The Ausländerbehörde office opens at 8:00 a.m. Tobias and I headed over there early, hoping we wouldn’t have to wait so long, and got our ticket at exactly 8:02. And we were number 35. Obviously, people had gotten there much earlier to stand in line. Crazy.
We left to go get some breakfast at a lovely little café that made hearts in our lattes. (I wish I could get the hang of that! I’ve tried, but there’s only so much a microwave and a handheld milk foamer can do!)
We came back to the immigration office around 9:00 a.m. They were only on number 12 at that point. Oy. We spent a total of 4 hours there, as our number didn’t get called until noon. We rejoiced when our number 35 appeared on the screen and went back to our assigned office. The lady there was constantly being interrupted by her colleague, who was answering questions from people on the phone, and who very obviously had no clue what he was doing. No wonder things were taking so long.
I showed her my documents and the list that the previous advisor had printed out for me. She then told me that her colleague was wrong, and had given me information as if I were a student, and there are different requirements for freelance workers. And because I’m poor (living in France really broke the bank last year), Tobias has to bring in all sorts of documents that prove he can support me in case I can’t provide for myself. That’s quite a commitment on his part, and I really appreciate everything he’s been doing to help me out. But then we had another question to which she did not know the answer, and she had to go ask her colleague.
This experience makes me more hesitant to give any real advice to others who are looking for visa information in Germany. Because in the end, immigration officers are human beings and they don’t know everything. To err is human. They don’t always know all the rules, and sometimes will give you wrong information. If it doesn’t work, go back again. Someone will likely tell you something different. And eventually it will work.
At least we got more information out of that 4-hour wait, and I’m a little bit closer to getting my visa. I just hope we aren’t given another different set of information when we go the next time. Now the most important thing is to get my health insurance taken care of (also necessary for the visa), and let me tell you – that is no easy feat.