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.


How Red Tape Translation Berlin can help your Berlin Startup

Red Tape Translation Berlin

Berlin is a vibrant, multicultural hub of artistic genius and entrepreneurship. You knew that already, that’s why you’ve come here. Hundreds of exciting startups are establishing themselves in Berlin every year. The city is teeming with projects for writers, artists, actors, musicians, IT gurus, marketing specialists and young business practitioners. Bright and funky work environments in Mitte, Prenzlauerberg and Kreuzberg, Friday night drinks, Berlin events and parties, casual dress, flexible working hours, no hierarchy.

If you run a startup in Berlin, or work for one, you know how much work the first couple of years of business can be. And you also know the frustration of finding a talented English speaking employee and looking on helplessly as they struggle with the bureaucracy of being able to work legally in Berlin. You’d like to be able to help your employees cut through the Red Tape, but you’re too busy running your business to hold their hand.

Offer Red Tape Translation Berlin services to your employees as a job perk. If you were a high flying corporation, you might offer relocation services – it’s the same gesture but on a smaller scale. Kathleen Parker will accompany your employees to their appointment at the immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) and interpret between German and English. Red Tape Translation Berlin is inexpensive for you, and a wonderful way to let your new employees know they are valued. If you’re looking to hire lots of English speakers for your startup, talk to Kathleen Parker about package deals for businesses. Buy Red Tape Translation services for a group of your employees, send them all in together on the same day and benefit from an impressive discount.

Contact Kathleen Parker at Red Tape Translation and give your new English speaking employees a helping hand to cut the German red tape. You’ll have them in your office faster, concentrating on much more important things: their job.

Red Tape Translation Berlin – translating and interpreting help in person or by phone

Red Tape Translation is setting up to start business on September 24th 2012. Until then, appointments can be made subject to availability.

Visiting the immigration office in Berlin can be stressful if you haven’t yet mastered German, and hiring a relocation agent or an immigration lawyer is costly. Kathleen Parker is a German-English translator and interpreter, based in Berlin.  She will accompany you to your appointment and act as an interpreter.

You can also use Telephone Time, a budget solution for making important German phone calls.

Visit to find out more.

About the Author: Kathleen Parker is the founder of Red Tape Translation. Moving to Berlin proved challenging for Kathleen and for many of her friends, prompting her to set up Red Tape Translation and help English speakers get settled in Germany.

Interpreting and Translation help in Berlin for English Speakers