There are plenty of grants, loans and aid programmes proposed for residents of Germany during this difficult time, but there’s a distinct group of people who might not be eligible for any of them, and also aren’t quite ready to dive into the world of welfare at the speed of light: solo freelancers and small businesses. Recognising this, Bavaria took the lead and introduced “immediate aid” for small businesses and freelancers. NRW, Hamburg, Baden-Württemberg and Thüringen followed suit. Berlin and Niedersachsen are the latest states to offer the grant.
The details in Bavaria
Who is eligible?
You’re eligible if you are a freelancer (Freiberufler in a tax sense) or a self-employed person (Gewerbetreibende) with up to 250 employees, and your business is registered in Bavaria.
You are not eligible if you are a “firm in difficulty” (Unternehmen in Schwierigkeit), meaning that your firm is eligible for state aid for restructuring or rescuing, unless the circumstances that led to this status can be pinpointed to the Corona outbreak.
How much money can I expect to receive?
This will depend on your answers to the questions about liquidity shortfalls, but the maximum amounts are:
- 5,000 euros for businesses with up to 5 employees
- 7,500 euros for businesses with up to 10 employees
- 15,000 euros for businesses with up to 50 employees
- 30,000 euros for businesses with up to 250 employees
How can I apply?
If you’re in Bavaria, this can all happen very quickly. This is the beauty of this “immediate aid” – it actually gets deposited quickly. There’s a simple, 2-page application form to fill out, sign, scan and send by email. An electronic application in Germany! Who would have thought?
Just note that they will probably want to review your actual earnings later down the track, and if it turns out that you got overpaid, you might have to pay some or all of it back.
Where can I send my application?
Send it to your regional district office, you can find the details on the website.
The details in Niedersachsen
Businesses can get anywhere from 3,000 to 20,000 EUR depending on the number of people they employ. Details here.
The details in NRW
In NRW the maximum amount is 2,000 EUR, and it’s geared specifically at freelance artists and performers. You have to include proof of the contracts/events that got cancelled. The application form is here.
The details in Thürigen
The details in Baden-Württemberg
The details in Hamburg
The details in Berlin
Here is the application form. It’s for 5,000 EUR for the first 6 months. The IBB is experiencing issues with crashing servers, understandably. You will probably get a waiting number to fill out the form, and you’ll. have 35 minutes to begin the process and 60 minutes to submit it.
Will applying for Soforthilfe II affect my residence permit?
According to an email received by the Landeseinwanderungsamt in Berlin, no.
Can you help me apply?
Since we can’t control when you will get in line, we can’t offer our usual Life Admin service. Instead, we’ve published a video and step-by-step English language guide to filling out the application form. You can download it here for 14,50 EUR.
Stay safe, stay healthy, wash your hands and dream desperately of summer!