How to Apply for a German Working Holiday Visa in Berlin

By 
Chris Lim
Last updated: 
16 September 2019

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  1. Hi, thanks so much for the helpful article. I just had a question re: applying for visa outside of Germany..
    So I am in Berlin right now on a 90 day tourist visa but due to difficulties getting Anmeldung, I am considering going and staying with a friend in Amsterdam and applying for my working visa from the German Consulate over there.. Is there any reason why this might not work?

    1. Hey Zach, the expat that I met in the line did mention that it was much simpler (especially considering the Anmeldung issue) and I've heard similar stories from others who have received their visas from outside of Germany. That being said, I've never tried it myself so I can't say that I'm absolutely sure - although I've successfully applied for other visas at foreign embassies around the world without any issues at all.

      I'd recommend giving them a call before you head over there - just to double check - and even make an appointment if it's possible. Be sure to leave a week or two for the processing times, as they'll likely take your passport and you won't be able to leave the country. Good luck - I'd love to hear how it all works out for you!

  2. @Zach
    Hi guys!

    Also having Anmeldung issues but am currently in Amsterdam, wondering if you applied in Amsterdam and if this method worked?

    Thanks for the article, stressed Kiwi.

    1. Hey Kim, I'd say the best thing you could do is just give them a call or just turn up to the embassy. In theory it should work - the embassy in Amsterdam is the same as any other in Europe - but you won't know until you try. Information about this sort of thing can differ depending on who you ask, so it's best to get it from the source.

      I'm curious to know how it goes, I also have a couple of mates who are about to go through the same process. If you could get back to me with your experience, I can update the article to help others who are also dealing with red tape. I'd also recommend joining the "Aussies and Kiwis in Berlin" Facebook group - we're all in this together!

  3. A lot of information I've seen on applying for a YMV always refer to Berlin as the city of choice, can this process be undertaken in any other city in Germany, for example Munich?

    1. Hey Brad, the Working Holiday Visa is for Germany (not Berlin). So yes, this process can be undertaken in any other city. Just Google "Ausländerbehörde München" or "Foreigners Office Munich" and you should find the Munich equivalent.

  4. Hey Chris,
    Really helpful article and blog thankyou!
    Im currently planning on moving over to Berlin at the end of October this year on the WHS - leaving myself a bit of time to organise things, some people mention its fine applying in Berlin but others suggest to skip the hassle - apply here in Aus before i go. I know this isnt whay you did, but wondering if you had insight into this from talking to others? Or, given i have a bit of time up my sleeve to book appointments with the departments, if you think applying when i get there would be fine....
    (I don’t speak german or know anyone that likes me enough to waste a day with the gov... I wouldn’t openly give a day up to join an acquaintance at centrelink either...)

    Mainly concerned if i have to apply here in Aus 2months before i leave, will it start cutting into my visa time?
    Also, the part about registering an address?
    Obvs i wont have found permanent residence when i first land on the ground in Berlin, but planning on staying at an airbnb or something till i find / can go to house viewings. Is there a time frame to register address?
    Im actually flying into Amsterdam on a One way ticket, then will get a train to Berlin ( and have proof of the onward travel to show )

    Lastly - I know, so many questions! Sorry.
    You can’t really earn much on the WHS visa, but im hoping to use it as a bridging to then try find a sponsored job in my field. Again something done better in person. Have you stayed on the WHS Or have you transferred to the working visa, and if so, is it difficult?

    Thanks for any advice.

    Cheers,
    Billie 🙂

    1. Hey Billie, that's a lot of questions but I'll do my best to work through them!

      First off, I'm assuming by WHS, you mean "Working Holiday Scheme"... which I believe is technically only between Germany and Hong Kong. Australians get the "Working Holiday Visa", also known as the "Youth Mobility Visa". You might end up confusing people with "WHS" - it even took me a couple of minutes.

      1. You can always apply for your visa in Berlin, but the issue is getting your address registered - you need this before you can apply for a visa. The rental market in Berlin is notoriously competitive, with many people moving from flat to flat for 6+ months before finding somewhere they can register. Between that and the difficulty in getting an visa appointment is why a lot of people (myself included) suggest getting your visa in Australia instead.
      2. As for the visa time, you can specify the start date of your visa on the application form.
      3. There's a lot of conflicting information about registering your address, but since permanent flats are hard to come by, the realistic answer is "as soon as possible". I'd suggest joining all the Facebook groups and looking on WG-Gesucht to try and get at least a temporary flat organised as it's far cheaper than Airbnb.
      4. There are plenty of people who start on a Working Holiday Visa and end up getting sponsored by a company. I've never gone through this process, but it's fairly common. It's also far easier as the company organises everything to do with the visa for you.

      Hope that helps!

  5. This is super helpful! I'm going to be applying in a smaller town so luckily there aren't any crazy waiting periods, my question is if the “Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels" is functionally the same as "Antrag auf Erteilung eines nationalen Visums"?

    I'm still waiting to hear back from the Ausländerbehörde here (probably will have to end up calling them) about which is the right form, but I thought you might know.

    1. Hey Alex, sorry about the delayed response - your comment got caught in a spam filter for some reason.

      It sounds like they're more or less the same thing, but I don't know if there's a nuanced technicality in there somewhere. I imagine residency (whether it's permanent or temporary) is basically the same thing as a visa (which allows you to take residence). I hope your Ausländerbehörde appointment went well! 🙂

  6. Hi Chris,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this!! It was extremely helpful.

    I am planning to move to Berlin and July and stay for at least 9+ months. I currently live in Melbourne.

    I have one questions - What would be the absolute best way to apply for this working holiday visa from here?

    It is my understanding that the German embassy here in Melbourne have nothing to do with visas.. I am definitely up for a trip to Sydney if need be to lock everything in before I leave and avoid the headache.

    Apologies for the dumb questions I am just feeling very confused of where to start!

