Categories
Blog DEGIS Events

Interview with DEGIS Co-Founder Alex

by Carolina Figueiredo

In this interview with Alex Ruthemeier, the DEGIS co-founder shares his inspiration to start the non-profit organization, its desired impact and the aspirations for the future. 

Can you share what inspired you and the other co-founders of Expatrio to start DEGIS in 2019?

Alex: We are all Germans, but see ourselves as global citizens who have a genuine interest in getting to know other realities and cultures. All of us had very intense and life-changing experiences abroad, which opened our minds to how relevant this cultural exchange is, not only to the individuals who go through them but also to the society that receives and integrates them. This process of integration it’s perhaps one of the biggest challenges for international students, especially considering the level of complexity of the bureaucracy and the scarcity of centralized information for them to adapt and thrive.

So, first, we idealized Expatrio as a one-stop shop for the needed products and services of international students. While building Expatrio, we missed something overarching and social, that would not only enhance the experiences of the Expatrio customers but of every international student who steps into Germany. We were missing community and this sense of belonging, and that’s why we separately dreamed of establishing an association for international students: DEGIS.    

DEGIS stands for “German Association for International Students.” Could you share more about the mission and vision of the organization, and why international students in Germany should join this community?

Alex: We had a sound understanding that the biggest pain for international students in Germany was loneliness, but after we conducted a survey in 2021 we learned that our assumption was, actually, accurate. We could clearly see this during the pandemic, of course, but in general, coming to a new culture can be overwhelming when you don’t have a support system! 

Moved by that and also by the insight of not observing so far any active community that carried the proposal of promoting a broad, diverse and inclusive support for international students, we designed what would be DEGIS. We exist to support every international student to achieve their dreams and goals. These dreams and goals can be about their career, new friends, building a business from scratch…whatever. We want them to believe they can do that. 

Our ambition is to become the largest community for international students in Germany, with City Chapters organizing events in every University City of the country, a strong network of volunteers (of course with globally driven Germans included), besides an impactful and diverse community.

Many international students struggle with adapting to a new culture and making connections in Germany. How does DEGIS help foster sense of community and belonging among international students?

Alex: Besides having an organizational set-up, we want to rely mostly on the power of peer-to-peer support. We identify each other as international students by the struggles we face, of course, but also for the goals we share and how much we can enjoy this journey together. 

The sense of belonging also comes with the realization of how cool it is to have a great time with people you wouldn’t meet anywhere else, coming from different cultures, experiences, and backgrounds. 

In the time since DEGIS was founded, what are, in your opinion, some of the most impactful initiatives or projects that have been undertaken to support international students in Germany?

Alex: In June 2023, we got to organize our largest offline event ever, the ISG Summit. We gathered 100 international students from 20+ nationalities, studying in different cities in Germany, and having a blast! Besides all the fun, we got to put their minds to think together not only about struggles but mostly about solutions, all that nurtured by cool guest speakers. I can’t wait for the next edition!

But I feel, more than anything, our everyday work is the most impactful one. Being there, where the students actually are, and counting on amazing volunteers to welcome them, is the best we can do as a community-centered organization.

What do you think is the role of international students in fostering cultural and economic development in Germany?

Alex: Germany’s historical identity as an immigration society sets the stage for a continued influx of newcomers, a trend projected to intensify due to the country’s growing need for skilled labor and demographic shifts. One key demographic contributing significantly to Germany’s future workforce is international students, who are poised to play a crucial role in the nation’s labor market. Not only are these students well-trained, but they have also taken significant strides in integrating into German culture and society. Recent research indicates that a noteworthy percentage of international students plan to extend their stay beyond a specified period, demonstrating a desire for long-term engagement and contribution (Source: DESTATIS).

As Germany embraces a future with an increasing reliance on international talent, initiatives like DEGIS are crucial. DEGIS, serving as an accompanying buddy system, aims to create a conducive environment for encounters, personal growth, and enjoyment. This initiative recognizes the significance of fostering connections between diverse individuals, acknowledging that these connections can lead to a more vibrant and productive society. By nurturing a sense of community through initiatives like DEGIS, Germany can harness the potential of its diverse population and create a thriving environment that benefits both newcomers and the broader society.

