Friday, June 17, 2016

German Visa

When I arrived in Germany, I had to go to the Rathaus (city hall) to register myself. There, they gave me a piece of paper that I took to another building called the Ausländerbehörde (Aliens Office) with other documents. There, they asked me to come back in three weeks to collect my residence permit after which I could go to any of the Schengen countries without a visa. And a tiny Sunny Deol voice inside my head shouted, "Tareeq pe tareeq, tareeq pe tareeq" (translated as, appointment after appointment, appointment after appointment, when will I get the permit?). 

My basic impressions of the visa system in Germany- There is a lot of paperwork and going back and forth involved. Even the Ausländerbehörde reminded me more of India- tons of files and paperwork stacked in their office. They actually sent me a letter at home, giving me an appointment date and time (compared to being able to make an appointment online). I have to be patient, knowing that they might ask for hundreds of documents and take weeks, and ask me to come back instead of mailing in my residence permit.

However, I absolutely do not feel uncomfortable, unlike my previous experiences in other countries where the security drove me crazy. No security check, no metal detectors, no one patting you or sniffing you. The officer will actually smile and not keep giving you suspicious glances. Things are more laid back and way more relaxed. 

I would love to know a system where once they see that work or studies is taking you to different countries, you will not need a visa anywhere in the world.

Until then, I love the fact that Germany exempts me from paying my visa fee, saving me some 100 euros every time.  


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