German Working-Holiday/Youth Mobility visa for Citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Japan

The Working Holiday Visa Programme is the visa ninja’s way of staying in Germany and traveling around Europe for up to 12 months without applying for a traditional German residence visa or require sponsorship or steady employment.

You must pass the following requirements:

  • be a Citizen of Australia, New Zealand, Chile (*1) or Japan
  • be aged between 18 and 30 years old
  • not be accompanied by dependent family members (e.g. children)
  • your Passport must exceed the end of your stay by at least 3 months
  • have proof of health insurance valid in Germany (e.g. travel insurance for Germany) with coverage of at least €30,000 (EUR) and including costs for medical evacuation/repatriation
  • show a recent bank statement (with full name) indicating proof of sufficient funds – up to $7100 (AUD) for the duration of your stay; calculated at:
    • cost of return flight from Germany to Australia: $2100 (AUD)
    • living costs without free accommodation: $5000 (AUD)
    • living costs with free accommodation: $1800 (AUD) (*2)
  • pay the €50 (EUR) visa fee at time of visa application in Germany

(*1) Citizens of Chile are recommended to apply for a Working-Holiday visa before traveling to Germany.

(*2) If staying in Germany with free accommodation (e.g. relatives or friends) you must show an invitation letter and passport photocopy of the inviting German Citizen.

If you’re over this age limit or not a Citizen of one of the ‘best friends’ nations then you must consider a traditional residence visa for Germany (e.g. general employment, self-employed, job-seeker visa, EU-Blue card, internship, artist, etc.), the Working-Holiday visa is not appropriate for you.

Australian citizens (as well as New Zealand and Japanese citizens) are encouraged to apply for a residence permit after entering Germany at the local immigration authority (‘Ausländerbehörde’), without prior applying for a visa in Australia.

German Missions in Australia – Working Holiday Visa

The perks of this visa is you can travel around EU-member states with your Schengen visitor visa for 3 months then return to Germany and without appointment submit your visa application in-person at the closest Ausländerbehörde (German immigration authority) then continue traveling.

In my case the closest immigration authority was Altona Kundenzentrum in Hamburg and I was granted a Working-Holiday visa valid for 12 months on the spot after queuing for less than 4 hours!

Note: Check if your closest German immigration authority requires prior appointment for visa applications, an example is Welcome Center Hamburg which requires appointments for all visa applications with a appointment waiting list of 3-6 weeks. No appointment was necessary for visa applications at Altona Kundenzentrum.

Temporary visa extension for foreigners in Germany

As a non-EU Citizen you can apply for a temporary visa extension (up to 3 months) to remain in Germany whilst your residence visa application is being processed, or simply because you want to spend additional time in Germany after your Schengen visa expires (90 days in every 180 days).

Tip: If you are visiting Hamburg, Germany or other EU-member states on a Schengen visitor visa and wish to stay in Germany for an additional 90 days after the end of your Schengen visa consider applying for a temporary visa extension from Welcome Center Hamburg.

You can pick up this short-term visa extension paper without appointment at the Welcome Center Hamburg. Bring your passport and the filled application form Application for the issue / renewal of a residence permit (available from Hamburg.de > Application forms), there are also blank applications available from the information desk.

The general requirement for this temporary visa extension is that you have submitted your residence visa application before requesting a temporary visa, this makes sense except where you are yet to submit your residence visa application and need to travel abroad; in this case an extension can be approved in exceptional cases.

Update: You cannot travel outside of Germany, in any circumstance if your temporary visa extension has ‘Gilt nicht für Auslandsreisen’ (Not valid for travel abroad) printed on it. Mine did and because of this applied for a Working-Holiday visa (available to ‘best-friend’ nations of Germany for under 30 year olds) which allows for immediate international travel.

This visa extension doesn’t allow international travel unless stated otherwise so there may be issues at immigration when leaving or returning to Germany when traveling with this visa extension paper, therefore you are discouraged to travel outside of Germany unless absolutely necessary.

Update: See notice above, you cannot re-enter Germany after your Schengen visa has expired with this paper. You could leave Germany a day before your last Shengen visa calendar day and may be able to re-enter on the last calendar day. I’m not putting this one to the test… 😉

Registration of address (Anmeldung) for travelers in Germany

If you intend to stay in Germany for any serious period of time (more than 3 months) you – as a German, EU Citizen, foreigner alike – must register your official address with immigration authorities within 7 days of arrival. An amendment made in November 2015 requires your landlord or address owner to complete a component of the registration.

This is a serious problem for new arrivals to Germany without permanent accommodation (e.g. hotel, hostels, couch-surfing) as Confirmation of registration of address (Anmeldung) is a requirement for visa applications in Germany and visa applications may be refused if not provided.

The recent amendment means hotel and hostel owners will be unwilling to complete the required component of this registration as they will be legally responsible for forwarding mail from the German authorities to you, even after you’ve checked-out. You cannot use a business address or post office box.

To resolve this you need to clarify to the immigration official in your registration appointment that you do not yet have a permanent address and will provide your current address (wherever you are currently staying, hotel, hostel, private) and will provide an updated official address before or at the time of your visa application.

Regarding the required document to be filled by the landlord or address owner, date and sign the bottom section on the second page in your name but do not complete it. Do this after speaking to the immigration official as this is a very informal method for processing your registration and raises denials and frowns from immigration officials before being accepted.

Pay the 11 EUR, collect your passport and make a run for it! Step one to residing in Germany complete. 🙂