Letters of intent for the German freelance visa

To apply for a freelance visa, you need letters of intent from potential clients. These letters prove that you will find clients and make money in Germany.

How to apply for the German freelance visa

A letter of intent says “I want to hire this person to do this job, for this price”. It’s not a contract. It does not force the person to hire you. It just shows interest for your services.

Why you need letters of intent

Letters of intent are required to apply for a freelance visa in Berlin. They prove that you meet two freelance visa requirements:

  • Your income will support you
    You will find enough clients and make enough money to live in Germany. Income from international clients also counts.
  • There is regional demand for your services
    You can have international clients, but must have some clients in Germany. This is very important.

If you just moved to Berlin to start your business, you probably don’t have clients yet. Letters of intent prove that you will find clients after you get your freelance visa.

If you have more letters of intent, your freelance visa application is more convincing. If your application is convincing, you might get a 3 year freelance visa. If it’s not convincing, you might get a 6 to 12 month freelance visa.

How to get letters of intent?

Anyone can write letters of intent: businesses, friends, strangers. Letters from registered German businesses are much better.

It’s hard to get letters of intent. If you just moved to Germany, you probably don’t have a lot of business contacts yet.

To get letters of intent…

  • Ask your network
    Visit co-working spaces, go to industry meetups, join local communities and online groups, and ask people for letters of intent. People are often happy to help you, even if they don’t hire you. Freelancers often sign letters of intent for other freelancers.2 You can offer free work in exchange for a letter of intent.4
  • Ask your friends, family and colleagues
    They might know people who can help you. Letter of intents from friends and family are not super useful, but they can still help.
  • Ask your old clients
    If you were a freelancer before, or if you currently are, you can ask your old clients to sign a letter of intent. You need two letters of intent from German companies, but those from other countries also help.7

People are happy to help you if you make it easy for them. Send potential clients a letter of intent template, and tell them exactly what to do. Explain that a letter of intent is not a contract, and that they are not forced to hire you.

Do not write fake letters of intent. Fraud is never a good idea.

Other options

Signed contracts are harder to get, but they are much better than letters of intent. Letters of intent show that the company wants to hire you. Signed contracts show that the company must hire you.

Letters of reference from previous clients are not as useful. They prove that you have experience, but they don’t show that you will have more work in the future.

Letter of intent requirements

In Berlin, you need at least 2 letters of intent from German clients.8 More is better.1 Anyone can write letters of intent: businesses, friends, strangers. If possible, get letters from registered German companies, not random people.

Your letters of intent must include…5

  • Who is hiring you
    It must be a real person or company who plans to hire you. Clients in Germany are more important than international clients.6
  • Your name
    They must clearly want to hire you, not anyone who can do the job.
  • A description of the work
    The work must match your experience. If you are a freelance software developer, get letters of intent for software development work.
    • Description of your tasks
    • How long you will work
    • How much you will get paid
    • Why you are qualified for this job (optional)
  • The date

Your letters should be in German.3 Some Ausländerbehörde employees only speak German. If your letters are in another language, get translations from Red Tape Translation or use Deepl.

Letter of intent example

Letter of intent template

Need help?

Where to ask immigration questions

Sources and footnotes
  1. facebook.com, essentialpackingchecklists.com, medium.com 

  2. Medium (2017) 

  3. Touring Artists, Red Tape Translation (2015) 

  4. Facebook (2019) 

  5. facebook.com, facebook.com, facebook.com, facebook.com 

  6. essentialpackingchecklists.com, facebook.com 

  7. Reddit (2021) 

  8. Berlin.de, Touring Artists