10 freelancer & entrepreneur visas to work in Europe

10 freelancer & entrepreneur visas to work in Europe

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Many freelancers and entrepreneurs around the world have taken the Digital Nomad lifestyle and travel the world while working. And Europe is a great option to travel, with easy accessibility to many different countries you have access to culture, history, people, unforgettable experiences, and more.

As a tourist, you can stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period (which could mean that you can enter 3 months and leave 3 months, subsequently).

Is it legal to work as a freelancer with a tourist visa? not really, but many countries want the income from freelancers, and turn a blind eye. But if you don’t want to be hopping around you can get a long-stay freelancer visa.

In this post, I’m going to give you more details on the requirements for a freelancer and/or entrepreneur visa in 10 countries in Europe.

Self-employment visas

Each country is different and offers a diverse type of visas with different requirements and also different advantages. In this post I’ll focus on freelancer visas but will also mention entrepreneur and passive income visas which are usually in the same category:

  1. Freelancer: for this type of visa you are expected to earn money by every job that you execute. A freelancer is not committed to one long-term employer. Some examples are dentists, artists, graphic designers, translators, and bloggers.
  2. Business owner or entrepreneur: for this type of visa, as an entrepreneur you are expected to open a business in the country where you are applying with employees, a registration, and more paperwork.
  3. Passive income or retirement: for this type of visa you are NOT expected to work in the country in which you are applying but you are expected to receive passive income from for example investments, owning real estate (rent), a book you wrote, etc. This is similar to retirement because the person is receiving money without working.

Important:

*The passport you have has a huge impact on how easy it is to travel and work in other countries. So maybe some of the following visas will not available for you or will have different requirements. After you have read the description, please contact the embassy of the country in which you are interested to apply for a freelancer or entrepreneur visa.

*One of the best advantages is that in many countries, these visas will allow a pathway to permanent residency after certain years. 

Now I’m going to explain the most important requirements to obtain the visas in each country and will leave the official links to the departments of immigration of each country at the end of each description so you can get more information.

  1. Germany: Freelancer Visa
  2. France: Self-employed person or liberal activity
  3. Spain: Self-employment work visa
  4. Czech Republic: Business Visa
  5. Italy: Freelance Visa
  6. Portugal: Independent work activity or migrant entrepreneur visa
  7. Ireland: Person of Independent Means Visa (Stamp 0)
  8. Sweden: Self-employment residence permit
  9. The Netherlands: Independent Entrepreneur Visa
  10. Norway: Self-employed person with a company abroad visa

1. Germany: Freelancer Visa

Getting a freelancing or self-employment visa in Germany is quick and straightforward. This makes Germany the most popular country in Europe for people who wish to stay abroad on a freelancing visa.

  • Validity: up to 3 years
  • Required earnings: around 800 EUR per month (although this is not mentioned in the list of requirements, it’s known by word of mouth).
  • Requirements:
    • Business plan and revenue forecast (need to show that your work can generate an income)
    • University Degree
    • Health insurance.
  • Application Fee: around 75 EUR
  • Application location: depending on your nationality, you will need to be living in Germany when you apply for the visa or you will be able to apply from your home country.

Read more details about the German Freelancer Visa HERE.

*If you are Mexican, you can read the list of requirements from the Embassy of Germany in Mexico HERE

Cologne - Germany

2. France: Self-employed person or liberal activity visa

France is also pretty popular with digital nomads, especially in it’s bigger cities. In Paris, you will find plenty of co-working spaces and ex-pat communities.

  • Validity: up to 1 year.
  • Required earnings: 1,520 EUR per month (minimum wage for a full-time worker).
  • Requirements:
    • Proof of income (bank statements)
    • Health insurance
    • Address in France (you can use a friend’s address or rent temporarily a place)
    • Letter certified by a notary public in which you promise you won’t engage in work for an employer.
  • Application Fee: around 99 EUR
  • Application location: you will have to do the application in the country where you’re from or where you currently reside in.

Read more details about the French self-employed person or liberal activity visa HERE.

*For Mexicans: there is no self-employed visa but you can go for a 1-year sabbatical proving that you have 13,176 EUR in your bank account for the year and promise you won’t do any professional activity while you are in France. You can read more details about the french sabbatical visa HERE

Eiffel Tower - Paris - France - Europe - Travel

3. Spain: self-employment work visa

With Spain’s low cost of living and fantastic culture, infrastructure and location, there is much to recommend Spain to any digital nomad. Be aware that the application process is in Spanish.