    Thank you again Chris 🙂

    1. Hey Danni, sorry about the delayed response! Berlin life got a bit hectic over the last few days 🙂

      That's not a dumb question at all! This whole visa business is pretty confusing. My understanding is that you will have to get in touch with the German Consulate in Sydney. Have a look at their website, but it looks like this is probably your first step:

      For visa and passport enquiries, you can call us on (02) 8302 4900 during the following times only:
      Tuesday from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
      Wednesday from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
      Thursday from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, and good luck!

  7. Hi Chris,
    I've just purchased some Mawista insurance but I would like to cancel it after I receive my visa. How did you go about cancelling your insurance.

    Thank,
    Olivia

    1. Hey Olivia, it's as simple as just sending them an email. Just make sure you're specific about your details when getting in touch with them! Good luck and welcome to Germany 🙂

  8. Has anyone recently gotten an appointment in Berlin at the Ausländerbehörde for the Working Holiday Visa? I'm currently in Berlin and need to get the visa, but when I try to book there are NO dates available (I checked up to 2023).
    My partner needed an appointment for her freelance visa and got one in a couple of months.

    1. This is classic Berlin Ausländerbehörde unfortunately. Just keep checking, especially early in the morning - appointments open up every now and again, seemingly at random. If all else fails (as it did for me when I went for me Working Holiday Visa), you'll just have to go to the Ausländerbehörde and line up.

      I recently managed to get an appointment for the freelancer visa by regularly checking at 8 in the morning. It's possible!

  9. Hey ya. Just letting you know that you technically dont need to register your address anymore as it states 'Certificate of registration at the main residence or
    Rental agreement and written confirmation of occupancy from the landlord'. The second option being much easier to obtain.
    Also as an Australian you can stay in Germany an extra 90 days under the visa exempt agreement if you do use the original 90 days in shengen (it really does take that long sometimes!) There is not much info on this but you can email the german embasy to get proof.

    Hope this helps

    1. Hey Eli, thanks for writing in.

      You're correct in saying that it's possible to provide a "Rental agreement and written confirmation of occupancy from the landlord" instead. I'm not sure if I agree if that's easier to obtain though. Landlords here typically ask for a lot of documentation (financial records, credit scores and some other documents that are difficult to get without a local job or residence permit) before producing a rental agreement. And if you manage to get a formal rental agreement, this typically also means you'll be able to get the Anmeldung as well. If neither is possible, it's potentially an illegal sublet. As it is, the Anmeldung is often difficult to obtain but not impossible, and you can get it without signing any formal contracts.

      I've also heard about the extra 90 days exemption before as well, but I personally wouldn't risk it. The bureaucracy in Germany is so unpredictable and open to interpretation, that all it takes is one grumpy public servant to make your life difficult. Have you heard of anyone successfully pulling it off and getting the fine print in writing?

  10. Great article Chris. Interesting about claim issues with "Mawista Student" though. There's a passage in the eligibility section that seems to include working holiday participants - that is definitely worth pointing out if any further issues arise:

    "§ 1 Who is eligible for insurance cover?
    1. The following are eligible for insurance cover:
    a) Residents of Germany who are travelling abroad as language
    pupils, students, scholarship holders, candidates for a
    doctor‘s degree, guest researchers, practical trainees, or who
    are participating in „work- & holiday“-programs as well as
    accompanying members of his or her family"

  11. Hey Chris,

    I think you answered one of my questions on the Australians in Berlin facebook page too. Could be wrong! Anyway,
    I'm about to purchase my health insurance before going in (early af) to the visa office tomorrow.
    1. Do you mean I can use World Nomads instead of Mawista to take as proof of health insurance to the visa registration office OR do you mean I have to use Mawista first (as cheap option) then ditch and change to World Nomads? What I'm asking is, can I just use World Nomads instead of any German health insurance like Mawista?
    I already have travel insurance which covers emergency medical care with World Nomads- it doesn't last the full year though- only goes to May and I'd need it to go to Sep- could I a) add more time to my World Nomads insurance if its valid in your opinion or b) buy Mawista only to cover from the date in May that my World Nomads expires (e.g World Nomads until May then Mawista from May until September ) or b) would it be better to just buy a years worth of Mawista then cancel it??

    NEED HELP ASAP

    1. Hey again Lina 🙂

      I used Mawista as proof of health insurance and ditched it afterwards in favour of World Nomads (which I'm on now). Like the other guy on your Facebook post said, you might be fine with World Nomads, but I thought it'd better to be safe than sorry. Mawista is recommended by the visa office itself as an insurer of choice. If your World Nomads insurance lasts for less than a year, it's very possible that the visa office will issue you with a shorter visa. The Working Holiday Visa is one of the easier visas to get, but personally, I still wouldn't mess around as Germany can be very strict with technicalities and paperwork.

      One more thing: it takes a little while (I think it's a day or two?) for Mawista to actually issue the insurance policy, so it might be too late if you're planning on buying it now in preparation for tomorrow morning.

      Whichever you choose, good luck and welcome to Berlin!

      1. ... I just read this, interview tomorrow morning. The insurance says:
        We will check your application and send you all of the documents by e-mail within the next several days.

        1. Hey Aaron, yes it took me about a day and a half to get processed and have everything by email. This is why I mentioned in the main post:

          "One more tip: buy your insurance a few days before your appointment date, as it can take a day or two for the documents to arrive in your email inbox. I’ve had friends who have missed their appointments after getting their insurance at the last minute."

          Hope everything works out for you!

  12. Update 01/10/2018:
    - Mawista student insurance was processed following next day (less then 24 hours).
    - I'm from NZ but live in Prague.
    - Booked appointment in Prague (showed them 9 days at a hostel in Berlin as proof of address).
    - Had to pay fees in Czech Crowns (2k / 75 euro)
    - At first they said I needed to go do this in Germany:
    As they can do the first part of the application, but I have to do the second part in Germany I think they meant the:
    (Anmeldung is the process of registering yourself to a German address.)
    THIS WAS NOT TRUE. After talking to them for a while, telling them that it said I could online - a younger girl who was there was like, wait you can just apply here (there were 3 people who kept confusing each other).

