, even if they are shareholders in that company.
The process of obtaining a visa and work permit as a CEO in Germany differs according to the shares a person owns. If one owns 50% or more of the company’s shares, he is considered a dominant shareholder. Then, obtaining a visa and work permit in Germany becomes more complicated and time-consuming for him.
However, a person who owns 49% or less of the shares of a GmbH in Germany can apply for an EU Blue Card if he meets the requirements.
On average, the time required to obtain a visa and work permit for a foreign CEO in Germany is 4-6 months if he is a dominant shareholder of the company and 4-8 weeks otherwise.
With the benefit of experienced consultants and lawyers in the field of immigration, our group can help you to obtain a visa, work permit, and residence permit in Germany. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information or support regarding the above. Wise Business Group is always at your service to provide accurate information and comprehensive services in the field of company registration in Germany and obtaining residence in this country.
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