Immigration Office in Berlin: Where to get your visa and residence permit

Marle

Nov 05 • 4 minute read

The immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) in Berlin keeps its doors open for you so that you can easily obtain a residence permit or renew your visa in Germany. So to speak, it's your lynchpin as a non-EU citizen when getting started with your next step in life: Germany!

So how exactly do things work at the immigration office in Berlin? And much more than that, how do I make an appointment there? Questions over questions, to which we, fortunately, have answers over answers for you!

Immigration office in Berlin (Ausländerbehörde) or Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), who's responsible for me?

Two terms that are so similar and yet have different functions. The immigration office is in charge of the decisions relating to your stay in Germany: They issue your residence permit (or refuse it, which hopefully is not the case!), decide on your settlement permit and, in extreme cases, are also responsible for expulsion or deportation.

Apart from that, immigration offices are no subordinate offices of the Federal Foreign Office; this means that the Federal Foreign Office has no influence on the decision of the immigration office. As a matter of fact, the immigration authorities of the various federal states are always subordinate to the technical supervision of the interior ministries and senators of the federal states.

Here's what is done at the immigration office in Berlin

Now, what exactly can I get done at the immigration office in Berlin? The immigration office in Berlin finds answers to a number of your concerns, such as your immigration, departure, residence, an extension of residence permit, employment, possible problem situations such as lost or stolen passports, delayed departure due to illness and similar.

1. Before you arrive in Germany

Before you arrive in Germany, you need to take some steps at the foreign mission in your home country:

a. Apply for your visa

  • Short stay (max. 90 days): For some countries, you are required to have a visa for a short stay, in which case you can apply for a Schengen visa (visa category C). To do this, however, you need to apply for a Schengen visa at the foreign mission (embassy or consulate-general) before entering Germany.
  • Longer stay (more than 90 days): Ready for your studies in Germany? With a bit of luck, certain countries have a so-called visa waiver, which means that you can apply for any residence title in Germany without a visa. These include Andorra, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea (South Korea), San Marino and the USA. Nationals of other countries have to enter the country on a national visa (visa category D; however, you have to apply for this in a consulate in your home country.

2. Once you have arrived in Germany

So you've finally moved to Berlin? Once you have arrived, you can apply for your residence permit at the immigration office in Berlin.

a. Apply for your residence permit and Blue Card (EU)

You are:

  • immigrated to Germany and now live in Berlin?
  • your stay is longer than 3 months?
  • not from the EU or Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway?

Your answers are three times yes? Then it’s time for you to apply for a residence permit for your stay!

b. Applying for a permanent residence permit

Once you’ve had a temporary residence permit for several years, you can switch to an unlimited residence permit, i.e. a settlement permit or permanent residence permit. The good thing about it is that you can pursue any occupation! And your residence title isn't limited in time or place. What a relief!

There are three steps you need to take before applying for a residence title: 1. Book your appointment in good time at the State Immigration Office 2. Register your flat in Berlin at the Bürgeramt Berlin. 3. Take all your necessary documents with you.

Besides, if you want to extend your residence permit, you also have to book an appointment.

How to visit the immigration office in Berlin without an appointment

At the top of your to-do list is renewing your visa or getting a new residence permit? Then you can come to the immigration office in Berlin either with or without an appointment. But truth be told: make an appointment, it saves you so much more time and stress.

Immigration office Berlin with an appointment

Good choice! Coming to the immigration office in Berlin with an appointment will save you a lot of time. In fact, you can be confident that your turn will come! That's what you have to do:

  1. Visit Berlin.de
  2. Choose your concern and press "Make an Appointment"
  3. Click on "Termin buchen" to make an appointment, "Termin ändern" to change it or "Termin löschen" to cancel your appointment.
  4. If you click on "Termin buchen", choose your nationality ("Staatsangehörigkeit") from the drop-down menu in the next step.
  5. Select in the drop-down menu whether you live in Berlin with a family member with the above-mentioned nationalities (Yes "Ja" or No "Nein").
  6. Select your request from the drop-down menu.
  7. Go through the details and confirm that you meet the above requirements.
  8. Fill in your personal details under "Antragsteller/in".
  9. Choose your appointment.
  10. Reserve an appointment.

Done!

Immigration Office Berlin without an appointment

Got a lot of patience, have you? Well, sometimes you find out a little too late that your visa really does need to be renewed. Make your way to the immigration office early in the morning on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday (yes, even before the opening at 7 am) and wait in line. With a bit of luck, you'll get an appointment on the same day!

Here are the opening hours at the Ausländerbehörde without an appointment:

DayOpening hours
Monday07:00 a.m. - 02:00 p.m.
Tuesday07:00 a.m. - 02:00 p.m.
WednesdayNo chance, sorry: only with appointment
Thursday09:00 a.m. - 05:00 p.m.
FridayNo chance, sorry: only with appointment

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