Immigrate To Germany from India

Monday, 28 January 2019

FAQ#006 - I have EU Blue Card. Can I work anywhere in EU?
January 28, 2019 59 Comments
Schengen VS EU
Firsly, understanding the difference between EU and Schengen region is most important. The European Union (or EU) comprises of 28 countries, out of which 26 lie in the Schengen Region. Therefore there are only two countries which are a part of EU (European Union) and NOT a part of Schengen Region.

This means - if you have a VISA for any ONE of the 26 countries in the Schengen region, you can TRAVEL to other 25 countries without any specific visa - as long as the VISA is valid. This VISA may be travel visa or work permit or Germany's Job Seeker's VISA or Residence Permit of either of these countries.

Schengen and Blue Card
The concept of Blue Card was coined in 2007 and implemented in 2009, specifically for NON-EU people who are highly skilled. Here, NON-EU people refers to those people who are NOT A CITIZEN of any of these 28 countries in the European Union.
A Blue Card can be issued by any of the Schengen States (except Denmark). Therefore Denmark, Ireland and UK do NOT issue a Blue Card. All the remaining 25 countries can issue a Blue Card to NON-EU CITIZENS, based on their own criteria.

Can I work any in these 25 countries if I have got a blue card?
No. Your Blue card will be issued in one country (where you have got a job). You are restricted to work in the country which issued your blue card. However - you can travel for leisure purposes to other Schengen Countries - there is no restriction in that. For example - If your blue card was issued in Germany, it means you got a highly skilled job in Germany because of which you got a Blue Card. Now - you want to work in Spain, you can't. You have to apply a job separately in Spain and go through their own process of a Blue Card/Work Permit - if you are eligible according to their criteria.
But since your Blue card was issued in Germany, you can travel to spain and even live there (without a job) for a period of a maximum of 1 year.

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Friday, 18 January 2019

FAQ#005 - Flying back and forth to your home country
January 18, 2019 32 Comments
A lot of people often have this question that they have a VISA appointment or their work VISA has been stamped. Is it possible to fly back to your home country after landing in Berlin?

Short Answer - YES, but there is a catch.

Depending on the duration of your work contract, in India - you are usually stamped with a Type-D VISA. Now depending on many factors, you may or may not be eligible for a Blue Card.

If your work contract is less than 1 year - your Type-D VISA will be stamped with the duration of your work contract.
If your work contract is more than 1 year (or unlimited) - your Type-D VISA will be stamped for 3 months and you would  have to apply for a longer duration work permit once you are in Germany (It may be a Blue Card or a Standard Work Permit).

Either case - you are free to travel to any Schengen state and your home country once your VISA/Work Permit/Blue Card is valid.
The only exception to this case is a small window, which goes as follows.

Suppose your Type-D VISA is stamped for 3 months and you applied for a Work Permit in Germany for a longer duration. In very rare cases the Work Permit  or Blue Card may take a lot of time (maybe more than 3 months - but its extremely rare). In such a case - you are still allowed to work in Germany (as you applied for a Work Permit/Blue Card and you would have a receipt or something) as it is a delay from the part of authorities.
You will still be allowed to work in Germany, but when you try to come back - you may run into problems at immigration as your Type-D VISA would be expired and that Blue Card receipt may not carry much value at the time of immigration. So if you ever encounter such a situation - its advisable not to travel in such a case.
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Friday, 24 August 2018

BG#001 - How to prepare to go to Germany - Flights, Currency, Accomodation and Indian stuff?
August 24, 2018 13 Comments
If you are reading this article, it means that you have successfully got your VISA stamped, and you are all set to fly. Well, Congratulations :)

A lot of questions may be going on in your mind, what documents to take, which flight to book, what all do you need, what to take from India etc. We will see everything in detail one by one.

1. Air Tickets: The main concern you have to deal with is to find a suitable date and book air tickets. Go on to any favourite website for flight comparison and check out the flights. Be sure to check how much luggage you are allowed to carry for check-in and also as hand luggage. I would suggest you to buy good quality American Tourister/Samsonite/Skybags travel bags, if you don't already have one. Here are some pointers on what to check in flights.

