Red Tape Translation loves helping expats from all around the world with their visa appointments at the Ausländerbehorde in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt. While the majority of our clients leave the immigration office with a smile on their face and a shiny new German work permit in their hands, sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan. Here are some really common mistakes that we hope you’ll avoid when you’ve got plans to visit the friendly grey building in Wedding.
1. Not registering your address before you go.
You won’t get past the doorman if you’re not registered in the city. Get your address registered at the Bürgeramt (or the KVR in Munich) and do it before your appointment, or they will send you away. Talk to Red Tape Translation and take an interpreter with you if you’re not sure how to go about it.
2. Not having the right type of health insurance.
There are lots of different types of health insurance out there, so how are you supposed to know which kinds are accepted? Talk to a broker who knows what they’re doing. They don’t even take a commission, so you have nothing to lose. Make sure the health insurance you buy is recognized in Germany and accepted by BaFin, and bring the certificate and all accompanying documents with you.
3. Showing up on a Wednesday without an appointment or on a Friday (Berlin only).
The Ausländerbehoerde, like many public offices in Germany, has limited working hours. The Berlin hours are as follows: Mon – Tues 7am til 2pm, Thurs 10am til 6pm, Wed with appointment only, Friday closed. The Munich Ausländerbehörde is always open in the morning, but not always in the afternoon. But wherever you’re going, if you book with Red Tape Translation, we’ll set you straight!
4. Incomplete application forms
If you’re dropping off your application for a German work permit without an appointment, please make sure it’s complete. Expect delays and back and forth postal correspondence should you forget to sign it, for example.
5. Not bringing cash for the payment machine.
Once your visa has been approved, you have to pay for it using an automated payment machine, which usually only accepts cash or German EC cards, no credit cards. If you don’t have cash on you, the closest ATM could be a fairly long walk away. Don’t get caught out.
6. Expecting to get your permit on the spot
Red Tape Translation is always thrilled when this does happen, and sometimes it does. But don’t be distraught if something goes wrong or if there’s a processing time. Sometimes, they’ll want to see an extra document you don’t have with you, even if it’s not listed on your appointment information sheet. Sometimes, the rules change. And for some types of permits, the office has to send them away to the Senate Administration for approval.
We know the feeling! It feels like your whole fate is hanging on this one appointment. Red Tape Translation has seen quite a few tears, shaking hands, and even a panic attack or two. Whatever happens, the police won’t come to the office and escort you into quarantine. You can always revisit the office, drop in a missing document, or try for another visa type if things don’t go to plan the first time around.