Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Visa Saga

Germany allows you to stay in the country for 90 days without the need for a Visa.  The U.S. State Department web site sort of suggests that even though you can start the Visa application process before you leave the U.S. it's just as easy to start it once you arrive in Germany.  Hmmmm!  Not necessarily so.

About two weeks after arriving I started the process.  Filled out lots of guess what?  Paperwork.  Submitted everything to the Ausländeramt and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Nothing!

The application is for both a Visa and a Work Permit, and since I have a pending work contract to do consulting for a company in Nürnberg I started getting a bit anxious.  Not to mention that 90 days was rapidly approaching.

My friend Christian, who owns the company I have the pending work contract with, and I went to the Ausländeramt in our nice business suits to see what we could find out. Christian, being the sweet tonged devil that he is manged to get us in to see the nice lady who had my file.

Now since the original application was made Judith and I were married in Reno in February (that's another installment).  After explaining this fact it seemed to make a significant difference in my status.  Being married to a German citizen negates the need for a Work Permit - you only need a Visa.  Ah Hah - good news.  Well sort of...

All we needed to do was get a certified copy of the marriage license from Washoe County and an Apostille from the State of Nevada's Secretary of State.  What is an Apostille you may wonder?  It's simple - an Apostille is a certified document that says the other certified document is certified - a certification of a certification.  This is actually a very simple process and was accomplished with no fuss or muss.

But... there's one more tank trap to get across as well.

I must pass the German Language A1 test.  Not so easy!  This all has to do with integration of aliens into the German society.  So OK, I've been taking German lessons for awhile now.  But, I can tell you, passing the German Language A1 test was not going to happen before my 90 days in Germany was up.  Fortunately, the nice lady understood this dilemma and gave me a six month temporary Visa.

In addition to the private lessons I've been taking I have enrolled at the Buildungszentrum (Education Center) for intensive German lessons.  Oh Boy!! 

So far, all of this must sound pretty daunting.  Well yes, it is, but I have a wonderful wife and friends who are helping and supporting the effort.  It's a matter of chipping away at each hurdle a bit at a time.  There's been a fair share of upside things going as well, and I'll get to those.

In the mean time the Container arrived in late January - that was a relief!!


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