Provocative Tagesspiegel piece: Auslaenderbehorde

41 posts in this topic

Posted

Huh. I have had really good (and increasingly so) experiences there.

After they fixed the giving out of numbers, it's been way better than the DMV in the US for me. Perhaps they discriminate based on nationality or numbers needing help? I have certainly never waited in the cold- I just go, get an appointment, and go back when the appointment is. It sucks that you have to go twice, but I took it as a cost of the transaction.

I think it's way worse for Germans wanting US visas- when I have gone there, I have seen them standing in line outside the gates in the cold.

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Posted

Kind of like going to my Hausarzt at 14:00 to see him with no appointment necessary. People lined up at the door. I go around 16:00 when the rush hour is over.

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Posted

I go earlier to get there before anyone else does to avoid sitting waiting for 2 to 3 hours.

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Posted

Thanks for the great translation, australis82! Much appreciated.

I booked an appointment in January for May this year, which will hopefully be a happy and pain free occasion where I take my new marriage certificate (with Apostille, of course!) in, they interview me and my new husband and give me the pretty shiny unlimited work and residency visa for 3 years. Once every 3 years I can handle.

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Posted

I live in Berlin and I find the article incredibly biased. Nowhere do they mention that the ABH in Berlin tries to give as many appointments out as possible and that people who have to wait in line are the ones who didn't bother to make an online appointment. Yes, I've waited for hours in line when I forgot to make an appointment, however, it was my own fault.

Yasemin is one of the immigrants the country needs: female, well-educated in a natural science, with research ambitions. However the foreigners’ office values other things, she says. She completed her entire Masters degree in English, and hardly speaks German. Only some of the case workers speak English, and she is scared of the appointment.

“But I don’t think I’ll put myself through this again.”

Right, Germany really needs more immigrants who have no interest in integrating <_< . If she was really interested in staying in Germany, she'd have also started learning German. Obviously her only interest in being here is the lack of tuition fees.

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Posted

I have certainly never waited in the cold- I just go, get an appointment, and go back when the appointment is. It sucks that you have to go twice,

If you made an appointment online, you wouldn't even have to go twice. ;)

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Posted

The appointment thing is relatively new (like within the last year) at least for students to be able to use (and it's still only available to certain nationalities), though it does show that they are actually working to improve things. When I first came my experience was very much like that described. I remember thinking that in a country known for its efficiency this must be some sort of exercise in trying to demoralize as many foreigners as possible, it was so unbelievable to me that this was actually the everyday practice. But my last trip was unbelievably smooth compared to my several trips within the first year. Got an appointment, arrived 10 minutes before, waited for maybe 20 minutes and the person who saw me was civil and efficient, if not particularly friendly. SUCH a relief. They are definitely improving. But unless you know that the people mentioned would actually be eligible for the same processes and treatment that you are (based on nationality, status, etc) I wouldn't make any assumptions about their experiences there... There is also one particular Frau there who has made it miserable for anyone who's been lucky enough to get her, getting anyone else would automatically make your experience better I'd say...

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Posted

I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of service at the Ausländerbehörde. Each time I need to go I get a letter sent to me a few weeks beforehand with a list of things that I need to bring with me...walk in, get my stamps, walk out. Takes maybe in total, including travel, 2 hours out of my day...not such a stress.

Compared to Munich, the Berlin system is a much slicker outfit.

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Posted

But unless you know that the people mentioned would actually be eligible for the same processes and treatment that you are (based on nationality, status, etc) I wouldn't make any assumptions about their experiences there...

Gail is American (or at least she claims to be, and I've no reason to doubt her) and was therefore among the first groups to profit from the electronic appointment system. Most of the other examples from the article are students, who are also eligible to use it. The ABH even sends out form letters by snail mail reminding foreigners that their permits are expiring and to make an appointment.

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Posted

This is a bit off subject, but don't limit the 4th class status just to the foreign office and trying to get a visa. Try interacting with companies like Deutsche Telekom. Their standard operating procedure is to simply hand up instead of providing customer service and don't be bold enough to challenge them. Good luck with that!!!

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Posted

Try interacting with companies like Deutsche Telekom. Their standard operating procedure is to simply hand up instead of providing customer service and don't be bold enough to challenge them.

Why do you think this has anything to do with you being foreign? Telekom is famous for its service (or lack thereof).

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Posted

I have been here so long that I pre-date electronic appointments.

