Not Happy, Jan: The Continuing Saga of the Visa

I went in today to get my visa placed into my passport.  It was supposed to be straight forward – hand in the paperwork, get visa.  Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.  You see, they had asked me to provide confirmation of health insurance and so I consulted my company’s lawyer who is being paid to organise my visa (and so far has done fuck all).  The advice from the lawyer was just to tell them that company will organise it.  I didn’t think that was right and that I should have a letter or something but this guy is the lawyer and is up on German law, not me.

I should have gone with my gut instinct as this advice was terrible.  I was right, they needed actual proof that I have a health insurance policy and the line that the company would organise it just didn’t cut it.  Therefore, I didn’t get my visa issued.  However, I did get my tax card and my residence details registered, so I guess I can stay.

So on coming back to the office I rang the company lawyer.  He said he was shocked that just saying the company would organise it wasn’t enough.  Given my dealings already with German bureaucracy you need official forms for everything so why this guy thought that just saying my company would organise my insurance is beyond me.  Then he asks what insurance company I want to get my insurance from.  Say what?? I wouldn’t even know the name of a health insurance company in Germany let alone what one I should go with.  The guy also sounded shocked at this.  I’ve only been in the country for 2 months, I know nothing about how anything works here.  He has left it with me to find out who everyone uses here and get back to him when I have found one.  So much for this guy helping me with my visa.  He’s just fucking useless.

Fortunately, one of my co-workers is in the process of re-organising his health insurance and has put me in touch with his insurance broker to find out the best company to go with. However, I need to make the choice between public and private based on whether I see myself staying in Germany long-term.  Tough call, as I really don’t know, but so far the public system is sounding the best route to go down in case I do want to stay here.

However, I’m annoyed and frustrated that this idiot lawyer’s  incompetency has delayed the issuing of my visa even further.  I can’t do anything to get myself settled here without one.

Not happy, Jan!

* The phrase Not happy, Jan comes from this famous Australian ad

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About Meg

A thirty something queer Aussie geek girl who now lives in Germany.
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13 Responses to Not Happy, Jan: The Continuing Saga of the Visa

  1. Kim says:

    I didn’t think I’d be able to giggle at the end of that tale of frustration, but I have a feeling that “Not happy, Jan” is going to be coming out of my mouth someday soon.

    I detest bureaucracy. Fingers crossed that it’s straightened out soon.

  2. Liron says:

    I’m with the Techniker Krankenkasse (Public), no complaints. I wouldn’t go down the private insurance route unless it saves you money in the long term (based on your netto salary) or if you’re entirely self-employed. As far as I know you can always switch from public to private healthcare – but not the other way around.

    In any case – they absolutely need proof that you have valid health insurance. Having a “proof of residence” slip does not mean you can stay here – anyone who stays in Germany for longer than 3 weeks at a static address is required to register.

    Did they give you a temporary 3-month permit extension or did they ask you to come back with proof of health insurance? If it’s the latter, you need to get back to them asap.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me on any questions – I’ve gone through the visa saga 4 times here and have the process down pretty well :)

    • Riayn says:

      I know my proof of residence slip doesn’t mean I can stay but they said nothing about my visa not being issued if I can prove my health insurance, so it was a step in the right direction. No extension of my visa as I can still be in the country until the 24th Dec so I should be able to get my insurance organised by then.
      Good to know the public option is okay. Will let you know if I have any issues with my visa. I can’t imagine going through this 4 times. What a headache!

      • Liron says:

        I had to re-apply for a visa yearly in the beginning, as well as when I switched jobs. Not everyone needs to apply yearly in the first few years, it depends on the job you’re doing and regulations may have changed since I arrived in 2006.

        Right now I have a 3-year open visa (meaning, I can work wherever I want without needing to re-apply) and I am eligible for a permanent residence in two years.

        I’ll be glad to tell you the saga some time over coffee. It’s enough to make any foreigner’s skin crawl!

        I do love it here, though :)

  3. Riayn says:

    Liron, we definitely have to get together for a coffee or a glühwein. Must be nice to have a 3 year visa.

  4. Stereo says:

    This sucks! I am so sorry about this and sincerely hope that you are able to work things out. What a useless ass lawyer.

  5. Klaus says:

    Go public. Experience the joy of a public health insurance system that actually works, even though Germans like to complain about it. But then, they like to complain about everything.

    For the record, public health insurance here in Taiwan is pretty awesome, too. But I am not allowed to join yet, beause I first have to stay in Taiwan four months straight – which means no holidays abroad, no trips home etc.

  6. Andrew says:

    I’ll add to the chorus of saying that the Public in Germany is really good. Everyone I’ve had to see takes it and I don’t have to pay more than my few bucks a quarter. With private I have heard you have to pay all out of pocket and claim it all back. Which would suck if you dont have the money to pay out for it.

  7. Jul says:

    What Andrew said – public is awesome (in my mind) mostly for the lack of paperwork (and money back-and-forth) involved.

    Hope you get it all sorted out soon. Incompetent lawyers (we had one, too) aside, it seems so ridiculous to me that the German government expects us to sign a lease and sign up for German health insurance before they’ve told us we’re definitely allowed to stay in the country.

  8. Vinita says:

    I hope this stuff gets sorted real quick, and that you meet the right people at the right time. Good luck!

  9. fun. ny. not the situation – that’s not a teensy bit funny. but the “not happy jan” is funny in this context plus i’m not happy – not one bit happy – with my sister . . . who happens to be named jan.

  10. Health says:

    Thanks For Your Idea…

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