Posts tagged Germany
My girlfriend Catalina is from Colombia (nah, that’s not her on the photo). We have been in a long distance relationship for the last 18 months and - oh lord - ldr sucks! I committed because I love her and I knew that eventually she would come to Europe and we would be together.
Before we could be together there was a minor issue to be solved, the visa. Since Colombia is not part of the most-wanted immigrating nationalities in Germany, this looked like a fun bureaucratic project. There were three options:
1. Student / Language course visa.
Pros: comparably little paper work. Cons: Language course or studies need to be setup before, including financial commitment to either one. No work possible during stay. Max. duration 12 months.
2. Au-Pair visa.
Pros: little paper work. Cons: No real interest to do au pair. Limited options to work.
3. THE ARTIST FREELANCE VISA!
A friend of mine from Canada, Aycha, told me that she got her visa through a woman, Steffi, who is specialized in getting visa for artists. The best of all: It allows the holder to work as a freelancer! The service is straight forward and the price (750 EUR) seemed ok.
So I got in touch with Steffi and we hired her.
Happy Ending: Steffi guided us through the process very smoothly and everything worked out as planned. Catalina just got her visa and is coming to Europe in a few weeks!
There are a few questions we had before we started with Steffi, which I have put together and answered below.
If you consider moving to Germany / Europe and would like to work here, get in touch with me. I am happy to introduce you to Steffi and help with the visa!
Steffi runs a Berlin based agency that specializes in getting freelance visa for international artists. In the last years she organized visa for dozens of artists from all over the world.
She is spezialized in getting the so-called freelance visa for artists. The german immigrant law has very strict rules for most professionals trying to come and work in Germany, except for artists / freelancers. While for other professions the approval process of foreign certificates is very tediuos, for artists / freelancers it is not. The reason is simply because the formation of an artist is not as linear and formalized as other professions and thus it does not require an official certificate. Another reason is that the freelancer status is non-threatening for german authorities since the immigrating freelancer will not take any jobs from germans. In almost all cases the freelancer working and living in Germany will generate income and pay taxes in Germany.
For how long can I stay with a Freelance Visa?
Your visa will be granted for 12 months. After those twelve months the visa is easily renewable and will be extended for another two years.
What can I do with a Freelance Visa?
As a freelancer you will be able to offer your services to any kind of company that accepts invoices. Freelance work is most common in areas such as programming, design, consulting. Opposed to a normal employment you will need to cover your health insurance yourself (Steffi will advise you on which one is the best) and income tax is not automatically deducted every month but once a year (Steffi will assist you with this at the end of the first year of your visa).
Basically as a freelancer you can work for any given company in a very similar way as an employee, you just need to invoice the company instead of getting a salary.
Do I need to be an Artist?
No. Steffi specializes in visa for artists but you don’t need to be a professional artist to work with her. She will need to prepare your application in an artistic way so every bit in your personal history that has an artistic touch, everything that could be related to you being an artist helps a lot. If you really have no artistic roots, she is also capable of guiding you through the process of applying for different visa (e.g. language course, au-pair).
Where can I live and work with this Visa?
The visa will be issued in Berlin, Germany. The visa is National visa that allows you to live and work in Germany. BUT: In order to comply with these rules, you need to officially spend 180 days of the year in Germany. Since there are no boarder controls within Schengen states, this is hard to control for the authorities so basically it gives you the possibility to live anywhere within the Schengen states, as long as you stay registered in Germany.
For your work live it is even easier: Since as a freelancer you might be working for foreign companies but can do your work remotely in many cases (programmers, designers) the mere fact that you are working for a foreign company is not enough to prove that you don’t reside in Germany. Just for work relationships where on-site presence is required it is important that the amount of work days doesn’t exceed 180.
So basically the visa gives you the freedom to live and work wherever you want within the Schengen states, without being an official Schengen visa.
How much does the Visa cost?
Steffi charges a fee of 750,00 EUR for our services. Here is her service in detail:
Advice for preparation of the required papers for a work permit (1 year) (incl. opening a bank account, getting health insurance etc.)
Assistance for the appointment at the German embassy in the originating country.
Setup of the appointment at the Visa office in Berlin, Germany.
Personal assistance at the visa office to translate and help after arrival in Germany.
Steffi has built a strong relationship with the authorities in Germany in the last years and until now all visa she applied for were approved.
How do I know this is not a scam?
True, there are a lot of shady people out there trying to make money of people’s desire to come and work in Europe. This is not the case with Steffi. She runs a small agency that started of by helping international artists come to Berlin and would like to open this to a bigger public now. If you decide to work with her, she will sign a contract that defines her obligations and contains her legal information. In addition to that she can provide you with contacts of people who she has helped to come to Europe.
If you think that the freelance visa is the right visa for you, here is the process:
1. If you decide to work with her, she will sign a contract stating our and your obligations.
2. The service fee is due upon signing of the contract.
3. After the service fee is paid, she will send you a list of all documents needed for the application process. She will assist you in the preparation of the documents ( bank statements, health insurance, reference letters). From experience with former clients she can say that this step takes approximately 2 - 4 weeks.
4. You set up an appointment with your local German embassy.
5. For the appointment the package of document needs to be ready. You will personally go to the embassy and hand in your visa application with the complete package of documents. This package is sent via mail to the authorities in Berlin.
6. She is in touch with the authorities in Berlin to make sure to get notified as soon as the package arrives. She will then make sure that the details are ok and your case gets approved as fast as possible.
7. After your visa is approved by the authorities in Berlin, they will notify your local German embassy. You will then get a notification from your local Germany embassy, that you can go and pick up the visa. Usually they first give you a 90-days visa which then will be extended to a 12-months visa upon your arrival in Berlin.
8. As soon as you know, when you will get to Berlin, she will schedule an appointment with the authorities. She will accompany you to this appointment and make sure that you get your 12-months visa and work permit!