Travel trade; application for a permit by non-EU citizens

If you want to sell or buy goods, offer services or act as a showman commercially outside a commercial establishment without a prior order, you usually need a permit (travel trade card).


In contrast to a commercial activity in an established trade, the exercise of a travel trade does not require a trade notification, but an official permit (travel trade card) (Section 55 (2) of the Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation Act (Gewerbeordnung - GewO)).

The district administrative authority in whose district you have your usual place of residence has local responsibility for issuing the travel trade card.

A travelling trade is exercised by anyone who offers, sells, distributes or purchases goods or offers services or seeks out orders for services outside of his or her commercial establishment or without having such an establishment without a prior order (Section 55 (1) No. 1 GewO). This includes, in particular, visiting homes or businesses (door-to-door sales) without prior order or offering goods and services on the street or in squares, e.g. from non-fixed sales stands.

A travelling trade is also exercised by anyone who carries out entertainment activities as a showman or in the manner of a showman (typical fairground business; Section 55 (1) No. 2 GewO).

If the owner of the business is a partnership without its own legal personality, a travel trade permit must be issued for each partner engaged in the travel trade.

Certain activities are exempt from the travel trade card (§ 55a GewO), e.g. the offering of goods occasionally at trade fairs, exhibitions, public festivals or on special occasions with the permission of the responsible municipality, or the sale of home-grown agricultural, forestry, vegetable, fruit and horticultural products, poultry farming and beekeeping as well as hunting and fishing.

However, some of the trades that are exempt from the travel trade card are subject to notification to the competent municipality (§ 55c GewO), unless the trade is already subject to trade notification (§ 14 GewO). These are:

  • the offering of goods for sale, soliciting orders, offering services or soliciting orders for services in the municipality of his residence or commercial establishment, provided that the municipality does not have more than 10,000 inhabitants (Section 55a (1) No. 3 GewO),
  • the distribution of foodstuffs or other goods for daily consumption from a non-fixed point of sale or other establishment at regular, shorter intervals in the same place (Section 55a (1) No. 9 of the Trade Regulation Act)
  • the offering for sale of printed matter on public ways, streets, squares or other public places (Section 55a (1) No. 10 GewO).

Certain activities are prohibited in the itinerant trade, e.g. the sale of poisons and goods containing poisons, broken tapes, electromedical devices, securities, precious metals (Section 56a GewO).

Showmen must take out liability insurance for certain activities (Showmen's Liability Ordinance).

The holder of a travel trade card is obliged to carry it with him while carrying on the trade, to show it to the competent authorities or officials on request and to cease his activities on request until the travel trade card has been obtained. Upon request, he shall present the goods he is carrying.

If the holder of the travel business card does not carry out the activity in his own person, he shall be obliged to hand over a duplicate or a certified copy of the travel business card to the persons employed in the business if they are to come into direct contact with customers; this shall also apply if the employees work in a different place than the holder (Section 60b GewO).


In principle, a residence permit is required that allows the exercise of self-employed activity.

The reliability of the business operator is a prerequisite for the permit.

In order to assess reliability, the applicant is generally required to submit an official certificate of good conduct or an extract from the criminal record of his or her home country or an equivalent document and/or a certificate of good conduct for public authorities (Section 30 (5) of the Federal Central Register Act) and information from the Central Trade Register (Section 150 (5) of the Trade Regulation Act). If, on the basis of the foreigner's previous residence, it can be assumed that facts relevant to trade law are no longer or not yet contained in the aforementioned certificates and proofs, the foreign or German certificates may be waived.


Duration of the procedure approx. 2 - 4 weeks

Required documents

  • Non-EU foreign nationals: Residence title permitting self-employed (independent) activities

  • valid identity card or passport

  • Proof of reliability

    Official certificate of good conduct or extract from the criminal record of the home country or an equivalent document and/or a certificate of good conduct for public authorities (Section 30 (5) of the Federal Central Register Act) and information from the Central Trade Register (Section 150 (5) of the Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation Act).

  • for registered companies: Excerpt from the commercial register; for civil law companies: articles of association

  • in the case of a power of attorney: a written power of attorney and identification of the grantor of the power of attorney and the authorized representative


    • Travel trade card: 25 to 400 EURO according to the cost schedule to the Cost Law (Tariff No. 5.III.5/23)
    • Certificate for notification according to § 55c GewO: 12.50 to 50 EURO (Tariff No. 5.III.5/27)


Responsible for editing:Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Landesentwicklung und Energie

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