Step by step, our guide will lead you to all the important information you might need for your international work.

Here we go!

The Guide

Travelling within the EU

The EU treaties guarantee the freedom of establishment and services and the freedom of movement for workers, which grant any EU citizen the right to live and work in another EU country (only available in German). In particular, this means being allowed to: 

  • provide cross-border services
  • look for work 
  • work without needing a work permit
  • live in the respective country 
  • remain in the country even after termination of employment
  • be treated the same as the nationals of the host country in terms of access to employment, working conditions, social benefits, and tax advantages  




As German Citizen within the EU

An independent stage designer from Germany wants to work at a theater in Paris for two months on a fee basis. What documents must he/she apply for?  

Territorial access to other EU countries

Artists and creatives who are German citizens need only a valid identity card to travel to another EU country and stay there. However, the EU member countries may require them to register with the authorities if the duration of stay and employment exceeds three months (see below). 

Market access to other EU countries for the self-employed as well as for employees 

Access to other member states of the EU single market is ensured by freedom of establishment and services and freedom of movement for workers (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). 

The cross-border activities of self-employed persons are governed by freedom of services (Art. 57 TFEU), which should not be confused with freedom of establishment and freedom of movement for workers (Art. 45 TFEU). Freedom of services is defined as the right to provide services in another member country. For this purpose, a self-employed person may complete the necessary work in another member state and a company may temporarily send (“post”) its employees there to complete some work.

To top

As EU-Citizen to Germany

In Germany, the same rules that apply to EU citizens also apply to German citizens in other EU member states (see above). Exceptions and special rules in Germany are explained in the following examples.   

A Croatian video artist has been invited to a six-month stay at an artists’ house in Leipzig. He/She receives a stipend from the organizer. What rules must he/she observe?

Territorial access to Germany and compulsory registration

Germany has no three-month rule for the registration of EU citizens. Rather, they are subject to the general compulsory registration procedure, which is regulated by the Melderechtsrahmengesetz (only available in German) (English: legal framework for registration).  

The following applies: Anyone moving into a domicile must register with the local registry office and anyone who moves out of a domicile and does not move into another domicile in Germany must de-register. Change of residence within Germany merely requires that one notify the registry office at the new place of residence of the address change. 

The Landesmeldegesetze (English: state registration laws) of the 16 federal states specify the legal framework for registration. Different rules can apply, depending on the place of residence. Registration deadlines and procedures can be found at the registry office of the (planned) place of residence or on the website of the municipality/city (see local authority finder - only available in German).

The Croatian artist in our example must therefore register at the registry office (usually found in the so-called Bürgeramt (English: citizen center) in Leipzig. Ask the host, whether she or he might do that!  

More information about the EU work permit is available on the website of the European Commission, and in the Guide 'Working in Germany'.  

Information on procedures, requirements, deadlines, etc. can be found on the service page of Baden-Wuerttemberg (only available in German).

To top

As Non-EU-Citizen within the EU

A Turkish dancer would like to participate in a production in the Netherlands. She lives in Berlin and has a residence permit for freelance work according to § 21.5. Is she allowed to travel to the Netherlands for this production? Does she have to apply for a visa or a work permit?

You may stay in another country in the Schengen for up to 90 days in each 180-day period; information about possible reporting requirements and obtaining a work permit should be requested from the respective national authorities.

Artists who have a residence and work permit for the Schengen area should note that this permit is not valid for entry and stay in Ireland or Cyprus since these countries are not part of the Schengen area.

For non-EU citizens who work as employees in an EU country and are posted by their employer, it is possible to work temporarily in another EU country by applying for a "Vander Elst" visa.

The British "Independent Society of Musicians" has compiled (as of March 2022) an overview of the conditions under which UK nationals (whether resident in an EU country or outside the EU) may perform in an EU country without applying for a separate residence permit/work permit, and when it is necessary to apply for one. As a rule, these conditions also apply to all other third-country nationals, but they should still be checked beforehand. Depending on the nationality, it must be checked if an entry visa is required.

To top