In this context, the importance of migrant student founders cannot be overstated, as highlighted by the Migrant Founders Monitor 2023. These individuals contribute not only to the economic landscape but also bring innovative perspectives, enriching the entrepreneurial ecosystem. As Germany positions itself as a hub for global talent, initiatives like DEGIS, combined with the entrepreneurial spirit of migrant student founders, are poised to shape a dynamic and inclusive future for the nation.

Can you provide some tips or advice for international students who are just starting their journey in Germany and may feel overwhelmed?

Alex: Join DEGIS! But seriously, we know how challenging it can be, and being alone just makes it worse. So finding a support system of like-minded people makes all the difference when we want to ease our struggles and find ways of integrating. 

You can join whatever you like, from a group of people coming from your own country to sports classes, meditation groups…but if you would like to experience an environment where you will be both welcomed and challenged to innovate, DEGIS is here for you. Oh, and we also have tons of fun together!

Looking ahead, how do you see the DEGIS community in the future? What can be reached and achieved?

Alex: DEGIS has some cool plans for the future. First off, we want every international student to join us actively. We’re all about building a community vibe, with mentorship programs, cultural bashes, and support any dream and goal of our members.

But that’s not all – DEGIS is thinking big! We want to set up a Chapter in every city, creating local hangouts for international students. These city chapters will be like chill spots, offering support, organizing awesome events, and just being there for students in different regions. It’s all about making DEGIS feel like a home away from home, no matter where you are in Germany. We want to keep planning regular get-togethers, both local and nationwide, where international students can mix and mingle. DEGIS wants to bridge the gap between students and the rest of Germany, making sure everyone’s on the same wavelength.

DEGIS co-founder Alex Ruthemeier

Oh, and DEGIS isn’t just about the good times; we’ve got serious goals too. We want to be the voice of international students, making sure their opinions count. Plus, we’re all about making Germany a long-term home for international students. We’re cooking up plans to help students blend into the local scene, and maybe even start their own businesses. Who knows, maybe the next big startup will be born out of DEGIS! It’s all about making the international student experience in Germany not just successful but also a whole lot of fun.

Alex’s journey began with a work abroad program in Singapore, which ignited his passion for promoting entrepreneurship and facilitating migration. He co-founded Expatrio and subsequently DEGIS. Today, he serves as DEGIS Managing Director, steering the organization toward its goals.

Categories
Blog Favorites Finances Living in Germany

Learn from My Mistakes

by Tonya

Nobody likes to make mistakes. Especially not when you have just moved to a new country and started university. The language barrier, culture shock, bureaucracy… And I’m just a girl in her early 20s!

That’s what I thought to myself when I came to Germany a year ago. Now I’m in my second year of studies and have finally made at least some sense of how life in Germany works. So it’s time I share some of my findings and hopefully make the lives of some of you a bit easier!

Here are 5 mistakes I have made as an international student in Germany:

Mistake 1: Overestimating my German

Even though I did already have B1 once I came to Germany, I still wish I would have taken a German speaker with me to open a bank account and help me with city registration. You can never be too cautious about understanding all the details when it comes to something so important.

Mistake 2: Not Signing Up for a Buddy Program

Most universities have “Buddy Program”, which I unfortunately didn’t take seriously. A buddy is a person who has been studying at your university for quite some time and who volunteered to help newcomers, like you and I, get accustomed to the campus, the city, and even the country itself. So don’t miss out on this opportunity to have an experienced person to show you around.

Mistake 3: Overpaying for Groceries

I wish I had someone explain to me how big of a difference shops can make when it comes to the prices for the same items. I used to shop at Rewe, since it was the closest to where I live, but how big was my surprise when I saw the prices at Aldi and then Netto! My advice is, check different stores and their price-variety-quality combo before setting your heart on one store.