    7 days later, I could pick up my visa. Done, Super easy.

    I agree, don't do it in Germany - it sounds like more work.

    Chris Lim - Thank you for your help. This page provided a lot of useful information.

    1. Thanks so much for the update! You're very welcome, I'm just glad to hear it all worked out for you. Also great to hear first-hand that it is in fact a lot easier to go through the visa process outside of Germany. Congrats and welcome to Germany 🙂

    2. Seconding Aaron's comment, successful appointment in Prague. I also used Mawista. Some important info:
      1) visa processing takes a week, minimum and you must collect your visa IN PERSON. This was slightly annoying as I'd been led to believe through other consulates that the visa could be mailed - my bad.
      2) One night in a hostel in Dresden was sufficient for the initial proof of address bit on the form - just print out your booking confirmation.
      3) Another thing that surprised me (that shouldn't have in hindsight, given the same rules apply to Germans in Australia) is that you're only legally allowed to work with a single employer for up to 6 months. Bear this in mind when considering your work options over here - you'll possibly have to show your potential new employer your visa!

      1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! There are some great details in there, especially given that the visa is issued within a couple of hours in Berlin - useful to know that the processing time is different if done elsewhere. I agree that the 6 month thing is also really strange, but I believe it's pretty common for working holiday visas in Europe (my only personal reference point being the Netherlands). Thanks again, Alec!

        1. You're welcome Chris. Thanks again for this helpful article.

          I have a question that maybe you can help with(?) In terms of health insurance, my understanding is that German employers will pay your premiums. What I'm still unsure of is whether you select an insurer, or are automatically registered with one, when you commence work for the first time in Germany, or whether you are expected to arrange this yourself in advance, before commencing work? Although we're not citizens/permanent residents (yet!), we're still eligible for the public system right? I.e. we can ditch our private insurers (e.g. Mawista) once we're employed formally in Germany and have a contract?

          Vielen Dank 🙂

          1. Hey Alec, I can't help much here unfortunately. I've heard so many conflicting stories about how insurance works in Germany and haven't yet needed any health check-ups (knock on wood), so I have no experience to draw from. However, my understanding is that having public/private health insurance is compulsory in Germany (i.e. you need to actively sign up), perhaps with the exception of WHV people who are able to get by with travel insurance. This means that if an employer offers you an official contract, the health insurance should be included and they should sort out the details for you.

            Also, technically speaking Mawista only covers "temporary stays" and is classified as "travel" not "health" insurance. It's good enough for WHV visa purposes, but it's not properly health insurance - that tends to cost upwards of 200 Euros a month.

            TL;DR - it's complicated. ??‍♂️

      2. Hi Alec,

        Thanks for your comment - very helpful. With regards to the 6 month employment rule, are you aware of any restrictions to how much you can earn per month? I read 400 euros somewhere...which doesn't really seem viable if I have to pay for rent too..but I just want to check. Thanks for your help!

  13. Thanks for the advice! Just want to share that I applied for the insurance with MAWISTA and got all the documents in an email within 2 hours. That was a relief considering my visa appointment is in 2 days time.

  14. Hi Chris,

    Thank you for writing up all this info it has been super useful for my upcoming move. Quick question - when you entered Germany did you mention that you were entering to apply for the working holiday visa or did you just say tourism? I know as Australians we're allowed to apply for the visa after entering, but just worried that mentioning anything remotely about working will cause issues at the border.

    Thanks,
    Catherine

    1. Hey Catherine, thanks for your kind words. I moved to Berlin after living in Amsterdam so I was never asked this question. I wasn't asked this question upon entry into the Netherlands either - the only time I've been asked this in Europe is at the various airports in London, for some reason. That being said, the Working Holiday Visa is a very common thing here and the border police would've heard it thousands of times. Just be honest about your intentions - it shouldn't be a problem at all. Best of luck in Berlin!

  15. Can anyone please tell me if I can bring my non EU husband with me to germany on yOUTH MOBILITY VISA . I am Canadian and he is from non Eu country .
    I have been trying to get apointment for Auslanderhorde but it s booked up to 2023 .. so is it still posible to just show up there at 3 am and somehow get visa ?

    1. Hi Amy, I'm not completely sure as I never had to go through this. However I've read about this being possible both on online forums and Berlin's website looks very promising: Residence permit for spouses and children of holders of an EU Blue Card. Your Youth Mobility Visa counts as a "residence permit", which means would likely mean that your husband would be eligible to come with you. But once again: I've never personally experienced this, so you would be best off asking your local German embassy directly or asking the Ausländerbehörde once you arrive here.

      As for your appointment, you can definitely get your visa by showing up at 3am. Just make sure you have all the relevant documents. I'd also suggest checking the booking page as often as you can, as cancellations are quite common and you might get lucky. Good luck!

  16. Hi Chris and the other posters who made an application in Europe but Germany: I find myself in the similar situation.

    I read this article, then I decided to apply for the visa while I am in Europe as Chris recommended. I successfully booked an appointment at the German Embassy in Vienna, but I am just wondering if I would have to flash an Austrian residence permit to get the German working holiday visa ..

    I noticed that the application form has a place where you have to fill in "Residence Permit No." - I am not sure if it's the one in my home country or the country where I make this application ...

    I've called up and emailed them but no reply came, nor could I get through.

    Could anyone have any information on this? Hope all this makes sense! I know you all are busy but your prompt response much appreciated.

    PS: I'm from Japan

    1. Hey Liz, my understanding is that the Japanese passport gets you 90 days of visa-free travel in the Schengen zone (which includes Austria). This means that you shouldn't need to apply for any visas or permits to enter Austria. Simply turn up, get a stamp at the airport, and organise your German residence permit within 90 days. If they question you about "where you're going next", just tell them you have an appointment with the German embassy. Good luck! 🙂

  17. Hi Chris, thanks so much for the response.

    Yes I'm aware of that, the Japanese passport has 90 days visa free stay in the Schengen zone (FYI: the Japanese can stay in Austria for 6 months on a visa-on-arrival - this rule only applies to Austria not any other Schengen states, though).

