yes I guess with immigration that goes about everywhere. I'm australian, and I came here on a 3-month tourist visa in 2001 (you get that automatically when you fly in, think it is the same with US citizens), which I extended for 3 months which is not difficult as long as you can show your (own country) bank statements that show that you have enough funds to support yourself, and your plane ticket out and (travel) health insurance for the extension period that you apply for. You can say that you want to learn german, or some other reason. For me, this job came up (I am a journalist) with a UK-based firm so I applied to for residency status with permission to work for freelance for overseas firms - but because the firms aren't in germany, I didn't need a letter to say they couldn't get a local to do my job. The same proviso, that I show I have earmed enought money to live on and local private health insurance - they don't accept travel insurance when you wan't to be more than a tourist but you can't get (often cheaper) state insurance unless you have a german employer. The local authorties also checked my qualifications and experience to see that I could do the work I claimed I could, and I think they also ran a check on my background in australia with the police there to see they I didn't have a criminal record, and you also have to register with the local police here (takes five minutes) the same as the locals. You have to re-new the visa every year or so (takes a few hours of waiting about, cost 50 euro or something) But if you have a local job lined up, and a letter from the employer I think it will run easier. According to this link the same conditions still apply, that you can fly in and get a visa and then permission to work, but of course doing as much as possible at your end in the US makes life massively simpler. The prob seems to be getting a work permit for your wife, but maybe that is not so hard - there is some stuff about who to contact in the link. I guess a letter from a german employer would be the main thing there too - from what I understand, the germans are mainly worried about people coming to germany from the new EU countries and working cheap/black in the building industry, that's why they have this temporary restriction in place. I haven't much to do with the german embassy in australia, but when I did they were not very helpful, I think they are a bit removed from the action and told me a couple of things that were incorrect.