Germany Visa : A broad summary

Blessed be the European Union !

Any E.U can freely live and work anywhere they want in the Schengen Zone, including Germany.  But for citizens of other countries, it is an entirely different story. After 3 months, it is necessary to apply for a residence permit in Germany.

A long road of tears, sweat and sometimes despair awaits anyone applying for a German visa to be able to come and live in Berlin or elsewhere. This road often ends up with the golden ticket (blue card actually), but can also end up with a stupid red stamp reading “denied”.

germany visa

Repeat after me “I <3 administration”

How should you proceed to get a German visa :

If you are a citizen from one of the following countries, good news ! You do not need to apply for an entry visa;

Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, Korea, New Zealand or the US.

You can even apply for a German working visa from your home country and avoid the local administration all-together for this process. It might come handy, especially if you are reluctant to speak German.

Any citizen from a country that is not from the EU, or from those friend countries, will need a visa to enter german soil, which can be done through your home country.


Good, you have now arrived in Germany. What now ?

3 steps you have to take any germany visa:

1- Book an appointment the Foreign Registration Office
2- Gather all necessary documents
3- Be at your best to get your permit approved


Obviously, beyond 3 months, you will need a residence permit to stay in Germany. This applies to everybody (except EU citizens of course). To obtain just that, a visit to the Ausländer-Behörde (foreigners’ registration office) is necessary.

Update October 2016: there are now 2 offices you can go to register yourself. You can now go the office in Moabit, or the new one in Charlottenburg too. That is great news for many people who won’t need to queue so long to give their documents away.

Since administration is rather slow and appointments taken long in advance, this would be one of the first thing to do when first arriving the country, next go right to your anmeldung.

Booking an appointment is easily done through this link. It’s this option or getting up at 4am to queue in front of the building to obtain one of the rare waiting numbers.


On the confirmation email will be shown all the documents needed for the appointment. Make sure you have those in original and copies. Any forgotten paper, and it’s back to square one. Bring some cash too as a residence permit costs 110€ since 2009.



Be on time for your appointement and bring a german-speaking friend if you can. The person you will have in front of you might want to prefer to communicate in German.  Give out all the required documents and answer a few questions.
All those will be checked, and within 3 weeks, you should get an email or a phone call to tell you whether or not your visa has been approved.


How do i increase my chances for the visa germany has to offer for me ?

If you are lucky enough to have found an employer willing to hire you within the 3 months span, or before, he/she can write a letter stating that your position can not be filled by a german citizen, and that you are the best person in the schengen zone to match the job desc.

This will make sure that you pass the “working market check” and greatly improve your chances to get a positive answer.

Any IT or engineering related profile looks also very good since such profiles are rare in Germany.

You can find a list of all very wanted profiles in Germany this way. If you fit in one of those, it’s then also easier to get a blue card.


I wish you good luck friend, and i hope you get the following answer

Tip 1 : If you can prove in any way that your German level is good, that is definitely showing your willingness to integrate and will look good for your request. Maybe a good idea is to add a certificate in there.

Tip 2 : An official website lets you quickly assess your chances of getting a visa in Germany. It might be a good place to get real. This way please.

Tip 3 : This spreadsheet was posted by a helper on SiB’s FB fan page to try to get an overview of requirements and conditions for each type of Visa :

I can not vouch for this document’s accuracy though.


  • Reply ledio 03/10/2016 at 13:42

    The cost of residence permit is 120€

  • Reply Luke Kristofski 07/06/2016 at 13:15

    Ive just decided to settle in Berlin and am in a bit of a hurry to get my visa and there are no appointments until September! I managed to get my Anmeldung today simply by walking in and waiting in the Bürgeramt Tempelhof. So now with all my papers ready and a job who wants to hire me ASAP Im in a bit of a urgent rush, Im going to be applying for the one year youth mobility visa as Im on a NZ passport. Do you know if it is possible to do walk ins for visas like a i did my Anmeldung and if so could you please talk me through the process and which Bürgeramt’s allow for this to happen?
    Much apprecited!


    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 07/06/2016 at 16:28

      Hi Luke. I’m afraid i can’t offer more information than what it contained in this page. That is: get up really early to wait in line at the Auslanderbehörde and hope to get a number. The Bürgeramts don’t deal with Visa issues. No magic trick there. :). Good luck.

    • Reply Chris 09/09/2016 at 10:18

      Hi Luke

      Did you manage to get it all sorted? I am in exactly the same position, NZ Passport looking to move onto the 1 year working holiday / youth mobility visa after getting my Anmeldun. Was the trip to the Auslanderbehörde successful? Any tips?


  • Reply SZhan 12/10/2015 at 15:32

    Hey there! Thanks a lot again for these incredibly helpful articles. I’m a Canadian with a one year Work and Travel visa (Youth Mobility Visa), which is expiring November 30, 2015. I’ve found a flat, have an appointment for Anmeldung, and will open a bank account later this week. I’m currently job hunting, and I was hoping to find a contract in the hostel industry. I speak a decent level of German (B1-B2), as well as French and Chinese, in addition to English, and I was hoping to be able to use these skills to convince my future employer that I can do a job that a Schengen citizen cannot. Do you have any suggestions for things to do to improve my chances of success of getting a contract, and an extension on my work visa? If it is unlikely that a hostel job will work out, I am also qualified to teach English as a Foreign language, though I understand that this is mostly done through a freelance basis, and would require a Freelance Work Visa. I would really appreciate any input you have!
    Thanks so much for your help,


    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 12/10/2015 at 20:05

      Thanks for leaving a comment here Sen. I’m not so qualified to answer your question and i also dont know your exact profile so difficult to say. It is possible that you’ll need to lower your job expectations at first to make sure to score a visa to then later be picky. Best of luck man.

  • Reply Nick 28/09/2015 at 12:27

    When I was trying to make an appointment online for a residence permit, it asks me to choose an department. Either 3rd floor or 2nd- any help here?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 29/09/2015 at 10:03

      Can you not look-up which service is on which floor ?

      • Reply Nicholas 15/10/2015 at 14:52

        I eventually sent a help request through the website where you book the residence permit application appointment.

        From the response:

        “The department IV Z 2 is responsible for servicing customers who are foreign students or scientists and their family members as well as exchange and language students.”

  • Reply Adam 27/02/2015 at 08:05

    your info was incredibly Helpful!
    I am heading to Berlin in about a month, I want to just get the visa and then continue to travel for a few months before settling somewhere and working. So getting a permanent address right away wasn’t ideal… I was just wondering, when looking for a place so i can get the residence permit, do i just need an address and a signature from the owner/Housemate? Could I just rent a place for a few weeks while I get the visa then Leave?
    What are the minimum requirements?

    Thanks for the help.

  • Leave a Reply