Mistake 4: Not Paying Radio Tax

Apparently, in Germany, you have to pay Rundfunkbeitrag whether you use German radio and TV or not. This is pretty complicated, but I was lucky I live in the dormitory, and we can divide the cost between multiple people since we share the same address.

Mistake 5: Overestimating my Independence

I am the kind of person, who always thinks they are the strongest and life changes don’t affect them that much. But only now, a year into my journey, have I started to realize just how big of a change moving abroad and being completely on your own is. A reminder for every overachiever out there, it is ok to need some time off for yourself. It is ok to need emotional support. By the way, some universities provide psychological help to students for free, so check that out! And that is why communities like DEGIS can be a way to help. You can connect with other internationals who experience the same struggles as you do, which leaves you feeling less alone.

I am sure that in a year from now, I will have more mistakes I am currently making! But for now, I really hope this list helps. I talk more about my experiences studying in Germany on my socials, so feel free to follow and learn with me.

Tonya is an international student and influencer from Belarus. She moved to Germany to pursue a higher education, the experience of which she talks about on her Instagram channel @gravity_tonya

Categories
Career

Labour Law for Midi-Jobbers in Germany

by Jibran Shahid

“Gleitzone”, also known as midi job, is a widely utilized employment arrangement in Germany. This concept was introduced by the German federal government in 2003 to address the potential disadvantages faced by individuals who earn slightly more than the threshold for insurance-free mini-jobs. This blog post will guide you through the intricacies of midi jobs in Germany, providing all the information you need to know.

What are midi jobs?

Midi job denotes a form of marginal work that serves as a kind of transitional area. In other words, increasing social contribution obligations and variable Steuersatz (tax rates). The salary package for a midi jobber usually ranges from €520.01 to €2,000.00.

The term “Gleitzone” directly correlates with the sliding contribution scale applied to this specific type of employment. Under this arrangement, employees contribute a modest portion of their earnings to the social security system.

One significant advantage of Midi-Jobs is that they come with comprehensive coverage for health insurance, sick leave, unemployment benefits, and pension plans. However, when the monthly salary surpasses €909, employees must cover the entire social insurance amount.

In addition, reduced employee contributions are paid up to the amount of the upper limit of the permitted earnings. This prevents lower Rentenleistungen (pension benefits) from being the result of reduced pension contributions. However, income and payroll tax (Lohnsteuer and Einkommensteuer) must be paid.

Who can work as a midi jobber?

In general, midi jobs are open to anyone who is legally authorized to work in Germany – this includes international students.

However, you will need to ensure the hours worked do not conflict with your student visa restrictions. Keep in mind, that according to student visa requirements, no more than 120 full or 240 half days may be worked in a calendar year. By working illegally, many foreigners end up violating them. Workers can also be occasionally deported if they break the law, don’t pay taxes, or don’t have the proper paperwork for their employment. It is important to note though that the employer is also responsible for adhering to the law. 

What are the differences between a mini and a midi job?

You might wonder if the mini-job and midi-job are the same. Here are the differences:

Mini Job
  • Monthly salary cannot exceed
    €520
  • Net Salary is equal to Gross Salary
  • Mini-jobbers are exempted from contributing to social security. They are also exempted from paying for
    long-term care and unemployment insurance. On request, you can also be
    exempted from the pension insurance. You have the same labor rights as other employees if you work a mini-job.
Midi Job
  • Monthly salary: €520.01-2,000.00 
  • Net Salary is equal to Gross Salary after deducting social contributions
  • A midi-job is subject to social security contributions as compared to a mini-job. Those with midi-jobs contribute less to pension, health, nursing, and unemployment insurance. So, midi-jobbers, too, have a right to pension protection.
What are the advantages of midi jobs?
  1. You’ll contribute less to Social Security as a midi jobber while still receiving your full pension.
  2. Midi-jobber income tax is only payable in certain circumstances. If you only have a midi job and fall into tax categories 1, 2, or 4, you will not have to pay income tax if your annual income does not exceed €10,908 per year (as per 2023). Regardless of what income you generate, if it’s your only job, you won’t pay any taxes if you’re in the tax bracket.
  3. You’ll immediately fall into tax bracket 6 if it’s your second job. You’ll pay income tax accordingly, with any other circumstances that place you in tax brackets 5 or 6. 
  4. You still have full coverage and pay less for health and long-term care insurance. Even if you pay a lower unemployment insurance rate, you’ll still receive 60% of your average net earnings for the previous 12 months (or 67% if you have children) if you’ve worked at a regular job for at least 12 months in a row.
How do I get a midi job in Germany?

