The first thing someone often asks us when we start chatting about moving to Berlin is what’s the go with visas in Germany. After heaps of researching on government websites, reading various travellers blogs, emailing consulates, and scanning through Pinterest articles we learnt that we needed to go to Sydney for an interview and to submit our application in person and sit an interview with a consulate representative.
I thought it might be helpful for others if I wrote a bit of an explanation on what type of visa we specifically applied for and what we needed to have prepared before our interview.
We are from Brisbane and had to go to Sydney for the interview as there is no embassy locally that is able to process visa applications. We saw this as a good opportunity to go on a road trip to say hello and farewell to our relatives up and down the coast before our travels.
Before our trip we had to have our paper work ready to go. We needed the following printed out ready for the interview:
- A Visa application filled out. We chose the Working Holiday Visa was most suitable for us.
- Health Insurance Cover of a minimum $30,000 and repatriation cover. We had adequate travel insurance with Travel Insuranz (Premium Cover) which ticked these boxes. We were initially confused by whether this meant actual German health insurance, but it turns out our Travel Insurance policy covered these medical type of expenses. Make sure you check your Visa requirements before you buy travel insurance to make sure you have the minimum cover for approval.
- A spare passport photo. This is glued to your application at the interview and submitted to the German officials.
- A pre-paid Australia Post A4 Satchel for them to send back your passport and visa once processed.
- Booked accommodation for Germany. We only booked one weeks worth of accommodation that we didn’t need to pay for upfront just in case we were declined. This was a bit of a backup plan that allowed us to cancel without losing any money and then book longer term accommodation once approved.
- Proof of sufficient funds or a return ticket home. We had to show that we had enough money to support us until we find work in Germany and enough to get us a home again. So we had to get out banks to print an up to date statement.
- It also helped if we knew a friend or relative living in Germany that would be able to help us out if we were to get in any sort of trouble. My third cousin lives in Germany so we made sure to include her details in our application too. It’s a good idea to get permission before using someones details in case they get contacted about your application.
The interview itself was quite straight forward and not as stressful as I thought. I’m a bit of a worrier by nature so I was quite anxious during the lead up but there weren’t too many questions at all. The consulate itself was in the middle of Sydney on the 17th floor of an office building and upon entry we had our bags checked and went through some sort of metal detector arch way. Although we had to book our interview weeks in advance (but not too in advance as you have to be going to Germany within 3 months of the interview), once we were there we just needed to get a ticket from a machine (not unlike going to your local transport depot for your license) and wait.
Once our numbers were called they simply shuffled through our paperwork, asked us why we wanted to go to Germany, clarified our dates for the Visa, paid the 60 Euro fee and answered a couple of questions on a piece of paper. The questions varied but went along the lines of: why did we want to go to Germany, what will we do in Germany, what other countries we plan on visiting etc.
That was it. They took our prepaid post satchel and our passports and we were out of there.
So the wait for approval began. They advised us that it could take up to 10 business days, however we had our satchels back in Brisbane in the letterbox on the 5th business day. Germans are known for their efficiency so I’m not sure why we were so surprised.
In short, although there wasn’t much up to date information on the internet or when you contact the embassy directly about the available visas for Germany, it ended up being a relatively straightforward process after all.
It’s been a big relief for both Cody and I after so much build up and we’ve finally been able to begin planning and booking things furiously before we leave.