Citizens of non-EU countries generally require a visa to enter, stay, and work in Germany.
For short-term stays in Germany (stays not exceeding 90 days within any 180-day period) a Schengen visa is needed for entry into Germany. A Schengen visa is generally sufficient for most steps required to establish a business in Germany.
Is the duration of the stay exceeding 90 days (within any 180-day period) or is a (self-employed or gainful) occupation taken up, all non-EU citizens require a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) or settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis). For this purpose, the German embassies or consulates issue a national visa for entering Germany which is "transferred" into a residence or settlement permit in Germany.
Nationals of certain countries do not require a visa for entry into or short-term stays in Germany. The Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) provides detailed information on entry requirements into Germany for different countries. Please refer to the following site:
For detailed information on German residence titles, please read: