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.