Turn into a freelancer and travel the world with a blue card

HI :)

Almost 10 months ago, I got my blue card and came to Germany to work as a software architect with a very good salary (+ 100k EU) and started my journey in a new city with a lot of challenges which was very amazing.
I'm considering to work for myself as a freelancer to have more autonomy and for sure make more money.
On my blue card, It's mentioned: "Selbststandigne Tatigket gestattet" which means I'm eligible to be self-employed as well.

My Questions:
-> Is that possible to leave my current job and turn into a freelancer? What are the downsides?
-> if the above answer is Yes, I'm considering to have my Registration inside Germany and start traveling the world which was always my dream. This means I'm not going to be inside of Germany (or EU nations generally) not more than few weeks every 3-4 months for example. If I pay all of my taxes and pension contributions, is that explicitly important that I have to be physically inside of Germany?
-> If the above answer is Yes, I'm considering to get my permanent residency after 21 months with a B1 german certificate considering I started to learn germany from the time I was younger. If I pay my taxes as a freelancer over the next 11 months (I've already paid taxes, pension, health insurance for 10 months), Can I still apply for a PR or not?

If you are making over 100,000 Euro per year then I don’t know why you would want to risk being self-employed. This is a VERY good salary and self-employment means you cannot work exclusively for one company. You need to have multiple clients. So where do you get them as a newcomer? This is usually only possible for people with an established reputation in a field after years of experience. Maybe you can make more money if all goes perfectly but you can also make much less! This really sounds like wishful thinking.

And what do you mean by traveling the world? To have some vacation time is not a problem but while you have the right to work freelance in Germany but this doesn’t mean you can be residing elsewhere and legally work. And there is confusion about the blue card for many people. It means the same basic conditions in all EU countries but one still needs to get a separate blue card for any EU country you want to work in. And while qualifications should not be a problem if one already has a blue card, there is always the question of demand. A certain field might be in high demand in Germany but not so high in France for example. Thus one could get turned down for a blue card there.

The other thing is that there are limited work visas (befristete Aufenthaltserlaubinis) and unlimited  (unbefristete Aufenthaltserlaubinis) but this is NOT the same as permanent. It means one can stay and work in Germany but all rights are lost if one leaves for over a year. To be allowed to leave longer and come back without starting all over, one needs a Niederlassungserlaubnis which has more requirements and takes longer to qualify for. To see what requirements and conditions are for various visa’s and residency permits you should look at the German Immigration website bamf.de

rtsmboy :

-> Is that possible to leave my current job and turn into a freelancer? What are the downsides?

Yes, that is possible.
The downsides are the formal requirements (Unless you are an expert in these yourself, you basically need to hire professionals for business registrations, accounting, tax reporting, etc.) and the fact that you will have to work more and face higher risks (e.g. of earning less if business declines).

rtsmboy :

-> if the above answer is Yes, I'm considering to have my Registration inside Germany and start traveling the world which was always my dream. This means I'm not going to be inside of Germany (or EU nations generally) not more than few weeks every 3-4 months for example. If I pay all of my taxes and pension contributions, is that explicitly important that I have to be physically inside of Germany?

As Tom already wrote, you cannot work elsewhere with your German work permit (a Blue Card can be converted to other EU countries, but currently yours is valid for work in Germany only).
Wherever you are, you always need to register, have a legal status and - last not least - contribute fairly to the host society by paying taxes and other dues. Everything else is not only illegal, but also morally questionable. Being a "digital nomad", which seems what you are dreaming of, is not possible without cheating on these (plus facing the risk of being found and penalized, rightly so!).

rtsmboy :

-> If the above answer is Yes, I'm considering to get my permanent residency after 21 months with a B1 german certificate considering I started to learn germany from the time I was younger. If I pay my taxes as a freelancer over the next 11 months (I've already paid taxes, pension, health insurance for 10 months), Can I still apply for a PR or not?

