Visa Card

On Monday I went to the Ausländerbehörde to pick up my new visa.

They’ve changed the system for visas to conform to new European standards. The old visa used to be full-sized stickers stuck into your passport and ate up 2 entire pages of space. Now it’s just like the ID card German citizens get, except obviously it’s a residence permit.

Just in time, too, because I don’t have any pages left in my passport!  (And since I’ll be changing my name anyway in August, there’s no point in getting extra pages for a passport I’d have to renew anyway!)

There’s also an online function to speed up filling out various forms, for example, or as a secure way to verify your identity. But this time I opted out (since I have to get a new one soon anyway…sigh) and honestly I don’t think there is currently a great need for it. Apparently you can buy a machine and software (no thanks!) so you can use it at home, too, but to me, that sounds entirely pointless.

For my work permit, there is an extra piece of paper (similar to the Fiktionsbescheinigung, or temporary visa, I received before) that must also be kept with the visa, as it shows the exact information about where I am allowed to work.

More information about the process in English can be found here.  And in German, here is the information from the state of Hamburg: here & here.

Anyway, I’m happy to have that taken care of, even if it will only last me for the next 6 months until name and status changes require a new one (and unfortunately more expensive one, I might add!). I got there at 7:30, at opening time, and was number 57 in line. Yikes. The entire wait took 2 hours and 45 minutes. But the best part was that Tobias came around 9:30 with a thermos full of hot tea and some pastries from a local bakery. What a sweet guy!

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