  • Cabin Luggage: most of the flights have a cabin luggage capacity of 7kgs. Its usually not a problem if it reaches 8 - 8.5 kgs, but it will definitely be a problem if your hand baggage is around 9.5 - 10 kg onwards. If you have a laptop with you, its a good option to carry it separately in hand along with your cabin luggage. Laptop is usually 3-5 kgs, so you can put more stuff in your bag that way. Make sure not to carry any lighters, matches, sprays, power banks or liquids (like expensive perfumes) in your cabin bags.
  • Checkin Luggage: Each airline has a different set of rules for checkin luggage. Some airlines allow a single bag of 30kgs, some allow two bags of 23kgs - it totally depends on your airline. I would suggest to have a look carefully depending on the luggage you are carrying. Most airlines do not allow power banks in checkin baggage as well, so its better not to keep one. You can buy one in Germany, because if it comes under scanner, your checkin luggage may not pass security and your luggage may be left behind or you may end up missing the flight because of un-necessary process. Keep your charger with you, most flights have a USB port, by which you can charge your phone, don't worry about the power banks for now.
  • Stopovers: Depending on which city you are travelling to, there may be a direct flight from India, or a connecting flight. Try to ensure there is no more than 1 layover for a convenient flight. Also check the baggage limits of connecting flight incase they are from different airlines.

2. Currency: The currency here in Germany is Euros (which usually works in most of Europe). It is important to get your currency converted right when in India itself for a better exchange rights. 
  • How much to carry: Most of the Germany is mostly cash oriented, so its better you take more EUROs in cash rather than in travel or forex card. You should have money for at least 1 to 1.5 months. I would suggest taking 1000 - 1200 Euros at least with you. You can split them in 800 Euros in cash and 400 Euros in travel card. Do not take INR to Germany and get that exchanged to Euros. Most of the currency exchanges will not accept INR. Also, ask your bank providing you the travel card to tell you the process of re-loading your travel card online. In case of emergency, you can always load money from India to your travel card.
  • Other currencies: If you have some other popular currency like US/Canadian/Australian Dollars or maybe Pounds, then its  best to take the currency directly to Germany and get the Dollars/Pounds converted directly to Euros for a better exchange rate. I would recommend not to do it on the Germany Airport, but find a place in your city where they do currency exchange. There are plenty, so don't worry about that. You already have 800 Euros in cash so you have a lot of time to find a currency exchange in the city.
  • Extra Tips: If you have a good credit card in India, I would recommend you to ask them to activate international usage on your card. In some cases, when you are short of money and want to save the amount of cash you have, you can use your credit card for small things like paying for meals, groceries and UBER. Using your Indian credit card may be a little expensive - but it may help you in tight situations. It has helped me for sure! A handy tip - link your credit card with Uber App (it will help you in Germany. Believe me)

3. Accommodation: A life threatening question - where you are going to stay? If you have friends or relatives and they allow you to crash at their place while you find an apartment - Perfect! If not, the best option is to book an apartment via Airbnb for at least 1 month, while you search for an apartment. While one month is really short to find an apartment you like, I would actually recommend to book your Airbnb for 2-3 months, if you do not know where you will live. Finding an apartment within your budget and expectations can get really tough. Airbnb may be expensive - but i don't think you have other options if you don't have any friends or family living there.
One very important thing which is needed to survive in Germany is Anmeldung. Anmeldung is a residence registration, which German authorities provide when you submit your proof of residence because they need to know where you are living. You may need this Anmeldung document to show at a lot of different places, so its better you get it done soon.
You currently do not need to know what that is (I will explain in further articles), but for now, just ask your Airbnb host - "I am planning to book your place for 2 months, Is Anmeldung possible for those 2 months?". If they say YES, then book this place right away. It will make your life easier. Believe me.
As for what is Anmeldung, how to get it, why is it required, we will discuss in further articles. For now, just ask this question and book the place where the person says YES!

Now you have booked your tickets, done your Airbnb booking and have got a lot of Euros in your pocket. Time to pack your bags, board the flight and come to Germany!! 
Don't forget to read our next article on what to do after you land in Germany!
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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

EMP#11 - Germany Employment VISA Interview Questions
August 14, 2018 42 Comments

Interviews scare people, and that's pretty much known. While we should not underestimate the value of interviews, but Work Permit interviews are not that scary. There are just two rules:-

1. Don't Lie
2. Have all your documents ready

I had gathered all the documents correctly as per the details I have mentioned in previous articles (Click HERE to revisit). It is necessary to have all the documents ready before you visit the consulate/embassy. 

