How to get a Working Holiday Visa in Berlin

18 Jan

This is how I (An Australian citizen) recently received a working holiday visa/residence permit for Germany in Berlin in 2015.

I couldn’t find a recent account of this process on the internet so I hope that someone finds this post and appreciates my personal account of this process.

If you live near a German embassy in Australia I strongly recommend you apply for the visa before coming to Germany.

Step 1: Find a place to live.

I moved into a shared apartment (Wohngemeinschaft) which i found on the above website. There is also a Facebook group called Berlin Startups Flats & Flashares which can also be a good resource.

It took me just under 2 weeks from arriving in Berlin to secure a room and move in.

Ensure the person you are moving in with is a registered resident of Berlin.


Wohnung im Berlin.

Step 2: Registration

In order to apply for the working holiday visa, set up a bank account, get a tax file number and other things such as enter into a contract for a mobile phone service you will need to be a registered resident of Berlin.

I printed the Anmeldung application form from the internet, had my roommate sign and date at the bottom of the form and then I went to the Bürgeramt in Kreuzberg at Yorckstraße 4-11. I got there at 8am (opening time) and waited in line for about an hour to receive a waiting number.
I then sat in the waiting area for about another hour in order to speak to someone about registering. From my experience the two people I spoke with at the Bürgeramt spoke English but some do not so ensure you have all the paper work or take someone with you who speaks German.

After about 10 minutes i left the Bürgeramt as a registered resident of Berlin. They are posting my tax file number to my address in the next 2-3 weeks.

Step 3: Residence Permit/Visa

I printed the form “Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels” (Application for Issuance of a Residence Permit) off the internet and ensured I had all the required documentation. Be sure your Bank Statement states your full name and your travel insurance states that it covers expatriation.

You can book an appointment online but they are often booked out for 6 or more weeks. Since an application for a visa does not extend the 90 day Schengen rule for Australian citizens I opted for the walk in option.

I went to the Ausländerbehörde (Berlin Foreigners Registration Office) at 9am on a Thursday. They open at 10am so I stood outside in the cold for an hour with a lot of other people. Closer to 10am rude people just skip the whole queue and basically it was every man for themselves to get into this building haha.
Australians need to line up out the front of Haus C and then go to Etage 1 (1st Floor) and take the first left. I then received a waiting number and sat in Warteraum C 31 until my number came up on the screen. My number came up just after 12 so be sure to take a good book and snacks with you. From my experience very few people at the Ausländerbehörde speak English so it’s best to be over prepared or take someone with you who speaks German.
I simply explained what I was applying for and gave the lady all my documentation. She said that my waiting number would appear on the screen when the application had been processed. After another hour and a half waiting my number appeared and I was given back my passport with the German residence permit/working holiday visa.
You receive an electronic card in order to pay the fee at a machine in the building. My fee was 50 euro and I left at 2pm visa in hand feeling on top of the world!

My advice is do your research, ensure you have all the required documentation, be patient and don’t give up.
If you have any questions for me about this please ask away and I’ll do my best.


2 Responses to “How to get a Working Holiday Visa in Berlin”

  1. adam February 27, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    your info was incredibly Helpful!
    I am heading to Berlin in about a month, I want to just get the visa and then continue to travel for a few months before settling somewhere and working. So getting a permanent address right away wasn’t ideal… I was just wondering, when looking for a place so i can get the residence permit, do i just need an address and a signature from the owner/Housemate? Could I just rent a place for a few weeks while I get the visa then Leave?
    What are the minimum requirements?

    Thanks for the help.

    • holdingthismoment February 28, 2015 at 9:16 am #

      Hi Adam,
      I’m glad you found my post helpful.
      In order to register at the Bürgeramt you should be fine with listing an address in Berlin and having the main tenant sign your application form at the bottom. The person who signs the document needs to be registered at that address.
      You could rent a room for a short duration while sorting out the residence permit/visa but they will post important mail (your German Tax File Number) to that address so if you do go off traveling make sure you are able to collect this mail from your registered address once you are back in Berlin.
      The requirements for the German Residence Permit/Working Holiday Visa are:
      1) Registered Resident of Berlin
      2) Aged between 18-30
      3) Valid passport
      4) Current biometric photo
      5) Travel insurance valid in Germany for 1 year (the confirmation stating your name and details of what is covered with the insurance)
      6) Recent bank statement with full name and at least 2,000 euros
      7) The form “Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels”.
      Let me know if you have any more questions, I’m happy to help!

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