Seven Common Mistakes Made at the Ausländerbehörde in Berlin


Red Tape Translation loves helping new Berliners from all around the world with their visa appointments at the Auslanderbehorde in Berlin. While the majority of our clients leave the immigration office with a smile on their face and a shiny new German work permit in their hands, sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan. Here are some really common mistakes that we hope you’ll avoid when you’ve got plans to visit the friendly grey building in Wedding.

1. Not registering your address in Berlin before you go.

You won’t get past the doorman if you don’t have your Anmeldebestaetigung with you. Get it at the Buergeramt and bring it with you to your appointment, or they will send you away. Talk to Red Tape Translation and take an interpreter with you if you’re not sure how to go about it.

2. Not having the right type of health insurance.

There are lots of different types of health insurance out there, so how are you supposed to know which kinds are accepted? Talk to a broker who knows what they’re doing. They don’t even take a commission, so you have nothing to lose. If you are going for a freelance/self-employed permit, make sure the health insurance you buy is recognised in Germany and accepted by BaFin, and bring the certificate and all accompanying documents with you. For some types of permits, traveller’s health insurance is fine.

 3. Showing up on a Wednesday or a Friday.

The Auslaenderbehoerde, like many public offices in Germany, has limited working hours. They are as follows: Mon – Tues 7am til 2pm, Thurs 10am til 6pm. The foreigner’s office is appointment only on Wednesdays and closed on Fridays. But if you book with Red Tape Translation and try to get us to come with you on a Wednesday or a Friday, we’ll set you straight!

4. Incomplete application forms

If you’re just dropping off your application for a German work permit without an appointment, make sure it’s complete. Expect delays and back and forth postal correspondence should you forget to sign the application form, for example.

5. Not bringing cash for the payment machine.

Once your permit has been approved, you have to pay for it using the payment machine on the first floor, which only accepts cash or German EC cards, no credit cards. If you don’t have cash on you, the closest ATM is a fairly long walk away. Don’t get caught out.

6. Expecting to get your permit on the spot


Red Tape Translation is always thrilled when this does happen, and mostly it does. But don’t be distraught if something goes wrong. Sometimes, they’ll want to see an extra document you don’t have with you, even if it’s not listed on your appointment information sheet. Sometimes, the rules change. And for some types of visas, the office has to send them away to the Department of Economics and Trade, or the Senate Administration, for approval.

7. Anxiety

We know the feeling! It feels like your whole fate is hanging on this one appointment. Red Tape Translation has seen quite a few tears, shaking hands, and even a panic attack or two. Whatever happens, the police won’t come to the office and escort you into quarantine. You can always revisit the office, drop in a missing document, or try for another visa if things don’t go to plan the first time around.


Red Tape Translation at Auszeit


This weary translator can be found tucked up in this cosy Wedding cafe between appointments at the Ausländerbehörde, and in this regard, the cafe’s name is quite fitting. Auszeit (Time Out) is on a picturesque corner of Kiatschoustraße in Wedding, a short walk over a quaint bridge connecting the quarter to Friedrich-Krause Ufer, where the foreigner’s office is located.


I was initially attracted to the al fresco dining by the river on a warm late summer afternoon between appointments, and then noticed a fabulous lunch special between 12 and 2pm – two courses and a coffee or juice for 5,90 EUR. I’ve tried this on two separate occasions and it has been, quite frankly, delicious. One particular appetizer, a salad with rocket, fresh oyster mushrooms and a delectable balsamic dressing, could actually be ranked as life changingly good.


Now I find Auszeit is the perfect refuge from the cold – the dark wood, candles, and cosy atmosphere are very inviting, and the waitstaff always friendly. Auszeit has a whole range of breakfast platters, salads, pizzas, pastas, burgers, roesti, desserts etc, and I’m looking forward to trying a Tuesday evening create-your-own gourmet pizza extravaganza at some time in the near future. I’m not the kind of reviewer who goes nuts about coffee, as I don’t drink it that much, but may I bring to your attention that auszeit is all up with a new trend I’ve noticed in Berlin – ungesüßte heiße schokolade (unsweetened hot chocolate), and I’m a huge fan.


If you’re at the foreigner’s office in Wedding and you wish to celebrate the approval of your new visa, come to Auszeit and say hi. Alternatively, you may wish to commiserate your pending deportation with a cocktail. But not if you hire me to go with you to your appointment!


Auszeit: Kiatschoustr 12a, 13353 Berlin

Open from 10am, kitchen open until 11pm.


About the Author: Kathleen Parker is very good at helping English speakers communicate in German after moving to Berlin. Red Tape Translation was founded in the summer of 2012, and Kathleen Parker is frequently spotted interpreting at the Ausländerbehörde, or offering affordable interpreting help by phone.