Finding a decent midi job in Germany might seem like a task, but here’s what you can do to ease your search. First and foremost, the best platform for finding good jobs is LinkedIn. It is one of the best sources available and can help you get a midi job.

Secondly, if you are a student visiting on a student visa, you can check your university’s student union and get your hands on a midi job that pays a modest amount. 

Lastly, if you belong to the working adult class, you can watch for local postings using regional forums, as they are a great resource and come in handy.

Conclusion

In short, midi jobs are a middle way between working a full-time and mini job. The only difference that appears is the tax and social contribution fee between the two kinds of employment. Midi jobbers have an increased financial freedom compared to mini jobbers, so getting one might be a great opportunity for international students.

Jibran Shahid is from Pakistan. He came to Germany to pursue a Master’s degree in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management, which he successfully completed in 2016. In 2022, he founded Live In Germany, an information platform for expats in Germany.

Categories
Career

The Future of Jobs in Germany

by Aarushi Goel

Hunting for a job as an international student in Germany might seem like an endless challenge. Generally, it can take anywhere from six months to a year to land that perfect job where you can excel and grow. Sometimes, even securing an interview can take just as long. Nevertheless, the attractive labor laws and perks of working in Germany serve as powerful incentives for current students seeking employment – whether it’s a part-time gig during their studies or the first step in their post-graduation career journey.

The landscape of employment in Germany is evolving rapidly. With advancements in technology, changing consumer behavior, and global economic shifts, the job market in Germany is experiencing significant transformation. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the top working fields that are currently thriving in Germany and provide promising opportunities for beginners to intermediate job seekers in 2024.

1. Technology

Unsurprisingly, the IT and software development sector continues to thrive in Germany. As the world becomes increasingly digital, companies across industries are seeking IT professionals to develop, maintain, and optimize their technological infrastructure. From junior programmers to software engineers, opportunities abound for those with the right skill set. Here are some sub-sectors that may be particularly interesting: 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

As AI and machine learning technologies continue to advance, professionals in this sector are in high demand. Roles such as data scientists, AI engineers, and machine learning specialists are essential for companies looking to harness the power of AI for business growth.

E-Commerce and Digital Marketing

The rise of e-commerce and online business models has led to an increased need for digital marketing experts. From social media managers to e-commerce strategists, companies are seeking individuals who can effectively navigate the digital landscape and drive online sales. 

Cybersecurity

With the increasing frequency of cyber threats, the demand for cybersecurity experts is soaring. Beginner-level roles in cybersecurity operations, risk assessment, and network security provide a foot in the door for those interested in this vital field.

FinTech

Germany’s financial sector is experiencing a wave of innovation through FinTech startups. As these companies disrupt traditional banking and finance, they offer numerous job opportunities, including roles in digital payments, financial analysis, and blockchain technology.

2. Sustainability

Climate change requires all of us to be more sustainable. This applies not only to individuals but to companies across all industries. As such this working field requires more specialized employees. The two sub-sectors that will be of particular interest are: 

Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability

Germany’s commitment to renewable energy and environmental sustainability has created a surge in demand for professionals in this sector. From solar and wind energy technicians to sustainability consultants, this field offers not only fulfilling work but also a chance to contribute to a greener future.

E-Mobility and Automotive Technology

The automotive industry is undergoing a significant shift towards electric mobility. This transition has created openings for individuals with skills in electric vehicle technology, battery engineering, and infrastructure development.