Process Experience:

My VISA Interview was scheduled around 08:00 in the morning, and I was present outside of the embassy at around 07:30. There were 3-4 other people already standing there and others were also coming as the time passed. I was not carrying any mobile phone, but for people who were, could submit their mobiles at a counter in Delhi Embassy. Car keys, coins, wallet etc were allowed and you could take them inside. This is about Delhi Embassy, and you should check with your respective consulate on whether they have a facility to submit mobile phones or not. Around 07:50, people who had an appointment at 08:00 AM started forming a queue outside the embassy and were called according to the queue. At around 08:10, I was inside, was screened, and was given a counter number. I went to that counter and waited for my name to be called. I greeted the VO (Visa Officer) and she started checking my documents. Whilst checking, we had the following conversation:

VO: So you have got a job by a German Employer or you are going on behalf of their client?
Me: I have got a job by German Employer.

VO: What is your salary?
ME: I told her my gross salary (per year).

VO: How long is your contract for?
ME: It is indefinite/unlimited contract.

VO: Will you apply for a Blue Card there?
ME: Yes, I will

VO: When are you supposed to join there?
ME: Its 16th July.

VO: And when are you planning to travel?
ME: I am planning to travel on 14th of July.
(I planned to board the flight on 14th July, reach on 15th, stay and rest for that day and join on 16th July. You also have to make sure your travel insurance is valid from the day you travel. In my case, travel insurance began at 14th July, as that was the date of beginning of my travel.)

VO: What are these? (Pointing towards my payslips of current company)
ME: These are my payslips from my current company as I don't have an experience letter yet. I am serving my notice period and resigned on XX date (I also showed her a copy of my resignation email).

VO: Don't you have payslips from other employer's too?
ME: I do, but I am not carrying them because 6 years worth of payslips would be a lot. Because of this, I am attaching experience letters from all the previous organisations I have worked for. I attached payslips form current company because I don't have an experience letter yet.
VO: Ok

The VO rearranged the documents in an order and asked me to arrange the other set of same documents in the same order. I did and went back to the counter & VO accepted my documents along with my passport. She gave me a token, which had a reference number and a date (exactly 2 weeks later than the day of appointment).

VO: Here is your token, and you can come on XX date (which was mentioned on the token slip) any time after 02:00PM to collect your passport. If someone else will collect your passport, they have to come with an authorisation letter signed by you, along with their photo identity card.
ME: Thanks. Does it mean my VISA is approved?
VO: Its under process.

I waited for two weeks and reached the embassy again with just my token on the date of appointment. I waited at the gate along with many others who formed a queue outside the embassy gate. We were called one by one, again I was screened and was given a counter number to go to. I went inside, went to that counter number and received my stamped passport. The VISA (type D) was for 3 months (valid form the date of travel, which was asked in the interview) along with a slip which said that I have to report to the registration office for a residence permit. A duration of 3 months is provided for you to report to relevant authorities and get your residence permit or Blue Card - whichever is valid. Along with this, you are authorised to work in Germany, from the day you land.

I will explain the process of getting a blue card and residence permit in further articles. I hope this experience helps!

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Friday, 10 August 2018

EMP#10 - How to make a Cover Letter for Germany Employment VISA Application?
August 10, 2018 29 Comments
A good cover letter is very crucial to your application. As per the Employment VISA checklist, it is mandatory to have a cover letter for your application. It should present all the necessary details in a crisp and concise manner.

A cover letter can be created very easily in any software like Microsoft Word or any other text formatting software that you may have. Make sure the contents are aligned in a similar manner as below:

Application for Work Permit

Section#1 : Introduction
This section should describe a little about what is your occupation, a little about your education and employment history.
I am a XXXXXXXX by profession and have completed my Bachelor's Degree in XXXXXXXXX from XXXXXXXX university in year XXXX. I have X years of experience in my field while working for various XXXXXX (type of company e.g. software) companies. I have recently received a job offer & contract from XXXXX (company name) in Germany and wish to apply for an Employment VISA/Work Permit. 

