- Officialization 1: WTF comes next?
- Officialization 2: Accommodations
- Officialization 3: Health Insurance
- Officialization 4: Matriculation
- Officialization 5: Registration
- Officialization 6: Bank Account
- Officialization 7: Student Visa <– You are here
Here it is, the culmination of everything… this is what I need to get my student visa and to be able to stay in Germany legally. Everything else has been leading to this. Getting everything done has taken twice or three times as long as I expected (but I suppose I should have expected that).
To do this, after I registered, I had to first email die Ausländerbehörde (foreign authority) to make an appointment. The appointment wasn’t until a month out, so I had to do this ahead of time. Emailing for an appointment gave me a number. Once I got to the Ausländerbehörde, I put my number into the touchscreen waiting system computer, and went to the waiting room. It probably took about 15 minutes after that until my number was called.
At my appointment, I needed proof of everything that I have done thus far, plus proof of available finances. In my case, since I am on the Erasmus scholarship, this meant my scholarship acceptance letter. In other cases, bank records showing that you have the funds to live out the duration of your stay should work (I don’t know how this is calculated though).
- die Nationalpass (national passport)
- die Meldebescheinigung (registration certificate)
- der Mietvertrag (rental contract, that is, your lease)
- Nachweis Krankenversicherung (proof of health insurance)
- Nachweis Finanzierung / Stipendium (proof of financing / stipend)
- Immatrikulationsbescheinigung (proof of matriculation)
- Passfoto (passport photo)
After handing over proof of my achievements in Germany thus far, I had my fingerprints taken, and then the lady filled out der Antrag (application) for me. That’s kind of cool — you don’t have to muddle through it yourself, you just have to sign it. After sending the visa application out, she gave me an officially stamped preliminary certificate of my coming visa, that I can use between the time when my Shengen visa runs out and the time I get my student visa. This time will end up spanning about a week, and so during that week I won’t be able to travel outside the country.
The student visa comes from Berlin and takes a few weeks to get mailed, so this means I needed to make another appointment at the Ausländerbehörde to come pick it up. Before then, I should receive a letter containing my PIN, and I will need to bring this letter to pick up my visa card.
They did indeed send me a shiny page with a hidden PIN on it. This PIN page is super important, because if your registration card gets stolen, they can use this PIN to replace it. I think there’s also a non-mandatory online component to this, where you can use the PIN to log in to some website… I haven’t had to do it yet.
Anyway, at the pick up appointment, I was given a plastic registration card. It’s funny, because some other other Americans in my program didn’t have to go to a pick up appointment; they were just immediately given the visa sticker in their passport. In my case though, I went to the pickup appointment and I was actually not given a visa sticker in my passport, but a separate plastic visa registration card, and a small piece of paper that I think goes with my passport, but does not get stickered into my passport. I’m not sure why there was a difference in my visa card and other people’s sticker, but I am fairly certain the function of the two is the same, that is, they both function as the student visa.