3. Health Care

Today, more than a quarter of people in Germany are aged 60 and over. By 2050, this figure will already have risen to more than a third, thus increasing the demands of the ongoing healthcare advancements. This makes the healthcare sector a stable source of employment. Opportunities range from nursing and caregiving roles to positions in medical technology, data analysis, and telemedicine. A related and equally important field will also likely see an increase in workforce demand: 

Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals

Germany’s strong biotech and pharmaceutical sectors continue to thrive, offering opportunities for research assistants, laboratory technicians, and regulatory affairs specialists.

Within Germany, the job market is a dynamic realm brimming with possibilities for both entry-level and mid-level job seekers. Yet, it’s essential for aspiring job hunters to embrace the competitive nature and multifaceted selection process. Adapting to evolving strategies, resume formats, and application platforms is the key. Equally important is the cultivation of a strong professional network and a willingness to embrace all potential opportunities that come one’s way.

The insights in this blog are based on information from the World Economic Forum’s article on essential future work skills.

Aarushi Goel is Head of Network at DEGIS. She is from India and decided to pursue a Master’s degree in mathematics in Germany. 

Categories
DEGIS Events

2023 International Students in Germany Summit

by Sohila Ahmed

Last month I had the opportunity to participate in a truly inspiring and uplifting networking event, specifically designed for international students. The International Students in Germany Summit (ISGS) was held in the bustling city of Berlin from the 16th to the 18th of July 2023, where I got to meet other international students from all over Germany, all of us sharing the same struggles, regardless of our diverse backgrounds. Throughout the three-day event, I got to hear personal accounts from international professionals, was moved by their challenges, and was in awe of their success. Furthermore, I participated in multiple workshops designed to enhance the lives of international students in Germany.

I personally had not heard of either DEGIS or the ISG Summit before this event, but spoilers I was pleasantly surprised! In this post, I would like to share with you a little more detail about what went on at the summit.

Day 1:

I was super excited to see what the German Association for International Students (DEGIS) had planned for us at the ISG. We were advised to store our bags at the venue, so we can all leave to our respective hostels at the end of the day. I guess it’s not too late to mention that accommodation was included in the ticket price for those not living in Berlin. After enjoying a cup of coffee and getting to know some of the other students, it was time to meet our humble and unique host of the event, Liam Carpenter

At 14.00, we had our first keynote speaker Mikalai Vincheuski, who gave us a brief insight into his journey and the forthcoming opportunities for international students.

Afterward, all 100 of us were divided into groups for a workshop about “The International Student Dream Journey”, where we had to decide what we believe is the optimum scenario for an international student coming to Germany.

At around 16.30 we had our second guest speaker, entrepreneur Ana Alvarez, who shared with us personal stories about the challenges she overcame coming here and gave us some pointers to help us overcome some of our challenges; the highlight was that I got to know about the community and the various opportunities offered by Migrapreneur.

DEGIS Team & Day 1 Speakers

After an exhausting first day, we got our room keys and started heading to our hostels; tired but looking forward to the next day.

Day 2:

After Liam introduced the agenda of the day, the team from DEGIS also prepared a small yet very interesting fair, where representatives from different organizations targeting internationals were present and ready to educate us about the various opportunities they offer. I personally wish there had been more companies, but maybe there will be in the coming years when the summit is even bigger!

After lunch, we enjoyed listening to our guest speaker, Jonathan Becker, and at 14.30 we started the next phase of our workshop from day 1. During the workshop, as a team, we had to come up with a solution to help make the “student dream journey” a reality. However, the challenge was that after coming up with the solution, we had to find a way to present it as a team on the 3rd day of the summit, while competing against all other teams. It was even harder to let go of a heated brainstorming session to join the rest of the delegates for our last keynote speaker of the day, Ximena Docarmo, who spoke about her journey into politics and how international students interested in politics can follow a similar path.

At the end of a long day, I couldn’t wait to explore Berlin with whom I can proudly call my new friends, thanks to the ISG Summit. 

Day 3:

The atmosphere was a bit tense on the 3rd and last day of the event. Everyone was rushing to finish their presentations, adding the final touches here and there, and in my case, discovering that the presentation couldn’t be downloaded a few minutes before the submission deadline. Fortunately, the DEGIS team was sweet enough to let one of our team members use her personal laptop for the presentation.

