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Nicci Talbot Communications / Cité

Berlin is the start-up capital of Europe - new dual visa service for entrepreneurs

17 May 2017 17:15


17 May 2017
For Immediate Release


A new service enables entrepreneurs in Berlin to start up a company and obtain a residency permit at the same time

Black Label Properties has teamed up with vpmk Rechtsanwälte Legal Services to offer a dual service to help entrepreneurs set up a company and obtain a residency permit in one application. The combination of ‘Company Foundation Service’ together with ‘Residents’ Permit for Entrepreneurs’ is quite unique to vpmk and has been launched in response to an increase in enquiries from freelancers and start-ups looking to relocate to the city because of the political situation in the UK and US. Each service can be applied for separately or together in one full package to speed up the immigration process and help entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running more quickly.

Stephanie Dufner, immigration lawyer and specialist at vpmk explains how the visa process for non-EU nationals works in Germany, and what you need to do to ensure your application is successful.

What type of enquiries do you get?

We get a lot of enquiries from self-employed entrepreneurs who want to set up their own company in Berlin. Also from foreign nationals who have an employment contract with a company based in Germany and need help getting the right work permit, and companies who have found an employee and need help with obtaining the most suitable work permit We also get lots of enquiries from high-qualified candidates who are looking for job seekers’ visa which gives them six months to find a job, and from people who are looking to obtain residence permits for family members (spouses and minors) so they can raise their family here.

We’re also getting a lot of enquiries about the Blue Card EU, which is a special residence and work permit for highly qualified people. To get one you need to have a university degree that’s recognised or equivalent to a German degree and be on a certain salary level. It can be transferred to a permanent residence permit within 21 months if the person is at B1 language level or 33 months for A1 language level. Blue Cards are much quicker than the general visa process. In effect, you could get it within 1-2 weeks.

Have you had more enquiries since Brexit and the US election?

When the Brexit vote was announced, there was an increase in enquiries especially for UK citizens who are in Germany and worried about being able to stay, so they have been asking us about German citizenship. We’ve also had lots of Americans contacting us who would like to get out of the US due to the political situation and are looking for longer-term visas – three years or more.

People can apply for German citizenship if they have lived here for eight years, in exceptional cases with good “integration” proofs even earlier. Currently there are issues around dual citizenship – in general this is not possible in Germany – but I think there will be an exception for UK citizens post Brexit and we will negotiate a way for people to keep both. We know the rules and local offices and can help clients get German citizenship. We can try to help you to keep your natural citizenship – if there is a reason accepted by the law – and do everything to be successful.

How does the application process work?

We get lots of email enquiries. The first consultation is done in our offices in Berlin or Stuttgart or via Skype/Phone if the client is overseas or prefers that. This is popular as it’s convenient for people and we have multilingual staff who speak English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian and Ukrainian. We answer their questions and then develop a strategy to work out which type of visa is best. They sign a service agreement and we send the client a list of documents we need to get started.

For the entrepreneur / self-employed visa we need to see a business plan (we also have contacts who can help you with this) and it needs to be very specific. We would do some pre-clearing to make sure it’s an acceptable idea to minimise the risk of rejection. Tricky businesses include restaurants as we have so many in Berlin already – even ‘national kitchens’. Successful applications include IT start-ups and tech businesses, which Berlin is known for. These have a good success rate.

How long does it take?

A Blue Card Visa can be obtained within a week or two if a person qualifies for one and is at the right salary level. This is because it’s issued by the embassy without involving other offices (immigration or labour office). The entrepreneur / self-employed visa takes longer – up to three months – because the Senate of Economy or the Chamber of Commerce are usually involved. We are currently pushing this in favour of our clients and trying to speed things up.

How much does it cost?

It varies depending on the type of visa. Our fees start at 1,500 EUR for the whole residence and work permit or Blue Card process and approx. 2,500 EUR for the self-employed / entrepreneurial visa. The Company Foundation Service starts from 2,500 EUR. Family Member Immigration starts from 500 EUR per family member. We offer a transparent, flat-fee package service for clients so there are no hidden costs.

What else do you offer?

We have a new dual service for entrepreneurs and start-ups that’s unique to our law firm and helps with company foundation and a residence permit in the same process. We can help with the business set up and personal immigration process, which helps speed things up. My colleagues Volker Mauch and Lars Kroidl handle the company formation and our attorneys Christoph von Planta, Katja Ponert and of course me process the residence permits. It’s proving very popular as it’s convenient for clients to be able to use one law firm for the entire process.

