Berlin Uban

How to Freelance in Germany as an Artist

So you came to Germany with your artistic juices flowing, ready to create and hopefully make some money. Or maybe it’s been some time you’re here but you’re still not completely sure of how to. No worries, we’re here to help you to become a artist freelance in germany!

First of all, do you need a visa to freelance in Germany?

You don’t need a visa if you’re a citizen of EU (European Union), EEA (The European Economic Area – Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland. Nationals of other countries need to apply for visa.

Artist Visa

Artis visa is a type of freelance visa. The difference is, it’s only available in Berlin. It’s designed for artists and journalists who want to live and work in Berlin. The process for applying is the same as getting a freelance visa. If you live in other parts of Germany you simply apply for a freelance visa. You can find a detailed help on how to apply for a freelance visa here:

Health insurance in Germany

Health insurance in Germany is obligatory. If you’re an artist you might be able to join KSK (Künstlersozialkasse). It’s a health insurance and pension scheme founded by the government designed for self employed artists. It aims to help people in sometimes unstable and/or low paying artistic professions.

See the complete list of professions eligible to apply for the ‘artist status’ here

There are some requirements that you have to meet though:

  • Your minimum income from your artistic work must exceed 3900e per year (there are exceptions during your first 3 years working as an artist)
  • If you have other, non artistic work, you can’t earn more than 5000e per year from those activities
  • Being self employed is your main professional activity

More information here

Almost there, let’s talk about TAX

To freelance in Germany you need to get your tax number (Steuernummer). It’s not the same as Steuer ID which you’ll receive after you register your address in Germany. To get your tax number you need to fill in and submit the form to your local tax office (Finanzamt). More info on how to fill in the form bellow:

TAX and VAT?

Value added tax (VAT)

This tax is payable if you sell goods or services. You have to charge and pay VAT (currently 19%)  if you earn more than 17,500  per year. Otherwise you are Kleinunternehmen (you must state that you’re not expecting to earn more than 17,500  when you apply for your tax number, otherwise you’ll have to pay VAT even if you didn’t charge it so make sure you fill it in correctly!). As a Kleinunternehmen you can still choose to charge VAT, but you don’t have to. Detailed info on how to submit tax if you charge VAT and Submitting tax if you are a small entrepreneur.

Income tax

Self employed and freelancers must submit their tax declarations each year. You submit your tax via ELSTER portal, there are many guides in English on how to submit the form and which form you have to choose – it’s quite simple actually! If you still feel like you need help.

You’ve made it! Now you can officially work as a freelance artist in Germany and you managed to sell your first piece of work. What now?

For every piece of work you sell (or service you provide) you’ll have to invoice your clients. Think the receipt you get with every purchase.

How to invoice?

The easiest way to write your invoices is to use a software designed for that purpose. Then you just fill in the gaps. Great one to try: 

First 5 invoices are free, then you can choose which subscription works for you (all very affordable). 

You can of course write invoices by yourself but it will be a bit more time consuming and you have a bigger chance of making an error.

We hope that was helpful! You’re all set up and good to go. No stress anymore, just create.

You are now ready to sell your Artwork Directly and Online. If you wish to apply to sell on our gallery please check our application form

Picture by Soroush Karimi