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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My German Visa Journey: Language Course Visa

German visa requirements

I submitted the application for my German visa! I am applying for a language course visa since I need to pass a fluency test before I can apply for my Master's.

Here were my German visa requirements:

  • Passport
Since I studied abroad here in 2011, I am already in the German system, which made everything a little easier.
  • Health Insurance
I did a lot of research online about this, because I wasn't sure if they would accept my American health insurance. I am on my parents' Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan. Since I really didn't want to have to pay an extra $50/mo for German health insurance that didn't even cover my medicine and supplies for diabetes (private health insurance won't cover a pre-existing condition), I decided to try to get my U.S. health insurance to count for the German visa. So I emailed my health insurance company asking for a letter of verification that I am covered while living abroad. They mailed this letter to my parents' house, who then scanned and emailed it to me. I provided this letter along with an overview of my coverage. I turned this in, the man read it (it was in English) and he said, "Sounds good!" (except in German, of course).
  • Proof of Finances
This is the most important thing to the German government. In fact, when I first went to the foreigners office to get the forms to fill out, the first question they asked was if I have enough money. To prove that one has enough money, you have to either put a lot of money in a locked German bank account (no, thank you) or get a German citizen to vouch for you. Luckily, Marco agreed to do the latter. This is called a "Verplichtungserklärung." Marco had to provide copies of his ID or passport, apartment lease, last 3 paystubs, and work contract. His monthly income, minus his monthly rent, had to be over 1,200 Euro. To get this form approved, I had to also pay a 25 Euro fee.
  • Letter from VHS
I also had to show a letter from the VHS, the Volkshochschule, where I have signed up for a German course. When I signed up for the class, they provided this letter. Since the class is only through January, I also printed out a webpage from the university's website, stating that the DSH test (which I need to pass to apply for my Masters) is in March 2014. They accepted this and my visa will be good until March 31, 2014.
  • Fees
Of course I also had to pay some fees. Since my visa is for 6 months, I had to pay 100 Euro (if it is less than 6 months, you pay less and get a sticker in your passport). I will get an ID card with an electronic identification chip in it that stores my fingerprints, picture, and other info. I also had to pay 25 Euro to submit the Verplichtungserklärung (see "Proof of Finances" above). So it was 125 Euro in total.

I entered Germany on July 24, so I had until October 24th before my tourist visa ran out. I submitted my stuff about 6 weeks before that, which they said was more than enough time for processing. I should receive a letter in the mail in about 3 weeks that will tell me to go pick up my visa at the foreigner's office. Hopefully everything goes though!

After turning in my German visa application
Happy after turning in my application

Have you applied for a German visa before, or are you thinking about applying? I'd love to hear some other stories as I sit around nervously waiting for mine!

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