Furthermore, we had our last keynote speaker for the event, Thamires Herzing, a business development and founding member at Match Talent, who was also one of the judges of the workshop’s final presentation. After lunch, the winning team was announced, and so concluded the ISG Summit 2023.

The ISG summit was simply incredible. The energy, the people, and Berlin, of course, everything came together to create this vibrant atmosphere full of love, motivation, and support over a 3 day weekend that I will always remember fondly. I got to meet people I probably never would have been so lucky to meet otherwise (in lesser words, Liam), and made new friendships that felt more like meeting old friends after a long time.

In the end, I would like to thank the very welcoming community of DEGIS and can only say the ISG Summit is well worth it for any international student who might feel like they don’t belong or is feeling overwhelmed with life in Germany and in need of a glimmer of hope to keep going.

Sohila Ahmed is from Egypt. In Germany, she received her Master’s degree in International Management, Marketing & Entrepreneurship from Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg. 

Categories
Career

Tips for a Succesful Career in Saxony

by Pranavi Sai

Over the past few years, there has been a decline in the working-age population in Germany. With the skilled working force – particularly the baby boomers – starting to retire, the country is in need of people who can replace them with either higher level or mirrored skill sets.

The repercussions of the reduced workforce can lead to increased participation of older workers, not having enough time to upskill, and increased responsibilities on the existing workers, to name a few. Hence, Germany is always on the lookout for new measures to increase the number of skilled workers within the country through various means.

Government Initiatives

There are government-run programs like Make it in Germany which is an online platform providing information to international talents interested in coming to Germany on a job opportunities, demanded skill sets, visa requirements, practical tips on living in Germany and similar others.

Another well-known project is the Hand in Hand for International Talents which focuses on employing foreign talents from countries like Brazil, India, and Vietnam in small and medium-sized companies in Germany. The project takes care of the complete coordination between the companies and the talents including a selection of suitable candidates, the matching process, initiation, and support throughout the professional recognition process, arrangement of the German language courses to assist with visa and entry.

Community Initiatives

We then have communities like IAD (Indian Association Dresden), which help their respective country nationals coming to Germany, particularly to Dresden, with comfortable moving, familiarizing them with the city, and its culture, connecting them with another fellow country nationals to build their social network and arrange various events to keep the cultural spark alive. 

DEGIS (The German Association of International Students) is another great example that works in the capacity of an NGO connecting international students from all over Germany and offering them space to discuss different aspects of a community like politics, society, business, technology, education, and by organizing events, network parties, seminars, and receptions for them. They also arrange workshops that help these students navigate through day-to-day life and unemployment in Germany.

Company Initiatives

Last but not least, companies like intap network provide an all-rounded approach to above-mentioned initiatives by connecting highly qualified international talents with the local industry in Saxony. It does it through its unconventional and varied networking and recruiting event formats (both in-person and virtual) that enable the companies and the talents to network in a comfortable environment. It also conducts regular workshops and coaching sessions for talents helping them acquaint themselves with the local industry and job market in Saxony. This eventually helps talents prepare themselves better for the job market.

It is generally not easy for any international to sail through life in a different country. But initiatives, programs/projects, and companies like these aim to make it easy and slowly bring a sense of belonging after the transition.

Pranavi Sai is from India. She is pursuing her Master’s degree in Distributed Systems Engineering at TU Dresden. Furthermore, she is employed as a working student at intap network.

Categories
Living in Germany Visa

Address Basics and Anmeldung

by Anurag Bhattacharjee

Germany is notorious for its neverending bureaucracy – any international student going through the visa procedures knows that struggle by heart. The German bureaucracy mainly relies on letters and if it’s a letter from the Ausländerbehörde or the tax office you don’t want to miss it, do you? So let’s go over some basics surrounding your residential address and the registration (Anmeldung). 

1. Address Format

Every country uses a different format for addresses. Therefore, I’ll lay out Germany’s format for you. This way your letters arrive at the intended recipient. 

