Experience with German Bureaucracy | #2

Today I went to the Auslanderbehörde (immigration office) to apply for a Auftenhaltsbescheinigung (Residence Permit). All US citizens must apply a residence permit if they intend to stay in Germany longer than 90 days. Usually foreigners must make an online appointment in advance, but due to the current refugee problem in Germany, all appointments related to residence permit must be made by phone call.

On the day of my first phone call to the immigration office, I have waited 30 minutes on the phone, fortunately the lady I spoke to was nice and helpful. However, I was told the next available appointment would be in September in which I will have finished my internship and be back in the US. Then she suggested me to come to the office on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on which the office is open to public and stand in line to speak with the officer.

I went to the office as she told me and waited in line outside the building for 2 hours and received an appointment scheduled two weeks later. On the day of my appointment which was exactly the last day of my 90 days period, I went back to the immigration office again and spoke to another lady. I had all the required documents with me, but she didn’t know what kind of residence permit she should give to me. And the person who is responsible is on his 2 weeks vocation. Then I was given a Fiktionsbescheinigung (temporary residence permit expires in October which works same as residence permit) and asked to call that person in 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks I called several time and he was always not available. I decided to go back to the immigration office again. I waited in line for 4 hours this time and he was on another 2 weeks vacation. Fortunately, this time I was told that I don’t need to come back since I had already had that temporary permit. This is how German bureaucracy works! Here I would like to give suggestions to those who are going to intern in Germany in the future:

1) Register your address with local authority as soon as possible because you need the registration for your residence permit.

2) Before you move to Germany, find out if you can make an appointment with local immigration office online, and if yes, make an appointment in advance for the first 2 weeks you will be in Germany.

3) Going to the office instead of calling.

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