This series aims to help everybody looking for information on Germany visa fees, appointments and all. We’re interviewing immigrants from all over the globe and sharing their visa stories to help you with all the information needed for your visa process in Germany. It is important to say that every case is a case and this series doesn’t substitute proper research. And in any way, we’re claiming that what you read here is the standard for the visa you’re looking for. We’re merely trying to share stories from different people, from different countries applying for various permits. A way to get the edge out of your anxiety on your next trip to the Ausländerbehörde.
Welcome to “How to get my Visa?”, here you’ll read about Germany visa fees, documents, types of visas, stories and more
In this series of posts, we will tell individual stories about all sorts of visas and their outcome. To access the full series check “How to get my Visa?” and if you want to tell your story, just give us your answers here.
For this first post of the series, we asked a few questions to a Brazilian that applied for an Artist Visa in Berlin. Read below her story.
What kind of visa did you apply? Student? Artist? Freelancer? Marriage/Family member? Other?
I applied to Artist Visa (but I had already two years of Preparation for Studies before. Then I hired a German lawyer to change the visa for me).
Where in Germany did you apply?
I applied for my visa in Berlin.
What were the documents you needed? Any Germany visa fees, extras or unique documents for your specific visa application?
- Termin at the Ausländerbehörde
- Valid passport
- One current biometric photo – 35mm x 45mm, frontal shot with neutral facial expression and closed mouth. I don’t remember the amount, but I think it was just one for the visa. If you wear glasses, leave them on.
- Rent contract. And if you sublet, get the rent contract of the person who has their name on the contract, and a letter from them saying that you pay X euro for the rent each month. Sometimes people don’t ask that at the Ausländerbehörde, but it’s good to have.
- Health insurance. It can be private, but I needed to have it for at least a year from my Termin, and the woman was very picky about it, saying I needed KSK (Künstlersozialkasse). Still, my lawyer explained to her that KSK does not accept new people without a visa.
- Resume translated into German
- 4 or 5 short letters from people who work here in Berlin saying that they are interested in my work and already had a project for me in which I was going to get X amount of money. They need this to know you have “contacts” to work here already and won’t be without freelances. The sum of my letters is €1,000.
- Diplom from High School (original and official translated in German)
- Diplom from College (original and official translated in German)
- An ANABIN (https://anabin.kmk.org/). It is a certificate saying that my College was acceptable. You have to send your diploma and your educational history to obtain one.
- A print screen from the homepage of my website. I applied for a photographer artist visa. But if you are a dancer, a performer, or a musician, it’s good to give some samples of your work. As an example, you can print out on regular A4 paper some pictures of a performance you did with the audience. Or even a gig you played is valid, your page on SoundCloud with the followers, etc. It’s unnecessary, but it helps if they want to see more of what you do.
- A prediction of your expenses and how much you spend to live. This included rent, food, job trips, cell phone bills, health insurance, etc. And how much you intend to earn in a year. That is tricky, lot’s of people do it in all these different ways, and sometimes the person at the Ausländerbehörde doesn’t even ask for this. For me, my lawyer did my planning, and the woman asked for it. My friend copied a few things from mine, and the woman didn’t ask hers.
- Bank statements from 6 months. I didn’t have any money in my German account here, so I just showed I have a German account and presented the six past months of bank statements of my savings in Brazil. Then I translated everything (simple, not official), and then on the day of the Termin, I printed out a website with the money conversion EUR>BRL for that day, in English.
- The Ausländerbehörde form (you can download that on a link at the end of your Termin confirmation/PDF)
- €5,000.00 in my German account at Die Deutsche Bank (yes, this much. By the end of my interview, the woman asked my lawyer why I didn’t have any money here in my German account, and my lawyer said that it was because I had my savings in Brazil, and I didn’t know if I would get the visa or not. But if she would give me the visa, I could make a transfer. Then the woman asked for €10,000.00, and my lawyer said no, and convinced the woman that I could transfer the half. So I think this is not a fixed amount; I think it’s completely random).
- a BIG folder so you can concentrate ALL of this hell in one place and VERY organized as Germans like it.
And for how long is your visa for?
At first, I got 13 months.
Where are you from? And how old are you? If you are comfortable, can you share your gender too?
I am from São Paulo, Brazil and I am 31-years-old. Female.
How easy was the whole process? Did you apply more than one time? What Germany visa fees or other fees do you have to pay?
It was easy because I hired a German lawyer that deals specifically with immigrants and many artists and freelancer cases. Everything for the lawyer and Germany visa fees cost me around €300.00. And I applied just once.
I hired a lawyer. After all, I was afraid of getting in trouble because my first visa was “Preparation for Study,” and I signed a paper saying that I was compromising to join a university by the end of my visa. So I thought they wouldn’t let me change it.
The only tricky part for me was to put all those papers together. But as I had already a visa before, I had already all of my diplomas translated, etc. So I just needed to gather all the letters and a few more details.
Can you tell us a little bit of your experience with the Ausländerbehörde?
This one specifically was one of my worse experiences there. My luck was that I was privileged enough to have a German lawyer by my side. The woman at the Ausländerbehörde even screams with my lawyer once about a question that she had already answered. In the end, I got the visa, because the people who recommended me to get a lawyer said this is good because then with a lawyer you show them you have money and they give you the visa. I don’t know this is true, but by the woman’s attitude I was sure I wasn’t going to get a visa, but in the end, I got 13 months.
From 1-10, ten being entirely easy and great, how would you rate the overall experience of applying to your visa and dealing with paperwork and bureaucracy?
– for the paperwork if you have money to make all the official translations you need, etc., and if you are a very organized person, I would say 5.
– for the bureaucracy, the difficulty of doing all of this in German, and the hard time I got from the person at the Ausländerbehörde, I say 11, 12, even more.
Any piece of advice you would give to others applying for the same visa?
DO NOT FREAK OUT 🙂
If you have a way to get all the papers, the money (which I think it is one of the most challenging things), the friends to help you, and if you speak a little German, everything will be great.
If you don’t have one or more of those things, it’s also fine. If you live your life chilled, paying your rent and having an Anmeldung, that’s the first step.
Be very organized and make lists. I know it seems like A LOT of paper (and it is), but with baby steps, you can get all of it together.
If you have the opportunity, get a friend that speaks good German to go with you, if you don’t. That helps A LOT. the friend can go in the room with you, and you say that your German is not very good, so you brought a friend to help you with the translations.
And most important: don’t do this process in a rush. If you do that, it will be VERY stressful, because it’s a lot of papers (and in German!). So if you are thinking about getting the artist visa, try to talk to a few people that applied before and got it so you can share their experiences, and give yourself at least two months to get all the papers.
And good luck! 🙂
“How to get my Visa?” is a series of interviews that we are doing with people had to apply for a visa in Germany. You can read more interviews filled with tips here. And if you want to be featured here, this link will tell you how. We also have a great Facebook Group where you can connect with people facing the same challenges as you and more.