You registered in Germany. You stayed a while. You’re still here. Now you want to exchange the driver’s licence from your home country for a German one. But… oh my… more than six months have gone by since you moved to Berlin (or Frankfurt, or Munich, or wherever). It says you are supposed to exchange it for a German one within 6 months of taking up residence in Germany. So will they refuse to exchange it?
Category Archive: Life in Germany
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.
What’s the difference between a regular interpreter and a court-sworn interpreter? Why do some offices insist on using “official” interpreters? And why do they cost so much more? I finally feel adequately informed to answer this question, because I’m in the middle of my vocational training to become a court-sworn interpreter. And it is no pony ride, let me assure you.
Dear friends and followers,
Thanks for a terrific 2017. Hmm, perhaps not the best year in terms of cashflow (let’s just call it a “spending year”, shall we?), but an unbelievably significant one in terms of growth and learning curves.
With the help of the talented Laura Yeffeth, I launched a brand new website in June and it has been nothing but fabulous. In November, I celebrated my fifth year of business. Take a peek at all the things that have happened over the last five years. Whoa.
If you’re overwhelmed by all the different types of visas and residence permits available to you in Berlin and Germany, this short glossary should clear things up.
Cold beer, warm lunches, coffee, cake, socks and sandals. Naturally, there is no one German way of living, but there are some trends that I’ve come to recognize fondly as “German”. Here are a few I think are neat.
I’ll bet you never thought you’d read that sort of blog title. But if you’re struggling with the Schnauzer, grappling with the Gesetz or whinging about waiting lines, you might want to use this post as a bit of a pro-Germany pep talk. Take it from someone who has been here for a long time – there are many reasons to stick it out and fight through the red tape. Here are five.
You say Steuernummer and I say Steuer-ID-Nummer,
You say Umsatz-ID-Nummer and I say Sozialversicherungsnummer.
Steuernummer, StIDNr, UStID-Nr, SV-Nummer, let’s call the whole thing off.
Hmm. Not really an option. So instead, I’ll take you through it simply, carefully and lovingly. I wish everyone would sing songs about tax.
“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 question on everyone’s lips in Berlin is: does having an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde Berlin extend my Schengen Visa? It certainly seems to be one of the biggest causes for confusion. If it’s true, why isn’t everyone just perpetually booking themselves appointments at the Ausländerbehörde? Red Tape Translation takes you through the myths and the realities of the current situation for tourists from the United States, Australia, Canada etc.
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.
It’s known as the “artists health insurance scheme”, the “artists social security fund”, the “Künstlersozialversicherung” and the “artists and publicists’ insurance”. In any case, it can be hard to find information online in English about the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK). We’ve put together the basics and the answers to some very frequently asked questions.