Otoh,in my first visit my younger daughter was running a fever and they very kindly allowed us to leave while my spouse stayed to finish paperwork (which was "against the rule"). But I am well aware, as I said above, that my nationality is privileged. I have been redded before for stating that Germany has quite a bit of xenophobia out there and I see my (visible) privilege clearly. I am also privileged as the spouse of a German citizen who is educated, as my spouse was relatively privileged in the US when I was unhappy with his treatment.

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Posted

gail123, what do you mean by pre-dating electronic appointments? Just booking them in advance?

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Posted

Ah, no.

In my day, people at the Behorde actually answered the phone occasionally (they don't any longer) or one made an appointment by e-mail (which I am not certain they answer any longer). If I had an emergency (I lost a passport and needed a new visa in the emergency passport), one could just show up- took me less than an hour. I assume because my alien section is not too crowded.

As I understand it, now one makes appointment on-line, as the US consulate has moved to (it also used to work on the show up principal, when I moved here).

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Posted

Why do you think this has anything to do with you being foreign? Telekom is famous for its service (or lack thereof).

That is for sure. We had them at our old flat, but switched to having our phone and internet through our mobile provider at our new place because it was cheaper. Even though we wrote them more than once with enough notice, they continued trying to charge us for the landline, even after we moved out. They threatened to sue us for the money and my German husband sent them copies of letters he sent. They didn't back off until my husband said he wanted to take it to court, and they finally read the letters my husband sent and dropped the case because it wasn't likely they would win. I never would use them again unless there was really no other option.

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Posted

That was pretty much my experience getting rid of Telekom as well - they were appalling! (sorry for the OT)

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Posted

There's a reason I've called the "Ausländerbehörde" the "Untermenschenamt" for years now...

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Posted

To be honest from my experience living in Dresden, none of the AMT`s treat the German people any better, it´s just a case of us and them and it can depend on which day you go and who you speak to.

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Posted

When a friend and I moved here back in 2006 we had to go back there so many times since there was so little information about what to prepare ahead of time and then each time we went they wanted something else. So even with follow up appointments I probably spent over 15 hours cumulatively in those halls for my first visa. We started arriving with card games, movies on our laptops and earphones, snacks and drinks. Unfortunately the alphabet split us up in to different waiting rooms and since the numbers called don't go up in a regular numerical order you couldn't risk being away from the number display for very long.

On my visit there last month the place looked so different with the new system. Like a ghost town. Walking past numerous waiting rooms with 1 person max. in each. They also scanned all my documents this time to file them electronically and they had official formulas to calculate my required income to meet actual criteria for permanent residency. Last time I went the best answer I got was that I needed to earn "enough" but no one in the office could agree even roughly on what that amount was.

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Posted

I have experienced Berlin, Wismar (small city of 50,000 up north) and Munich. I think it depends a lot on nationality and the specific situation, whether it's a student visa extension or work permit, or family reunion... The feeling of being 3rd world citizen is however there. Perhaps it comes as a shock for many Americans or Brits but we 3rd world citizens have been through it with every visa application and we all know how it feels.

My Berlin experience was the worst because: 1. the place was overcrowded and they tried to deal with as less people as possible; 2. I belong to country with East-block history of Gastarbeit and Germany frankly hoped we would all leave but we didn't; 3. I was misinformed and was asking wrong questions and that kind of pissed the officer off; 4. the city is poor which showed in the infrastructure and resulted in a general cramped and gloomy look of the place.

An Easten European classmate of mine who was born in Germany but keeps her nationality to this day first experienced the Ausländerbehörde and knew that they had her as a "file" when she first moved for study and summed up her feeling being there in a short sentence as "being treated like potential criminal". That was pretty much my impression and my fellow countrymen as well. From the recent comments here it seems like they have improved a lot for which I'm very happy about as I certainly hope for a better chat if I ever have to set foot in there again.

Wismar people were cold, but the place was less occupied so they did all the work. Still, was not pleasant at all going there. It's a Behörde after all.

Munich was a pleasant surprise coming down from north. I suspect it has to do with the better economic situation and therefore immigrants' status in general. The place was much more bright and spacious, people were decently dressed, coloured people in the office even (which I haven't seen in other places). Officers were reserved as expected but polite, gave me name card for me to contact him/her in several weeks to see if the permit was through then set a date for me to collect it. It also helped that this time I came to ask for work permit as new graduate with a job offer and not for an extension as a poor student and finally our group of nationality is not a prominent group of forgeiners (all problems attached) here in Munich. The next visits were all about extension based on existing work permit and were all done in 10-15 minutes.

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