    Actually I'm afraid I misunderstood your reply... So your point is that I could try applying for a German working holiday visa in Vienna, without having an Austrian residence permit? I have 6 months to try it in Austria?

    I know I should directly contact the German embassy but they still haven't replied to my inquiries... 🙁

    1. Hey Liz, that's great that you can get 6 months on arrival! I'm afraid I don't quite understand you as well. There is no requirement for having an Austrian residence permit to get a German one. All you need is to be legally in Vienna (which you will be, with either the 90 Schengen days or your 6 months on arrival) so that you can physically go to your appointment at the German embassy. Hope that makes sense.

      While I've had a lot of experience with the visa application process, I'm not a legal professional nor a visa consultant, so I can't really give you advice tailored to your specific situation. But if I'm understanding your situation correctly, it's actually a very simple process that you have ahead of you 🙂

  18. Hi Chris!

    Thanks so much for the warm words and tips. The German Embassy in Vienna finally confirmed that, as you said, there is no requirement for having an Austrian residence permit (and that I can leave out the residence permit section in the application form!).

    They even stated that the appointment will be conducted either in German or English so no German is required too ???? Then at the end of the email they stated "further questions will not be answered" ???? I think I bombarded them with a lot of questions already (it already took +10 emails to get what I wanted), I will just turn up with all the documents then ????

    Will keep you all updated on how it goes so future WHers can benefit from my experience. But as you said, it's always the best to get the necessary information from the source.

    1. Ah right, I didn't realise there was a section about having a prior residency permit! I'm glad that you figured it out in the end, and also that you don't have to fumble through with German during the interview! Well done on being persistent - I'd be happy to hear how it all goes for you. Viel Glück!

  19. Hi Chris,
    This article is amazing. In world where NO website gives you a straight answer about visas or immigration, this is so refreshing.

    I'm just wondering, I am an Australian applying for my German WH visa from Bern in Switzerland, and I'm wondering what I'll need to provide at the meeting (I can't get this info from them via email or phone) apart from the standard documents ie.

    my passport
    proof of funds
    35mm x 45mm passport photo
    health insurance

    As far as I can tell in your article, I don't need to prove any kind of residence or address in Berlin when applying from outside Germany, is this correct?

    Any info here would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hey Zeina, thank you so much for your kind words! Without having done it myself, I can't say from personal experience. But from what I've read and heard, yes, you don't need registration (Anmeldung) at an address in Berlin if you apply from outside of Germany. Other than that, the documents you've listed (plus a form) should be all you need. One thing I'm not sure about though is the proof of funds - I think it's higher than the amount you need if you're applying from within the country. But I wouldn't worry too much as the Australian passport is quite powerful (especially in Germany) so you should get through without too much trouble!

      I'd love to hear how you go with your application so I can add more personal experiences for future reference 🙂

      Good luck!

  20. Okay, great! Thanks for getting back to me so fast.
    Bern seems like a good option because they have many available appointments online, unlike most of the others that I've checked.

    I'll be applying on Monday so I'll keep you posted.

    One thing I forgot to ask - do you know how long these applications typically take from embassies outside Germany? And will they keep my passport in the meantime - and if they do, will they post it to me after?

    Thanks!

    1. All great questions! I've never been in your situation before, so the most I can do is tell you what I've heard in the past.

      So:

      I would assume it takes different amounts of time depending on which city you're applying in, but the general ballpark I've heard from others is less than a week. One guy I spoke to in the Ausländerbehörde queue (outside, at 3 in the morning) told me it took him 3 days in Poland. From memory, one of the official websites I've read had 1-2 weeks, but that's probably them just being safe. If what you said is true about there being a lot of appointments in Bern, I would think that means your turnaround would be very quick as they're not as busy.

      As for the passport thing: I've heard that people have had to post their passports to Sydney (when applying from Melbourne), but I'd say they'd simply just make an "official" copy since you're applying in person. Seems rather unnecessary to keep your passport when you're physically standing right in front of them.

      Again, I've never been in your position, so these are just educated guesses. But the government websites I've seen are either super vague or completely nonexistent, so maybe this helps somewhat.

      Good luck! Wouldn't have even thought to apply in Bern, so that's already a great tip for everybody else. Looking forward to hearing how it goes 🙂

  21. Update 19 Mar 2019

    - I GOT IT in Vienna, Austria 🙂
    - The appointment was so easy that I was positively surprised at it... The officer only checked my documents and asked a few questions (e.g. what currency is in my bank statement), She also took my fingerprints. The whole thing took only 10 mins or less. I expected some sort of job interview questions but there were no such things.

    - The reception guy was so nice!! Once he knew I'm from Japan he spoke to me in all Japanese he knows 🙂 Although he did keep my mobile for security purposes (oh my belongings also went through the security ), I didn't feel like I was at the embassy due to his easy-going nature,,,

    - Less than 24hrs after the appointment they emailed me about the collection of my WHV!! Again I expected that it would take 1 week to get so again I was positively surprised at it. I am going to pick up the visa tomorrow!

    - Oh one last thing, the whole process was in English so no German was needed. I didn't need to have an Austrian residence permit either. The Embassy staff told me that it was free for the Japanese applicants (i guess it usually costs you 75 EUR). Was able to save some money, too.

    I would like to thank Chris and all the other posters for the information here - it was a massive help!! My piece of advice is that, Like Chris said, you should communicate with the German Embassy you are applying for, even though this page provides a lot of things you need to know. Things may change from time to time

    1. Congratulations! I'm so glad to hear that it worked out for you! And thank you for taking the time to come back and report your results 😀

  22. Hello Chris,

    I have a question about Mawista insurance. You suggested using the student package. Have you used this without being a student? I want to get the cheapest possible that I can cancel but I would hate to be in the visa appointment and then have them ask me questions about why I put I was a student. Ps. Im a 25 year old Australian who has just moved to Berlin to get the working visa!

