Letters of intent for the German freelance visa

Letters of intent for the German freelance visa

Letters of written come from German clients that intend to give you work. Essentially, they say "if you give this person a freelance visa, I have work for them". A letter of intent is not a contract. The businesses and individuals that write your letters of intent are not forced to hire you1.

When you apply for the German freelance visa, you must show letters of intent (Absichtserklärung)1, 2, 3. Some interviewers don't care about them, and some require them1, 2. They are officially required since August 20181.

This guide was kindly fact-checked by Johanna Sieben from c/o Germany. I am grateful for her help.

Why are letters of intent important?

Letters of intent are officially required when you apply for a freelance visa in Berlin1, 2. They are very important because they prove two things:

How many letters of intent are required?

According to feedback from applicants, you need at least 2 letters of intent from German clients or individuals1, 2, 3. The more you have, the better.

Signed contracts

Signed contracts are better than letters of intent for your visa application. Letters of intent just show that the company wants to hire you. With a signed contract, the company must hire you.

Contracts are harder to get, because companies don't know when you will get your visa1. You can't start working for them until you have your visa.

Letters of reference from previous clients

In addition, you can bring letters of reference from previous clients. They do not replace letters of intent, but they can help your case.

What goes in a letter of intent?

Your letter of intent should contain this information1, 2:

Letters of intent do not need to follow a specific format. Ideally, they should be recent. Some people just printed emails from companies that were interested in hiring them1.

Remember that a letter of intent is not a contract. Companies who write your letters of intent are not forced to hire you1, 2. They only need to intend to hire you.

Who can write letters of intent?

You can get letters of intent from anyone, not only registered businesses. You must have at least two letters from people or companies in Germany. This is because the freelance visa is only granted if there is an "regional economic interest" for your business1. The letters can come from anywhere in Germany, not just the city you live in.

How to get letters of intent?

This is where you must be creative. Getting letters of intents from people you have never met is very difficult. Even though I already lived in Germany, I found it very hard.

Here are some tricks:

No matter what you do, do not fake letters of intent. Visa fraud is never a good idea.

Can you write letters of intent in English?

Ideally, letters of intent should be in German1. If they are in another language, bring a translation. Some Ausländerberhörde interviewers only speak German. Use Lingoking to translate your documents to German.

Can you write letters of intent yourself?

Ideally, the letters should always be written by the company. However, some freelancers draft the letters themselves, and ask the companies to sign them. This is also legal, but the letters should look like the companies wrote them.

No matter what you do, do not fake letters of intent. This is visa fraud, and it's very illegal.

Letter of intent examples