Those pesky 90 days in the Schengen region, they disappear so quickly. Now time is running out and I really want to stay, just a bit longer – can I extend a Schengen Visa? Can I get my leftover Schengen tourist days once my resident permit expires? And what is this bilateral visa waiver thing I keep hearing about? WARNING: This post doesn’t have all the answers. But it’s a bloody interesting read all the same.
Category Archive: Dealing with Problems
Life admin – it’s something everyone has to deal with. Correspondence, finance, tax, registration forms, paying bills, etc. It’s so necessary and so painful. And in a foreign language? Excruciating. Getting the answers you want feels like banging your head against a brick wall. It’s hard to talk to customer service without getting shut down for not speaking German. The credibility of replies on English-language social media forums is questionable at best. Lately, I’ve been getting all sorts of requests for help with expat life admin tasks, things like “can I pay you to sort out this billing issue?”, “I got a scary letter from the Finanzamt, can you help me understand it?” or “Can you find me a medical specialist who speaks English?” I can, I can and I can! Introducing Life Admin from Red Tape Translation.
The British Ambassador Sir Simon Wood met with concerned British citizens in Berlin at the British Embassy on 13th February 2018 to talk about the latest news on Brexit and freedom of movement, after the agreements of December 2017. Here’s what we found out:
- British citizens resident in Germany before Brexit will still have access to reciprocal health care (EHIC, reimbursement arrangements, etc), pension payments and other state-funded benefits (e.g. child benefits).
- British citizens who have been living in Germany for more than 5 years will be granted permanent residence. Brits registered as living in Germany before March 2019 will be able to stay and can then apply for permanent residence once they have reached the 5-year mark.
- Permanent residency is not freedom of movement. It only applies to the Federal Republic of Germany and can lapse if you leave Germany and deregister. Then, if you return, you might have to start from scratch with a regular residence permit and wait 5 or 8 years before achieving permanent residency.
- Frontier workers have protected rights as long as they continue to be frontier workers, if they were working across borders before Brexit.
- Family reunification (parents, partners, children) is possible up until Brexit, even if the children are born after Brexit. Partners are defined as being “in a durable relationship” and must have commenced their relationship before Brexit.
- Those wishing to apply for German citizenship will be able to do so after being in Germany for 8 years and holding permanent residency.
- British citizens who have already fulfilled this 8-year term and wish to have German citizenship are encouraged to apply for it ASAP. If the citizenship application is approved while Britain is still an EU member state, dual citizenship is not an issue. After this, it is not clear whether dual nationality will be tolerated or not.
- Reciprocal agreements in education (e.g. ERASMUS) should continue.
- The embassy expects further clarification before October 2018 – all decisions have to have been made by then so that the agreement can be ratified in time for Brexit in March 2019.
- The Berlin senate representative assured British citizens that they are “all Berliners” in the eyes of the Senate. Well, ain’t that nice!
If you want some help putting together your citizenship application, get in touch!
Every now and then, you fall in love with Germany. Or maybe it’s person who just happens to live in Germany. Whichever it is, time is running out and you want a way to stay as long as you can. You don’t even really care how, as long as it’s legal. Or perhaps you just need to buy some time between your Schengen Visa running out and you figuring out what happens next. I know the feeling very well, so this post is for you.
There’s an old law from 1913 that will interest you if you’re a freelance teacher in Germany. It’s from §2 of Book 6 of the German Social Code, it covers the Statutory Pension System in Germany, and it goes a little something like this:
“I’ve got this great full-time job offer in Germany, but they want to hire me as a freelancer.”
This isn’t always ill-intentioned, but when your company offers to hire you in Germany as a full-timer but wants you to write them invoices as a freelancer instead of employing you, they might not have your best interests at heart. Or they might just have no clue about how employment law in Germany works. In any case, it might cause some serious problems for them and for you later down the track.
The Ausländerbehörde in Berlin is a special place. Among other special nicknames, it has been described as “the most miserable place in Berlin”, “the place of shattered dreams” and “inefficient government bureaucracy at its finest”. Above all, though, getting acquainted with its tightly-closed-up windows, flashing neon boards and slightly-off key announcement bells is inevitable. So embrace it and do it right. Here’s how to save time, avoid stress and leave with a shiny new visa or permit.
You moved to Berlin, landed a job and just received your first pay cheque. You notice a deduction called “Kirchensteuer” in the small print and wonder what it could possibly be…
What is Kirchensteuer?
Kirchensteuer (church tax) is a tax imposed on members of some religious congregations in Germany.
Great news from the Bürgeramt! 2017 has brought with it a wave of days marked in blue on the online calendar – that means you can even get same-day appointments at registration offices across Berlin! Get clicking!
This story made my morning. Insane! A Chinese tourist travelling alone had his wallet stolen in the south of Germany and tried to file a police report. He got led to a help desk in Heidelberg but he didn’t speak any German or English. The help desk consultant gave him an asylum request form to fill out, which he obediently did. One thing led to another and he boarded a bus with a whole bunch of refugees that arrived at Dortmund some time later …
Not long after you move to Germany, you’ll probably start craving the comforts of home. Internet, a mobile phone, maybe even a gym membership. Signing up for the latest shiny deal is usually easy enough: salespeople will fall at your feet, even with limited German. Here’s what you need to know about getting out of German contracts.
Disaster strikes – you moved all the way to Germany to take on a fabulous job, it blows up in your face, your boss hands you your notice. Losing your job in a foreign country can be daunting, but like everything in Germany, there is a process to follow. Keep calm, follow the process, and it’ll all work out OK.