Name of Recipient

If the letter is adressed to a specific person (e.g. Maxine Mustermann) you can write it in the second line

Streetname and -number (make sure to adhere to this order)

Zip Code and City Name

Ausländerbehörde

z. Hdn. Maxine Mustermann 

Examplealley 44

12345 Examplecity

Should you write a letter to someone outside of Germany, add state and country underneath the zip code and city name. 

The addresses should be written on the letters like this: 

Orjan Menschli

Examplestreet 13

67890 Exampleton

Stamp

Ausländerbehörde

z. Hdn. Maxine Mustermann 

Examplealley 44

12345 Examplecity

2. Anmeldung

So you signed your rental contract, you know how to format letters and now comes the city registration (Anmeldung). After you’ve received your rental contract, your landlord will issue a proof of residence certificate (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung / Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung). With this document you can go to the citizen’s centre (Bürgeramt). 

All residents in Germany, including German nationals, must register (“Anmeldung”) their address within two weeks of moving into an apartment at Bürgeramt. Without it you won’t be able to get an internet or phone contract, a bank account, your tax ID, or your residence permit.

Next to the Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung from your landlord you will need the following documents for your Anmeldung: 

  • Your Passport
  • Completed and Signed Registration Form (check with Bürgeramt)
  • Temporary Visa or Residence Permit (if applicable)
  • Marriage Certificates and Documents of Spouse (if applicable)

The mandatory radio fee (Rundfunkgebühr) is also linked to your residential address, so you will likely receive a letter from the Deutschlandradio/ARD/ZDF office about a month or two after your city registration date.

For more information around the Anmeldung you can also check the DEGIS Starterpack. 

Anurag Bhattacharjee (he/him) is a Master’s student at Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg. He was the City Chapter president at DEGIS Magdeburg and is a DEGIS alumnus. 

Categories
Favorites Living in Germany Visa

Extending your Residence Permit

by Anurag Bhattacharjee

Let’s begin with the obvious. The application to extend your residence permit needs to be submitted before your visa expires. Ideally, the required documents are sent to the Ausländerbehörde (eng. “Foreigner’s Office”) about a month before expiration. Here you can find a list of the documents you will need to send in: 

  1. Existing Visa Stamp Page
  2. One Biometric Photo (detailed requirements here)
  3. Blocked Account Confirmation or Declaration Page for one year
  4. Proof of City Registration (Anmeldung)
  5. University Enrollment Document
  6. Course History Certificate (only applicable in some cases)
  7. Correctly Completed Application for Extension of Residence Permit
  8. Passport Front & Back Pages Signed Copy
  9. Rental Contract (needs to show signature of all parties)
  10. Health Insurance Certificate (needs to show insurance starting date and social security number)

After sending these documents to the respective city’s Ausländerbehörde, one can expect a response within 7-15 working days depending upon the city’s population and whether any documents are still missing. After successful verification of all documents, the Ausländerbehörde will schedule you in for an appointment in their office. There they will record your biometrics, signature and verify your passport. You will also need these following things for the appointment: 

  1. Email with Appointment Confirmation
  2. Passport
  3. One Biometric Picture
  4. Cash or Giro Card

After your appointment, you’ll receive letters from the city’s Ausländerbehörde within a few weeks. These letters will provide details about when to collect your residence permit card and include a virtual residence permit letter with two confidential pin-codes. Be sure to treat the virtual residence permit letter with extreme caution, as it’s highly confidential. In the meantime, your appointment letter for residence permit card collection serves as a temporary permit to stay in Germany if your visa has expired.

On the day of your card collection appointment, visit the Ausländerbehörde at the scheduled time with your passport and the appointment letter. Authorized officials will verify the letter, process your original passport, and request some declarations. Once this is complete, they will issue your new residence permit card, along with declaration letters in case of card loss, and associated work permit letters.

It’s a bit of a lengthy and slightly complicated process but once it’s done, you’re once again set and ready to enjoy your time in Germany!

Anurag Bhattacharjee (he/him) is a Master’s student at Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg. He was the City Chapter president at DEGIS Magdeburg and is a DEGIS alumnus.