    Thanks for any help you can give and this article has been a life saver!

    1. Hi India, I had similar concerns when this was recommended to me as well. My guess is that it's because the Student package covers people who fall under the category of "Work & Travel" - which is, in effect, the Working Holiday Visa. My experience was that they took one look at it, made a copy, and didn't ask any further questions at all. I know quite a few people who have used the same insurance without any issues as well. If you're really playing it safe, you could get a more expensive insurance package. They all have a 1 month termination policy ("Notice of termination: at the end of each month via e-mail or letter"), so it doesn't really make a big difference either way.

  23. Hi Chris, a bit off topic but do you happen to offer services that help working holiday makers get a job in Berlin? If not, could you kindly recommend any company with that kind of service? I was considering using Nomaden Berlin but after consideration I just realised that this company is not the best choice for me to go for help,

    1. Hey Liz, it's an interesting idea that I haven't thought of! I'm tentatively planning on putting together a service in the next few months to help new Berliners though - I'll add this to the list. In the meantime, I can send you an email to connect and we can talk a little more there about what you're looking for? I've been in Berlin for a little while and I might have some leads for you. Let me know 🙂

  24. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for the very useful info. I am a Canadian, about to apply for the Youth Mobility Visa in Berlin (my appointment is in 3 weeks). I have most of my documents ready but I have a few questions. First, in terms of proof of funds, I've read elsewhere that the printout of your online banking balance may not be sufficient but I opted out of banking statements (to save the trees) a while ago and that's the only option I have right now (especially given that I can't personally go to my bank as I'm here in Germany already). The printout from my online account does have my name on it. Any ideas if that would suffice? Also, the Ausländerbehörde website mentions "an interview" but from what others wrote here it seems they mostly just check that all your documents are in order. So the question is was there actually "an interview" and if so, what type of questions did they ask?
    For those that are interested, I got my appointment today (and this was the first day I started checking) by checking the availability starting at 7am. The appointment appeared around 9:05am. It was only for one date in May but many time slots were available.

    1. Hi Olga, I'm in total agreement with you about saving the trees! Unfortunately the German government doesn't share the same sentiment, as they want everything printed and/or in writing. For proof of funds, a statement is definitely ideal - is there no way to get a digital version and print it out from your online banking? If not, a printout of your online account should be fine. I'd also edit it slightly if possible to make it look a little more official. And don't forget to write a currency conversion to Euros on each statement!

      As for the "interview", you're right - it's basically a quick look through all of your documents. There really isn't any reason for them to ask any questions (or interview you at all) unless you're missing a key document, or something is wrong with your paperwork. Seems like you're well on your way to getting sorted - good luck!

  25. Thanks so much to Liz above. I tried to book a Youth Mobility Agreement visa appointment at the Embassy in Warsaw, but it's for Polish residents only (I'm Canadian). I can, however, book the YMA appointment in Vienna. Gott sei Dank!

    1. Hey Bronwyn, glad to hear you got yourself sorted! Do you have any more information about the "Polish residents only" point that you mentioned? Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but that doesn't make any sense - Poland is in the EU, so Polish residents would never be in a position to need a Youth Mobility Agreement visa. Unless you mean temporary foreign residents in Poland? Bit confused 🙂

  26. Great article - I used your post & the comments when I was applying. However, just a few things to note in relation to Liz's comments and applying abroad. I also applied abroad & a 6-month working restriction was put on my visa. After arriving in Berlin I realised I should have applied in Berlin (as everyone I spoke to who applied in Berlin didn't have a working restriction on their visa) but I was worried about anmeldung so applied abroad. You need anmeldung anyway in order to get tax-ID & other admin tasks anyway. The 6-month working restriction has been a hindrance on my job hunt. Something I wish I had known about previously. Apparently, it's quite a new thing for Australian & New Zealanders to have the 6-month restrictions on their visa when applying abroad.

    1. Hey Simon, thanks for the feedback. I'm working on some updates across the board and will include your experience as well. Cheers!

  27. Hey - this is a great article, thanks so much! Just to confirm: if we apply for the Working Holiday Visa at the Ausländerbehörde in Berlin, is it processed straight away in the same appointment? The only appointment available for us is a few days before we head to the UK for a month, so we won't be able to leave our passports there. We are NZ citizens, so if we are unable to get the WHV then, we will just apply from the embassy in London (thanks to the information in this article). Thanks!

    1. Hey Jack, if your documents are all in order, typically it gets processed in half an hour or so. Mine took about 20 minutes, others have told me their took a bit longer. There shouldn't be any need to leave your passports there. Best of luck! And bring a book, it can get a bit boring 🙂

  28. Hi Chris. I just wanted to give a quick update on our experience getting the WHV. We had our appointment in Berlin at the Ausländerbehörde on Keplerstraße this morning. We followed the tips in your article and the application was accepted.

    However, at the end of the appointment we weren't issued our Working Holiday Visa card (the officer referred to it as a 1-year residents card, but confirmed it was the WHV when we asked. It also seems like it's a card, rather than a Visa stamp on your passport). Instead, we were given an official letter telling us we could pick up our residents card at an appointment in about a month, and were allowed to stay in Germany until then. The impression we've had from our research is that the Visa is issued the same day, or is it standard that you get the letter first, then the physical card later? We haven't read anything about the month delay.

    We are doing some travel to the UK, then back into the Schengen area before our appointment to get the card. We will be entering the Schengen area (Belgium) again on day 83 of our 90 days, travelling from Rome to Berlin on day 91, then picking up our card about a week later. We feel safe about being in Berlin after the 90 days is up, but are now wondering if we should rebook our Rome to Berlin flight to make sure we arrive back in Germany before our 90 days are up. We asked the officer about the letter, and they didn't seem confident that it would be accepted as a Visa in other countries immigrations.

    Any thoughts or advice you have would be really appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jack, congratulations on getting through! And thanks for coming back to give an update your experience. To be honest, I'm just as confused as you are - I've never heard of any similar experiences at the Ausländerbehörde like yours before. But I'll try to help.