  • Validity: variable
  • Required earnings: 1,075 EUR per month
  • Requirements:
    • Business plan.
    • Professional qualification/certification for your professional tasks.
    • Proof of sufficient economic funds, to establish and maintain employment indefinitely.
    • Certification of “absence of police records”
    • Medical Certificate
  • Application Fee: around 270 EUR
  • Application location: you can apply in the consulate of the country where you’re from.

Read more details about the Spanish Self-Employment Work Visa HERE.

*For Mexicans: you can access the official website of the Embassy of Spain in Mexico HERE and find out more about the self-employment and nonprofit residency visas.

Spain Madrid Catedral Almudena

4. Czech Republic: Business Visa

To get this visa you’ll have to do part of the process outside the Check Republic and another one inside. The first part consists of getting your documents together and acquiring the visa and the second part consists of registering at the police office and picking up your Zivno (or trade license to be a self-employed person).

  • Validity: variable
  • Required earnings: show expected earnings of 14,000 to 21,000 CZK (520 to 780 EUR) per month – although this is not mentioned in the list of requirements, it’s known by word of mouth.
  • Requirements:
    • Proof of availability of 124 500 CZK (5,587 EUR) in your bank account.
    • Medical report.
    • Police clearance.
    • Proof of accommodation
    • Proof of medical travel insurance (if your application is approved).
    • Zivno: the official registration of your trade on the Živnostenský list. An example may be “Software developer”
  • Application Fee: around 92 EUR
  • Application location: you will have to do a part of the process from outside the Czech Republic and another part inside the country.

Read more details about the Czech Republic Self-Employed Visa HERE.

*For Mexicans: this is the official website of the Embassy of the Check Republic in Mexico.

5. Italy: Freelancer visa

Italy is a beautiful country and could be very affordable, depending on your location. You’ll be very welcome to work as a freelancer or business owner on a long-term visa.

  • Validity: variable
  • Required earnings: 4,960 EUR per month.
  • Requirements:
    • Certificate of an abstract recognition of the resources necessary for the business, trade or craft activity to be undertaken, issued by the relevant Chamber of Commerce for the area where the activity shall take place. These resources must not be fewer than the annual amount of the minimum income (4,962 EUR)
    • Sufficient funds available in Italy to guarantee the resources as per the Certificate
    • Availability of an income relating to the previous financial year which must be higher than the minimum level required by law for exemption from health care contribution (8,400 EUR), already acquired in the country of residence
    • Authorization from the relevant Questura
    • Proof of accommodation
  • Application Fee: around 116 EUR
  • Application location: you can apply in the country where you’re from or where you currently reside in.

Read more details about the Italian Freelancer visa HERE.

*For Mexicans: you can ask for more information at the Embassy of Italy in Mexico website

rome

6. Portugal: Independent work activity or migrant entrepreneur visa

Regarding Independent work activity, you’ll need to have a contract or proposal showing what you’ll offer with your services. Otherwise, as a migrant entrepreneur, you’ll need to sign a contract with an incubator at the Startup Visa Program and proof financial means available in Portugal.

  • Validity: variable
  • Required earnings: 580 EUR per month
  • Requirements:
    • Contract or written service provider proposal for liberal professions
    • Declaration by competent authorities certifying professional competence for the referred activity (if applicable).
    • Travel insurance
    • Criminal Record Certificates
  • Application Fee: around 90 EUR
  • Application location: you can apply in the consulate of the country where you’re from.

Read more details about the Portuguese Independent work activity or migrant entrepreneur visa HERE.

*For Mexicans, you can enter the official website of the Embassy of Portugal in Mexico HERE.

Freelancer Visa Europe-Portugal

7. Ireland Person of Independent Means Visa (Stamp 0)

Ireland is one of Europe’s leading technology centers. It also has one of the most exciting communities of freelancers with the majority in Dublin and Galway.

  • Validity: variable
  • Required earnings: 50,000 EUR per annum (approx. 4,170 EUR per month)
  • Requirements:
    • Present your expected finances in spreadsheet form and certified by an Irish accountancy firm.
    • Show you have access to a lump sum of money to cover any sudden major expenses.
    • Private Medical Insurance.
    • Police Clearance certificate.
    • Health declaration.
  • Application Fee: depends
  • Application location: if you are a non-visa required person you may apply from inside or outside Ireland.

Read more details about the Irish Person of Independent Means Visa (Stamp 0) HERE.

*For Mexicans: you can access the website of the Irish Embassy in Mexico HERE.