You can only be registered in Germany if you have a place to live here. (That you may hardly ever do so is immaterial.) Thus you need to keep your (rental or bought) apartment. This seems to me a big effort (and expense), just for continued residency in a high-tax country.
German "Permanent residency" (I assume you mean "Aufenthaltserlaubnis" rather than "Niederlassungserlaubnis") expires if you leave the country for more than 6 months (not a year, as Tom wrote above), unless you make prior arrangements with the Ausländeramt.

I stand by what I wrote above despite Beppi’s comment as I mentioned an unlimited residency permit as opposed to a limited one. Took a lot of searching to clarify the following information; not available even on the German Immigration site or on the links they set to the immigration laws. But found it at:

https://www.berlin.de/labo/willkommen-i … els/#DA-EU

What the site shows is that a befristete Aufenhaltserlaubnis (limited residency permit) only allows one up to 6 months outside of Germany before it expires. One can get apply for prior permission to have this extended.

For an unbefristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis (unlimited residency permit) one has up to 12 months outside of the EU or in Denmark, the UK or Ireland. If one has a blue card, this is extended to 24 months. One also loses the permit if in the EU but outside of Germany for 6 years - or after getting an equivalent permit in another EU country. There can be exceptions to these rules for someone who has lived over 15 years in Germany.

A Niederlassungserlaubnis is basically an unlimited residency with some extra benefits but it can also expire after 6 months out of Germany - or 12 months if one is over 60 years old and has lived in Germany for at least 15 years. The exception (and then it doesn’t get cancelled) they have either gotten prior approval - or - they have a stable, adequate income. 

I have to add a personal note that I did not know one with a Niederlassungserlaubnis had such restrictions at all. I had been told that there was no time limits when I had such a permit. Either things have changed or nobody told me the detail that one had to have a steady income. The upshot of this is that even if they qualify, non-EU citizen foreigners in Germany can face serious consequences if they lose their job or don’t make enough to live and need to get social assistance. They won’t get thrown out but can lose their residency after these time limits.

Wow, things are even more complicated than I thought.
Thanks, Tom, for your efforts clarifying this. I stand corrected!
But there are even more exceptions to what you wrote: My wife has a Niederlassungserlaubnis and that did not expire desipe being five years abroad (non-EU), just because she remained married to me (German).

beppi :

Wow, things are even more complicated than I thought.
Thanks, Tom, for your efforts clarifying this. I stand corrected!
But there are even more exceptions to what you wrote: My wife has a Niederlassungserlaubnis and that did not expire desipe being five years abroad (non-EU), just because she remained married to me (German).

I think the reason she retained the Niederlassungserlaubnis was probably not because of the marriage but because she did not apply for social assistance or unemployment. With the limited and unlimited residencies they basically expire automatically after the time limits abroad unless one has gotten special permission. Despite the tone of the site’s wording, the Niederlassungserlaubnis seems to work the other way around. It can be deemed invalid if one leaves for too long AND has shown inadequate income. But even someone who had a couple of bad years and didn’t earn much – yet didn’t apply for any kind of government assistance is not really in jeopardy of losing the permit. This reflects the logical desire of the government not to let foreigners unnecessarily benefit off of the system.

Yet, one can qualify for assistance if needed, and get it, just never leave Germany for too long. The solution to such risk is to eventually get citizenship. But this can also be denied if one has gotten social assistance. I was surprised to hear of this when I applied for citizenship a year ago. Someone claimed that it was only a problem if one currently was getting benefits rather than having had them in the past. I never verified the details on that factor as it didn’t apply to my situation.

What stands out for me in such situations is that while we again and again suggest people look at the German Immigration Authority website BAMF(dot)de; they do not always have all of the details. They even have links to the underlying laws about subjects yet even there one may not find all of the answers. The bottom line is that people should always verify all of the details of their particular case with the proper authorities because sometimes there are some exceptions or details that are simply not publicly available. And while researching information before dealing with officials is recommendable, I get the feeling from many people active at this site that they seems to think one should avoid contact or asking questions of government officials at all cost. They then tend to rely on second hand information and run into problems.

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