      Perhaps an area of confusion from the officer's perspective is that expats from Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand always refer to this visa as the "Working Holiday Visa", but more accurately, it - and all other "visas" - are technically a "residence permit" (Aufenthaltstitels). Even more confusing, Canadians go through the same process to get the same residence permit but theirs is labelled "Youth Mobility Agreement". As for getting a physical card, I've never heard of anyone getting one for temporary residence before. The document that you get in your passport is sort of like a couple of thin cards - it takes up two full pages. Perhaps the officer was trying to communicate this by combining both and calling it a "residents card"?

      As for the turnaround times, you're right. Everybody I know - including myself, obviously - had the visa within a couple of hours. The Freelance Visa can sometimes take days, weeks or even months as they need to pass on the documents to see if there's an "economic need" in Berlin for your skills, but the Working Holiday Visa requires no such thing as it's based on an agreement between Germany and your home country. So that's also quite unusual.

      And finally: the Schengen question. Based on what you've told me, I have a suspicion that you're misunderstanding the specifics of how the 90-day Schengen visa exemption works. Your visa exemption means you can stay in the Schengen area for a total of 90 out of 180 days - in other words, if you leave Schengen for the UK (which is not part of Schengen) and come back, those days that you're away do not count towards those 90 days. Based on this, my guess is that you will be back within your exemption period and should be completely fine.

      Even with just a couple of days left, it is well within your rights to re-enter Schengen. Once you're in, the I'd say that it's unlikely that you'll be checked at all, as the whole point of Schengen is free travel across borders. But if my suspicion about your understanding of the Schengen rules is correct, it sounds like you'll be back in Germany within your 90 days anyway.

      As it often is with these sorts of things, the conclusion is: I'm not sure, and it's hard to say. I'm very curious to know what happens though! I'd appreciate it if you came back with an update on things - especially if you get a shiny residency card, I'd like to see a photo!

      Best of luck and enjoy your travels 🙂

      1. Hi Chris,

        Thanks for your quick and thorough reply!

        Thanks for the clarification on the Working Holiday Visa / Resident Permit semantics. They confirmed the same thing.

        We’ve done some research and posted on Berlin Facebook groups today. Everyone that replied who applied for the WHV in recent months has had the same experience as us. It seems that the Ausländerbehörde no longer issues Working Holiday Visas on the same day (as a passport sticker/stamp that takes up two pages, as you mentioned in your comment). Instead, you are issued a 1-year Alfenhaltserlaubtniss Karte (or Electronic Residence Title / Residents Card. See https://www.berlin.de/labo/willkommen-in-berlin/aufenthalt/elektronischer-aufenthaltstitel/artikel.597898.en.php). The card takes a month to be printed, so in the interim you are given an official letter that gives you an appointment time to pick up your card, and tells you that you are allowed to stay in Germany until that date. We were told we can only pick them up on Wednesdays. This must be a recent change, as the official German website still indicates that you get the Visa on the same day. The link above says the Electronic Residence Title has been around since 2011, so it’s possible it is only just getting rolled out in Berlin now. It is also possible that this change only affects Australians and New Zealanders, as this is the Facebook group we asked.

        Worse yet, some people replied and said they were told at the meeting that they were not allowed to leave Germany until they received their Resident’s Card (!). The officer we had however told us we are fine to leave, which is a relief as we have over a month of travel booked. It’s a bit of a worry, however we used Google Translate on the letter we were given, and it said that we could stay in Germany until our meeting to pickup the card, and that “Travel abroad, however, is only possible within the validity of the last issued residence permit”. We are taking this to mean that we can travel on the conditions of our previous permit, which is our 90-day Visa on Arrival for the Schengen area.

        Apologies, I might not have been clear with the Schengen question. We have been in Berlin since mid-June, which will be 82 days when we leave for the UK in a week. We are then flying from the UK back to Europe (Schengen area) in a month and a half, which will start our 90-day Schengen Visa again on day 83. We will then be in the Schengen area for 8 days before flying to Berlin. This means we will be on 91 days when we arrive back in Germany. Once we are back in Germany we will be fine, however we are slightly worried about being caught out on 91 days just before arriving back. We’ve been told that Visa’s are never checked for this type of travel. However, just in case - we will print off the Bilateral Visa Waiver documents that say New Zealander’s can technically stay in each Schengen country for 90 days. I’m sure we will be fine.

        I’ll post another update when we have the Working Holiday Visa! But it does seem like a lot has changed in the last few months.

        1. That's classic German bureaucracy for you! No one really seems to know what's going on and things are constantly changing. And of course, visas are particularly frustrating and scary - it's the reason why I wrote this article in the first place. I'm sorry to hear you've gotten mixed up in the latest mess at the Ausländerbehörde.

          I think you have the right idea, although the line “Travel abroad, however, is only possible within the validity of the last issued residence permit” actually refers to another residence permit you might have had - for example, if your Working Holiday Visa just expired and you're moving onto a Freelance Visa. The 90-day visa exemption is just that - an exemption. I was also told by the Ausländerbehörde to exit Schengen and come back on the 90-day visa exemption when I was having troubles with my transition. But in your interpretation, it's the same thing. Just being picky on my end, nothing to worry about 🙂

          As for the Schengen issue, I also think you'll be fine. I've flown dozens of times within the Schengen zone and my passport was only ever used as identification. No one ever looked at my residency papers. I've heard of these bilateral waivers, but don't really know how they work - but it's a great idea to have them as backup. Hopefully you won't need them and it'll be a smooth journey.

          Thanks again for giving me an update! This is all definitely new and I appreciate getting new information from the ground - I'll be keeping my ear out to hear how the last part of your visa application process goes.

          Here's a tip in return: if you ever end up heading through Bruges in Belgium, be sure to drop by Waffle Van and Olivier's Chocolate Shop. My local friend took me there - I've been around Belgium a few times and they were the best waffles and chocolates I've found. Not to mention the city itself is beautiful. Have a great trip!