8. Sweden: Self-employment residence permit

After Silicon Valley, Stockholm comes second in respect to the number of people that are involved in the tech business. The problem is that the requirements to prove that you’ll be suited to live as a self-employed business owner are quite strict compared to other countries.

  • Validity: up to 2 years.
  • Required earnings: 18,250 EUR for 2 years.
  • Requirements:
    • Considerable experience in the industry and previous experience of running your own business.
    • Relevant knowledge in Swedish and/or English.
    • Be the person who is running the company owning at least 50%
    • Your company’s services or goods must be produced and/or sold in Sweden
    • Show that you have enough money of your own to provide for yourself for the first two years (the equivalent of SEK 200,000).
    • Present plausible supporting documentation for your budget.
    • Customer contacts and/or a network in Sweden.
    • Show that after the trial period of two years, your company’s finances are in balance and that you can support yourself.
  • Application Fee: around 182 EUR
  • Application location: the process is done online (in the country you are currently living in).

Read more details about the Swedish self-employment residence permit HERE.

*For Mexicans, you can access the official website of the Embassy of Sweden in Mexico HERE

Freelancer Visa Europe-Sweden

9. Netherlands Independent Entrepreneur Visa

This visa is one of the most difficult to obtain because it’s granted based on a points system that evaluates your personal experience, business plan, and added value for the Netherlands. American, Japanese and Turkish citizens have some advantage because they do not need to meet the points threshold, but still, need to meet the general requirements.

  • Validity: up to 2 years.
  • Required earnings: 1,250 EUR per month.
  • Requirements:
    • If you are a freelancer, you’ll need to show that you have Dutch clients. If you are a business owner, you’ll need a comprehensive business plan that proves your business will add value to the Dutch economy.
    • Score adequately on a points system that evaluates your personal experience, business plan, and added value for the Netherlands.
    • Register in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce (KvK).
    • Meet the requirements for practicing your business or profession.
  • Application Fee: around 1,379 EUR
  • Application location: you can apply in the country where you’re from or where you currently reside in.

Read more details about the Dutch Independent Entrepreneur Visa HERE.

*For Mexicans: you can read more information on the website of the embassy of The Netherlands.

10. Norway: Self-employed person with a company abroad visa

For this visa, you must be a self-employed person with an established business abroad and have entered into a contract to carry out an assignment for a business in Norway.

  • Validity: 2 years
  • Required earnings: 35,719 EUR per year (pre tax)
  • Requirements:
    • Documents of your education. You must have one of the following types of education: a completed vocational training program of at least 3 years (e.g. a carpenter or health worker), a degree from a university (e.g. a bachelor’s degree as an engineer or nurse), or a special qualification that you have obtained through long work experience.
    • Authorization to work in your profession (if required)
    • Proof of accommodation in Norway
    • Contract between you and Norwegian client
    • Documentation that you are a self-employed contractor with a business established abroad
  • Application Fee: around 566 EUR
  • Application location: you can apply in the consulate of the country where you’re from or currently residing.

Read more details about the Norwegian self-employed person visa HERE.

*For Mexicans: read more information on the official website of the Embassy of Norway in Mexico.

Freelancer Visa Europe-Norway

In the Work Abroad section, you can find more experiences earning internships and full-time job positions abroad! If you had a similar experience and want to inspire others to apply please send an email to pilar.noriega@thelifestylehunter.com

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Freelancer visas Europe

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6 Comments

  1. Farooq
    25/10/2020 / 7:08 PM

    Good Info….After COVID 19 and during such pandemics and ongoing world scenarios, freelancing and self employment is the future. If one has skills in his hands and a computer, he can succeed. World is changing from a physical mode to a distance mode so…. !! If someone can be self sufficient he cant be the burden on other country’s economy….. so more and more countries should think about this type of visas.

  2. 17/10/2020 / 8:35 AM

    I also wanna go to Europe. I will keep handy once we are able to travel . and the sound is so smooth and nice. there’s so much good stuff that you shared with us there. it’s feeling to travel in Europe, like interesting and amazing. you look so beautiful full in pics. now I plan to go there soon with my family.

  3. Jack
    10/07/2020 / 5:29 AM

    You have really gathered all the real information here. You cannot just setup as self employed in France as a foreigner, it requires a French tax number which requires you already have residency there.

  4. 17/04/2020 / 5:53 PM

    This is great information I will keep handy once we are able to travel again. It’s interesting to see the different requirements for each country.

  5. 17/04/2020 / 1:01 PM

    These sound like awesome opportunities. I have never even been to Europe. This would be a great way to explore the world and get experience too.

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