We also support the companies after the foundation with their contractual needs like employment contracts etc.

Also, we have opened a new vpmk office in Stuttgart this year, with main focus on assisting companies with the work permits and Blue Cards for their foreign employees. Due to the strong economy in the south-western part of Germany the companies there suffer from a lack of skilled employees and are recruiting more and more abroad.

Any tips for success?

Please bring original certificates with you – degree, marriage and birth certificates etc., best with an apostille on it. Germans are crazy about original documents! Most people have the certificates hanging on their parents’ wall so please take them down and bring them with you! This will speed things up, as they can be hard to obtain once you are here.

For further information please contact Nicci Talbot,, 07758 621106.


Notes to Editors

1. Berlin is the best city to launch a start-up (European Start-up Initiative) – low cost of establishing a start-up, international city with a young, talented demographic and friendly eco-system) – Davos World Economic Forum.
2. 22,800 jobs were created in the tech industry between 2008-2015. Berlin’s share of the digital economy has grown from 4.8% to 18% (Karla Leyendecker – Branch co-ordinator for construction and real estate industry at the Berlin Chamber of Commerce).
3. Berlin has the highest number of self-employed in Germany and is the start-up capital with one starting every 20 minutes!
4. For more information on the immigration process, please contact Stephanie Dufner at vpmk Rechtsanwälte
Legal Services on +49 30 536 33 990 or + 49 711 252 69 370 and visit
5. Black Label Properties is a leading international Berlin realtor and property management agency. We offer a full-service package for individuals and companies looking to relocate, which includes financial brokerage. For further comment and case studies, please contact or call 0208 133 1829. For more information on our relocations service please contact Clive Gross:

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Press Contacts

Nicci Talbot

UK Press, Black Label Properties

Tel: 07758621106


About Nicci Talbot Communications / Cité

Nicci Talbot is a freelance journalist, author, copywriter and PR specialising in property and travel. International PR at Black Label Properties Berlin. Social Media Manager at NUJ LFB and Nexus Communications.

Current project:

Cité zine was launched in 2017 a by British travel journalist with itchy feet and a desire for a better quality of life. The aim is to compare and contrast life in the UK with other cities around the world to find out where the best places to be a woman are regarding education, culture, health, childcare, work, and longevity. The name Cité is old French for city and ‘union of citizens, a citizenry,’ which is all the more relevant post Brexit.

“I love to travel and have Lithuanian roots on my mother’s side, which I’m starting to explore. My first trip abroad was a school exchange to France with my aunt who taught French at Hull University. I stayed with a family in Angers who had a daughter around the same age, which gave me a taste of school life and French food (my first time eating horse meat!). In my 20s I went backpacking around Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the US working in all kinds of places via WWOOF UK, which gives you free board in return for labour on the land. It’s a great way to travel on a budget and gives you an insight into the psychology of people and places: why they live where they do and how our environment inspires and motivates us. I worked in a rebirthing centre on the Gold Coast (lots of deep breathing, no gluten for 2 weeks); a biodynamic farm near Perth (didn’t work out as I wore deodorant and drank milky coffee); yoga ashram in Brisbane (accused of stealing money, left), and did some divorce decluttering at a house in Byron Bay.

Since the Brexit vote, I have been in despair at the thought of being cut off from the rest of Europe and my daughter being denied the same opportunities to travel and work abroad. I was inspired to start this blog to document my adventures and all the interesting people I’m meeting through my work as a journalist via the NUJ LFB and Black Label Properties Berlin. In a year’s time, my daughter will be going on exchange to an international school in China to start her secondary education, so it’s a new chapter for both of us, not without wobbles, but I hope full of opportunity and new adventure. It will be interesting to compare the school systems and see what she gets out of it. She has travelled to Europe, Italy, Japan and the US as an unaccompanied minor, so I spend a fair bit of my time doing the airport run.

Where do you find that elusive mix of sunshine, affordable property, culture, lifestyle and well-paid work? Is it best to split your time with a city base and some fun in the sun? What’s the best way to learn a new language? How do you go about setting up a business abroad or working as a freelancer? This blog aims to shed light on different cities and lifestyles around the world, the issues happening there, and how to relocate successfully be it full or part-time. If you’ve ever wondered what life in another country can be like, this blog is for you. I hope you find it useful and inspiring.” – Nicci Talbot, editor.

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