          1. Hello Chris,

            I just wanted to give a final update - we got the Working Holiday Visas 🙂

            As I mentioned in my last post, after our first WHV appointment we travelled to the UK, then back to Schengen via Belgium before coming back to Berlin. We had no trouble at all leaving or re-entering, though we were under the 90 days (my understanding is that if you are over 90 days you aren’t allowed to travel until you have the resident’s card).

            Picking up the card was very easy; in the first meeting we were given a letter that had an appointment date/time. The Ausländerbehörde sets aside a two-hour block every week just to issue the cards, you need to turn up with your letter and passport, then get an appointment number from the machine inside. It wasn’t busy and we only had to wait a few minutes (though some friends who went a few weeks later said they had to wait over an hour).

            The officer gave us two things - the Aufenthaltstitel German residence permit card (which was dated for one year from our original appointment), and also a small paper document called a “Zusatzblatt Zum Aufenthaltstitel” that lists our employment provisions. He explained that we need both items (as well as our passport) for identification. He told us he thinks it too complicated now compared to when it used to just be a passport sticker, but that this is just how things are now.

            One other thing worth mentioning; it seems like there is some confusion about whether people can start working or not once they have the letter, or whether they need to wait until the have the residence card. Apparently people have been given different answers by the officers at the Ausländerbehörde, with some having to wait another month before they can start working. This didn’t affect us, but it may cause problems for other people who need to start working asap.

            I hope it’s OK if I ask one final pedantic travel question that you might have some knowledge of! The WHV means we can stay in Germany for a year, but also visit other Schengen countries for 90 out of 180 days (the same as the tourist Visa). We arrived in Germany in mid-June, but only got our WHV in August. Does the time in Germany before we got the visa count towards the 90-day tourist limit? Since we got the visa we have been travelling in other Schengen countries (but only for about 45 days, nowhere near the 90-day limit). In a few weeks we will be flying from Greece to the UK, so we will need to go through border control as we are leaving Schengen. On the one hand, we have a German WHV and haven’t spent more than 90 days in other Schengen countries, so we should be fine. But on the other hand, technically we were in Germany as tourists for 60 days as tourists before we got the Visa, so if that does count towards the 90-days then we have gone over the 90-day limit because of our travel in other Schengen countries? Our guess is this won’t be an issue, but because we are leaving Schengen from Greece and not Germany, we want to make sure so we don’t have any issues at the border.

            Again, many thanks for your help and tips!

          2. Hey Jack, thanks for coming back with so many updates! And apologies for the late response - I didn't get a notification about your comments for some reason.

            In regards to your travel question about Schengen: props to you for trying to follow the rules down to the details! Your concerns are completely valid. At the same time, travellers are rarely checked at the borders within the Schengen area (after all, that's the point). I was also travelling a lot when I first got to Germany, and I spent a lot of time calculating and worrying about my Schengen days. Never once was I questioned. I would also say that most expats don't even think about this once they get their visa as they don't really understand the technicalities - or they don't care. Either way, I think you guys will be totally fine.

            Let me know if you have any other questions! I'd be happy to answer them to the best of my ability. And thanks again for reporting back 🙂

          1. Hi Anna,

            I’ve just posted an update above in reply to Chris. We also flew out of Schengen and back in the month we were waiting for the residents card, and had no issues at all (though we were under 90 days).

            We asked at the Ausländerbehörde about the residents cards, and they said it was a recent change. Everybody we have talked to who got a WHV in recent months went through the same process and received a card, not a sticker. However, the people we know are from New Zealand / Australia, so it’s possible it’s just changing for people from these countries? I’m really not sure sorry, but the change seemed universal.

            Cheers!

  29. Hey Chris,
    Thank you for such an important and helpful article.
    im wondering if the travel insurance i got is "good enough"; i got it from my home country (~Israel) its for 2 years, covers me for about everything. i even flew back home just to get it for this visa!
    But reading your article im feeling insecure about going there and getting turned down. is there any way of knowing what their standards are in advance?
    thank you 🙂

    1. Hey Aryn! In short, your insurance must cover: the full length of your visa, and medical costs up to 30,000€ and/or any expenses related to repatriation for medical reasons (e.g. emergency hospital treatment or death). A bit morbid, I know. I only suggest Mawista as one of their posters were literally on the wall when I was applying - plus, I've heard only success stories from other people. But there's no issue using another insurer as long as it meets all the right criteria. Thanks for the kind words!

  30. Hi,
    Mawista has 3 options for the student insurance available.
    Which one should I choose?
    - Student Classic
    - Student Classic Plus
    - Student Classic Comfort

    Thank you.

    1. Hey Patrick, the cheapest one (Classic) is fine for the purposes of getting your Working Holiday Visa. Whether you want to get a higher level of coverage is completely up to you.

      1. Thanks for the feedback. I've encountered another problem!
        In the online application, it says that MAWISTA Student can only be applied for from a German Address. Problem is, I'm from Australia and not currently in Germany. 😛

        1. Thanks for the heads up! I wasn't aware of this. Are you planning on applying for the Working Holiday Visa from Australia? If so, the only other international insurer that I've heard people have used for the application process is World Nomads. I've just double checked and their policy seems to meet all the requirements.

          If you're applying for the visa in Germany, I'd suggest you sign up for Mawista once you've arrived. It only takes a couple of days to process, so it should all be ready by the time you have your documents in order.

          1. I'm applying in Australia.
            I got in contact with Mawista, and asked if I could use a friend's address to sign up. They said yes, to put down the friend's name too, and update the address as soon as I've got my own. But I'm thinking the address will show up on the certificate and confuse the folk at the embassy.

          2. Good to know you can list a German address from Australia! I've just checked my old insurance policy and can confirm that the address definitely shows up.

            Are you staying with your friend when you arrive in Germany? If you're able to get an "invitation letter" and passport copy of your friend, this actually decreases your proof of savings requirement from $7100 to $1800 (details here) and would help alleviate any confusion from the health insurance policy. But seeing as you're applying in Australia and heading to Germany soon after, I can't see it being an issue unless they're being pedantic. But I haven't heard of this situation before and can't really say for certain.