Section#2 : Job Offer Details

Very specific but important details about your company, job description, role and salary.
I have recently got a job offer and contract from XXXXXX (company name) for the role of XXXXX (your role/job title). My job will be to [a one liner of what you would do at your work exactly]. The city of my work will be XXXX (city name) and my annual gross salary will be (salary as per your job offer) which is a monthly sum of (your monthly gross salary as per your job offer).

Section#3 : Accomodation & Expenses

Write some details about what will be your strategy to live there, how you will survive, where you will live etc. You will anyway have to live somewhere in Germany when you arrive, so it may be a friend's place or an AirBNB accommodation. If you would want to book an Airbnb, have a look at the accommodations you can find for the city you are going to and note down that address (you can book later when your visa is approved). This section may go something like:
I have currently booked a temporary accommodation at XXXXX 45, 10111 Berlin for a period of X months. During my stay here, I will be looking for an apartment for a permanent stay. I am also planning to take with me, XXX Euros in cash and XXX Euros in the form of a travel card to pay for my expenses till the time I receive my salary.

This is all you need for your cover letter. No other unnecessary information is necessary.

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Monday, 9 July 2018

EMP#09 - How to fill annexure for Germany Employment VISA?
July 09, 2018 41 Comments
The annexure for German Employment VISA (or Work Permit) has to be filled with information regarding your employer and your job.
You can download the annexure from this LINK.
Although the Microsoft Word form is pretty much straightforward, but there could be some fields which could be critical. Let us have a look at all of them.

  1. Lived in Germany: Click on YES or NO, if you have lived in Germany before.
  2. Address of Headquarters of the company: You have to mention the name and the address of headquarters in Germany. For big corporate giants, they may have multiple offices, but one of them is the headquarters. Mention that address.
  3. Details of Contact Person: Mention the name of your recruiter/HR and their official phone number in the fields provided.
  4. Actual Place of Work: Mention the city and zip code of the branch in which you will be working (it can be same as headquarters too - if you will be working there)
  5. Type of Work Contract: Click on "NEW".
  6. Duration of Work Contract: If you have an end date to your contract, mention that date. Otherwise you can simply write "indefinite" or "unlimited"
  7. Job Designation: Enter your Job Designation as mentioned in your offer/employment letter e.g. Senior Java Engineer or Senior Platform Specialist etc.
  8. Highest Academic Qualification: Enter the degree and specialization of your highest qualification. (E.g. Bachelors of Technology in Computer Science). Make sure the details match exactly as per your degree. Don't put-in information without validating from your degree/diploma.
  9. Gross Salary Per Year and Month: Enter your salary as per your work contract/employment letter.
  10. Present Employer: Write the complete name of your current employer (if any). Write the name of your previous employer, if you are not currently employed and have left your previous company. If you were not employed before, type "N/A".
  11. Employed Since: Mention the date you were employed on (with your previous employer). It should be present on your offer letter. (Month, Year would also do. e.g. June, 2012)
  12. Residential Address in Germany: If you have not yet decided where you will be staying, mention the address of a hotel by doing a dummy booking. You have to put in the same address wherever the residential address is asked for (Cover Letter, Application form etc.). You can see the process of doing a dummy booking HERE.
NOTE: Please make sure your residential address and your company address are in the same city.

Here is a sample filled-up form for you!

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EMP#08 - How to fill Contact and Legal Representation Information for Germany Work Permit?
July 09, 2018 148 Comments
This is a small form which needs to be filled in order to nominate someone to represent your application (like a consultant). If you do not have a consultant and you are doing the whole application yourself (which you should) - Below are the steps.

1. The Additional Contact and Legal Representation Information form can be downloaded from this LINK (opens in a new page).

2. Two printouts of this page should be filled and submitted. I would recommend taking additional two BLANK copies (which you have not filled) along with you, so that if there is a correction, you can quickly do at the consulate itself and you don't have to take another appointment to re-submit the documents.

3. The top section: Fill in the information AFTER taking a printout with a PEN. You have to fill-in your own details very carefully. Avoid spelling mistakes or typos.

4. In the second half of the form mainly involves the information around your representative. A representative is a person who is filing the application on your behalf. It may be a lawyer, your consultant, your family member. If you are doing the whole process by yourself (which you should be), then write your own information. See the below section for further details. For me, i wrote "SELF" and my own information.

This was a pretty simple form, let's go on to see how to fill the annexure for Employment VISA.
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