Quick! Renew that Visa!

So it’s hard to believe that I have been in Germany for almost three years! I mean, it definitely feels like I have been in Germany for a while….like more than a year….maybe two, but three!?

I got the reminder the other day from HR at work; they had asked if I had already started the extension process….to which I replied, “…..er, no………?” My temporary residence visa (or Aufenthaltserlaubnis in German) is only good for three years and the 31st of May is approaching fast. So I emailed the Foreign Office in Überlingen (Ausländerbehörde or Ausländerwesen….take your pick) and asked what I needed.

I got the following list:

         Pass (Passport)

         Ausgefüllter Antrag (Fill out form – provided by the Ausländerbehörde)

         Aktuelles biometrisches Passbild (nicht älter als 6 Monate) (New passport photo – no older than six months)

         Arbeitsbescheinigung des Arbeitgebers (Memo from Employer stating that you have been working for them and still are)

         Letzten drei Monatsabrechnungen (Last three month Pay Stubs)

         Arbeitsvertrag bzw. Ergänzungen zum Arbeitsvertrag (Work contract)

         Krankenversicherungsnachweis (Memo from Health insurance stating that you are covered and that your coverage is ongoing)

         Zertifikate über Hochschulabschluss (Higher education certificate – i.e. University Transcript)

         Zertifikate Sprachnachweis (language certificate)

         Mietvertrag (apartment contract)

I am insanely organized so it took no time to get everything together (including a quick E-Mail to HR for the Arbeitsbescheinigung and swinging by my health insurance to get their letter) and this last Monday I met with one of the very lovely ladies from the Ausländerwesen.  She was suuuuuuuuuuuuper nice and extremely helpful.

You see, I hit a snag very quickly in my gathering of paperwork. Turns out, I actually don’t have a language certificate! Shit! I took two years of German at IU (Indiana University), whatever I could get through the Goethe Institute in Chicago (paid for by my company – and it turns out I did get a certificate from them – A1, VERY basic German – I need B1, so it’s a start but not enough), AND whatever courses the company here in Germany paid for only to discover that the tests I took with them were not official. But I have gotten enough lessons up to B1.

The point is, I don’t need a language certificate…..yet……I did give her the A1 because it is something and it is all I have at the moment (officially).


But wait, there’s more!

I know what you are probably thinking, “Aren’t you married to a German? Don’t you get automatic citizenship or something?”


So being married to a German does allow me to get my ultimate visa goal – the unlimited residence permit (or Niederlassungserlaubnis) but I have already been here via work visa so I have that option as well.

So let me break it down what was explained to me:

In order to qualify for a Niederlassungserlaubnis as a foreigner married to a German, I have to get the Aufenthaltserlaubnis off of this basis and live in Germany for another three years before I can apply (this technically would have been good to apply for when we first got married in 2015…but we didn’t so here we are).


I stick with my work visa and wait another two years (making my stay in Germany five years in total – since the requirement is paying into the German retirement system for at least 60 months – 5 years) and apply then.

So the lady’s advice: stick with the work visa. It’s faster and in the end you will have achieved permanent status all on your own and you won’t have needed a husband to do it. I shit you not, that’s what she told me!

But what about the language certificate? So some of the other requirements necessary for the Niederlassungserlaubnis is a B1 language certificate and a “Life in Germany” Test (i.e. integration course).  The best part: I now have two years to get those done.  There are hundreds of sites online to help me prep for the tests and I have lived here long enough to have a good base already so it’s literally a matter of simply signing up and taking the tests (which I plan to get done this summer, since summer appears to be when the next dates for testing are available).  Until then, I just wait until my two years are up and then show that I still have health insurance and an unlimited contract with my current employer and I am golden!

What about those of you who have lived in Germany for a while? What have you had to do? What exemptions did you get (if any)?

Until then, just take a moment to appreciate that these requirement that I have to fulfill are brought to you by the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge….or BAMF.

bis nächste Woche!


4 thoughts on “Quick! Renew that Visa!

  1. I am also married to a German, but unlike you (if I understood right you have American passport?) I come from a third world country. It is still in Europe but for German administration it is one completely different story. We got married in my country and than I applied at the Embassy for this so called Familienzusammenführung. Than the German post had their strike and they lost a letter that was sent to my hubby. After a three month waiting they called him and asked why did not he come or answered a letter. He was like what letter? So, he went to the Ausländeramt and this person asked him what do I do for living. He said she is a medical doctor and consultant with 12 year of experience. And then this person asked him did I study smth. My hubby was like noooo she just woke up one morning and decided to be a doctor. I got permit for three years and than, according to them I should get permanent residence here.
    Before I came here I did B2 exam because as a doctor you have get two different work permits so called Berufserlaubnis and Approbation. I had to send like 15 documents to the Government (Regierung) and than you wait. Like forever. But my issue is that my country is not EU member, so I wait. But, in the meantime I improved my cooking skills 🙂
    I am glad I have found you blog, look intresting 🙂 you got yourself a new follower 😉

    1. Hi! I am glad you are enjoying my blog. You are right that I have an American passport and I thank my lucky stars. I understand how you feel, not from my own experience, but from other relatives who are also from third world countries and have tried to come to the States. My cousin was studying to be a doctor when he tried to get a tourist visa to visit the States in order to decide whether or not he wanted to do his specialization there, he was denied simply for being male, in his 20s, and single. It was sooooooooooooooooooooooo frustrating! He wanted to come and learn and he wasn’t allowed to do that because they assumed that he would just stay in the States. I do hope you manage to get through the beaucracy and go back to practicing medicine! I wish you the best of luck!

    1. I took the test not too long ago and you were right, it was no problem! Thanks for the support! Hope you found the post entertaining! 😀

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