  31. Hi Chris,

    Do you know if it is possible to start working immediately after receiving your visa letter after your first appointment, or do you have to wait for the second appointment when you receive your card?

    Thanks

    Will

    1. Hey Will, I personally haven't experienced this part of the process as I got my Working Holiday Visa a couple of years ago. From what I've been told by friends, here in the comments and in Facebook groups, it appears you can't start working until you get your card. Effectively, the letter is an "extension" to allow you to stay in the country (or travel) while you wait.

  32. Hi Chris,
    Thanks so much for your advice and collection or resources. I have a question about applying from outside of Germany. I’m an Australian citizen, and am going to try to apply in Sydney before I go.

    I’m wondering if you can expand on the “do not require Anmeldung” part of applying outside Germany. Do you mean I can get my Steuernummer in Australia and just start working when I get to Germany?

    Is there anything I can read to make this clearer?

    Thanks so much

    1. Thanks Tom, great to know that I've been able to help! I think you're getting Steuer-ID-Nummer and Steuernummer confused. Not to worry, it's a pretty common mistake!

      The Steuer-ID-Nummer is the tax number you get when you register your address (Anmeldung) after arriving in Germany. The Steuer-ID is a single identification number that is associated with you for your entire time in Germany - everyone has one. This is done in person at the Bürgeramt, so in response to your question: you won't be able to obtain an Anmeldung nor a Steuer-ID in Australia. Once you've officially registered, this will arrive in the mail about 3-4 weeks later. You'll just need to tell your future employer to wait to get this number before they can pay you.

      By comparison, the Steuernummer is separate tax number that only freelancers need to get. If you plan on freelancing, you'll need to get this from the local Finanzamt that is responsible for the area that you're registered in.

      Hope that makes sense!

      1. Thanks so much for your reply Chris. All of that makes perfect sense.

        I'm still confused about what you mean in the section about applying outside of Germany, you list as a pro "Pro: Anmeldung not necessary".
        What do you mean by this/do you have any further resources I can read?
        Do you mean the Anmeldung is not necessary JUST in terms of getting my visa, or do you mean it won't be necessary at all? Sorry if I'm missing something super obvious ????

        1. No worries! I just read the article again from the perspective of someone who hasn't arrived yet - I can see where things might've gotten confused. Something to keep in mind for the next revision of the guide 🙂

          It's a rather messy Catch-22 that expats learn about in their first weeks of arriving in Berlin:

          - You need a flat to get your Anmeldung
          - You need an Anmeldung to get your visa
          - You need a visa to get a flat

          The last point is not true, of course - but not having a visa does make you seem like a risky renter. Why would a landlord choose a tenant who might not even be allowed to stay in the country, when there are twenty other people lined up outside?

          Add the fact that the rental market in Berlin has really heated up over the last few years (both in price and in the number of applicants), and it quickly becomes obvious what a relief it is to not have to worry about finding a permanent flat within your 90 Schengen days. Hope that makes sense!

  33. Hi, Chris
    Thanks for a decent systematic approach for doing this.

    I'm confused as to which building to do the whole line-up-bloody-early thing at.

    You've mentioned the Immigration Auslanderbehorde at Keplerstrasse 2 and I get impression other people in this thread have done exactly that, but the Berlin government website (https://www.berlin.de/einwanderung/en/services/our-services/artikel.878520.en.php?fbclid=IwAR3g_i2gpj8POdw-kKBfbIOzs_vEDTVAKaZ_egF0D74438IFPXdhyGoxklw) indicates the Auslanderbehorde at Friedrich-Krause-Ufer 24 instead for WHV's.

    Can you or anyone confirm one location or the other to be the correct place? Could the location of this service change in recent times?

    Cheers,
    David

    1. Hey David, sorry about the late response. Everyone's been Corona-crazy and that's really thrown me off in the last few weeks. It does seem like the location has changed, so I've added an extra line about the address. Have you since received your visa at the Friedrich-Krause-Ufer location? Thanks for picking that up!

  34. Hi Chris,

    First of all, thank you so much for this comprehensive guide! It helped me so much when applying for my WHV in December and I am beyond grateful!

    I was wondering where you found your information in regards to the 2020 updates for the visa? I am currently employed and wish to stay with the same employer until my visa ends in December. I have been with then for 4.5 months, and because of COVID 19, would really struggle to find another job at the moment within the next month and a half. I applied within Germany, so according to your guide, I am fine to continue working with them. However, on the official website, it does not differentiate between Visa's lodged in Australia vs Germany, and simply states that you can only work for one employer for no more than 6 months at a time.

    I am hoping to possibly get a working visa to stay an extra year in Germany, so I want to ensure that I am abiding by the law to ensure I have every chance of success. I have really struggling to find this information online, so if you could let me know where you found it, I would be forever grateful.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Zoe, thank you and I'm so glad you found it useful!

      Last I heard, the policy was that visas applied for in Australia had the 6-month restriction, and visas applied for in Germany had none. If what you're saying is true, this might be a new development that I'm not aware of - so thank you for bringing it to my attention.

      Perhaps this is too obvious, but have you checked your visa to see what it says? I would assume that unless it specifies a restriction of "6 months" somewhere, you'll be fine.

      To be totally transparent: I'm not an immigration expert and the first (and last, obviously) time I applied for a Working Holiday Visa was in 2017. The only reason I make an effort to keep this guide updated is because I remember - vividly - how anxious I was when trying to navigate the visa process myself. Most of my updates are made after spotting new information on Facebook groups and from people who leave a comment, such as yourself. That means that while I try to keep things as updated as possible, I can't be 100% certain that things haven't changed since.

      It does feel like Germany has been changing things up quite a bit recently, and I imagine COVID-19 has accelerated that even more.

      I would suggest having a look at your visa, as well as any other documentation you might have received from the Ausländerbehörde. If that answers your question (or brings up new ones), please be sure to give me an update!

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