So you want to move to Germany?

So you want to move to Germany?

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A foreigner wanting to visit Germany faces some daunting rules and regulations. One American, Georg Behrendt, details his experiences in a new series.

I, too, wanted to live in Germany, return to the land of my ancestors and also contribute to the German society. The first thing I faced was a lack of readily available information - or conflicting information - on how to do so, what documents I needed, what forms to get from the German government.

At this point, many might be ready to give up. Don’t. There is hope.

My efforts started about three years ago with a call to the German Consulate in Miami. I tried more then a dozen times to contact the consulate and kept running into recordings that sent me to other recordings that sent me to phone numbers that were not in service. This made me even more determined to accomplish what was alleged a simple process. My assessment of that consulate, at this point, was that no one is really is there other then the telephone repairman.

Three months and many attempted calls later - over 30, in fact - I did reach a knowledgeable official. The answer to all my questions to my surprise and delight were very simple - yeah, right.

I was told that for one reason or another, Americans have, shall we say, special dispensation to enter, live and work in Germany. The process is simple and fairly quick, she said. Well, this was not exactly right.

Armed with my answers, I went to Germany and to the local immigration office. I showed them my passport, health insurance and told them of my desire to live in Germany and participate in the daily life.

I was told that I could not be in Germany more than three months. I told them what the Miami consulate told me. The young lady in the office responded that the consulate had misinformed me and that they really did not know anything about the process.

I thanked her and returned home in total wonderment that a consulate could be so incorrect.

Once home, I tried to call the German Embassy in Washington. Again I faced a wall of taped recordings. So I tried Miami again - to no avail.

I tried to contact a human for over two months with absolutely no success. As far as I know, the German Consulate and the German Embassy do not exist.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. Stay tuned.

Copyright Expatica 2008

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3 Comments To This Article

  • Peter posted:

    on 27th February 2008, 21:25:59 - Reply

    I have been in Germany for 18 years and wonder sometimes why I've stayed so long. I'm tall, white, blond hair and blue eyed so you would think I would fit in but when I speak German with a foreign accent things change fast. I received a traffic ticket once with big bold letters on top of the citation "Foreigner" and received the maximum fine possible. Do yourself a favor and move to Wisconsin where there are lots German decendants but are very polite and considerate people unlike the real Germans. If you really must move here, get a job with the US military where you don't need any of the normal German "papers" to live here. To be fair though, there are a lot of good reasons to live here. ps. Germany technically is a US colony because a peace accord has never been signed and Germany's Grundgesezt was developed by the US Army around 1945 or 46.
  • denise posted:

    on 27th February 2008, 18:41:44 - Reply

    Why would anyone of Jewish background even want to live in Germany with all the attrocities that happened to their people that by the way is stil happening except the Germans have widened the reach of racial discrimination to any foreignor. I would put it behind me. As a foreignor living in Germany (American with a hint of color), I've discovered Germany is the wrong place to live....especially in the EAST. But I guess if you are GERMAN BY BLOOD...and obviously that doesn't mean a foreignor then good'll join the rest of Germans in denial.
  • mike kucherov posted:

    on 27th February 2008, 15:30:50 - Reply

    Dear Mr. Behrendt,

    I don't know what your family backround is, but if it so happens that you have a Jewish ancestor who was stripped of German citizenship (as all Jewish Germans were) under the NS regime, you then have an automatic, fast-track claim to German citizenship.

    This is how I got my German citizenship, and I must say it was a speedy and painless process (I was able to document everything of course).

    Mike Kucherov