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  1. Can anyone give advice from their direct experience of having been tested for COVID in Berlin? I looked, but the 258 page Coronavirus thread is simply too large to find this information easily. Our 8 year-old went back to school a week ago and we got a phone call from her teacher yesterday to inform us that one of her class-mates has tested positive for Coronavirus. Her class has been cancelled, naturally, and we will probably have have to go into isolation - and endure the miseries of even more home-teaching :-( I’m not sure if the whole school closes in this situation but I expect that things will proceed according to a predetermined strategy. Up to this point they’ve been pretty careful with dividing the classes, distancing and wearing masks. The teacher said that we’ll get more information on Monday but I don’t know exactly how much we’ll learn or how quickly things will happen. My concern is that our whole family get tested as soon as possible so that we can get information to others that we may have been in contact with during the last week. We also need to know whether we need to quarantine or not. I was hoping to hear from a Toytowner in Berlin who has undergone the process of testing, who could help us with the following questions: How quickly can one arrange a test in Berlin? How long do you have to wait to get results? Does the same test check for antibodies (indicating a previous infection) or do you have to take a different test for that (a blood test for instance)? I’m not so concerned about the actual experience of being tested - which I’ve heard is pretty uncomfortable - but more about arranging the process.   Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Hi all,   I'm registered in Hamburg under an Artist Visa. Since I've lost some work due to the pandemic, I'm considering applying for the 2,500 Euro one-time relief offered here for selbständig workers like myself (via IFB Hamburg). I know that normally, applying for unemployment relief can effect your future visa applications. My visa runs out next year, so I would like to know whether this fund is something I should avoid. Any ideas?   In case it matters - I am a KSK member. 
  3. Free COVID testing in Munich

    Hi Toytown,    Does anybody know where I can get a free COVID-19 test in Munich? I know they are doing it at the airport but I am travelling back to Munich in a car and won't be coming back via the airport.    Thank you for your help!    Best Jackie 
  4. Hallo zusammen,   i'm writing to see if anyone has heard of or experienced something which might help with the stressful predicament my wife and I now find ourselves in. Here's the deal: Last year my wife and I (US citizens) began preparations to make a permanent move to Munich, from NYC, USA. The flights were scheduled for June 1st, 2020. I'm a former resident of Munich (for about a year, back in 2006) and speak German at around a B2 level these days. My wife has completed A1. I was planning to get a freelancer visa and continue working remotely with the substantial freelance work I already had going on. Then Coronavirus happened. We pushed our flights back by 4 months and began applying for full-time positions in Germany instead, and thankfully so, as much of the freelance work I kept busy with has since been suspended.   Since then, I've been offered a full time position with a great employer in Munich, which I'm eager to accept. They are currently using the "fast-track" process for applying for pre-approval of my bona-fides with the Arbeitsamt. It appears that upon approval we should be set, if not for the sticky issue of travel restrictions from the USA. The exceptions to the travel restrictions do include "Foreign experts and highly qualified personnel whose work is necessary from an economic point of view and which cannot be postponed or carried out abroad"  -This would be the category I'd most likely fall into. This is vague for obvious reasons, and I understand that Germany needs flexibility in determining who is allowed entry, while still keeping the population as safe as possible.  The issue is, that the only way for Americans to officially travel to Germany is, to simply go.  The "tourist visa" currently requires no paperwork to apply for, and therefore all residence/work permits are handled locally in Germany. I've checked with the German mission in NYC and they don't want Americans making appointments about visas, as it is simply something they do not handle. They just say: Go, if you are allowed to. So from what I can see we have the following options:   1. Wait until the USA is determined safe enough by the EU to allow tourists to return. (who knows anymore if this will ever happen-this is not a good option) 2. Try to travel first to a country like the UK, where we can travel to, but have to quarantine for 2 weeks, before then traveling from there to Germany.  (this might be the best work-around, as long as the restrictions aren't tied to your residency, but rather where you are traveling from (not through) 3. Get approved as an aforementioned skill worker, travel to Germany alone, and then apply for spouse reunification and have my wife join me later (Does anyone know how long it takes to get an official Aufenthaltserlaubnis these days?.. this could be an incredibly long time to process.  This is not a great solution monetarily) 4. Try to get some kind of official exemption document for my wife and I to enter, for the purposes of immigration.  I assume such a document does not exist, but if it does, I'm wondering if anyone here has heard of one. It might even be an unofficial letter from an official office. We are happy to take Covid tests and quarantine as long as required.  We really just want to immigrate, and complete what we started over a year ago. Does anyone have any experiences in the last month, since borders re-opened, which might shed some light on things?  Even knowing how the border agents check for documents at the airport in Munich would be very helpful to know. Also, are things getting back to normal at the Arbeitsamt and KVR?  This is all very recent, so information about these things is hard to come by.   Thanks for any advice. Stay safe!
  5. Hi I have a 3-year Aufenthaltstitel, and I am registered at my apartment in Berlin. I want to visit my boyfriend's family in the U.K. but I have an American passport, and Americans aren't allowed entry into the UK or Europe.  Will I be able enter with my German residency permit, despite the fact that I'm American? Will I be able to return to Germany ok?  If anyone has a similar experience I would love to hear about it.    Thanks!   Kevin 
  6. Hallo folks,   I’m posting here in the hope that those of you with a more thorough understanding of German bureaucracy, particularly Jobcenter related themes, might be able to help me out. So, I recently, quite stupidly I will add, told my employer I did not want to renew my Festangestellte contract (due to expire at the end of April) as I planned to find a new job. They offered me the opportunity to stay on as an Aushilfe, although nothing has been signed yet. Then Corona blew up and I realised I had made a mistake. I asked whether I might still be able to take the permanent contract (Festangestellte) but I heard back from them today and they’ve decided not to offer it to me.   Due to the likely implications of coronavirus, not having social security benefits terrifies me a wee bit. Does anyone know if I would be entitled to any sort of help from the Jobcenter, seeing as I’ve recently been denied a renewal of my contract? If they hadn’t offered me the possibility to stay on as an Aushilfe, I would be due to be employed soon. With the current situation, the income I would earn as an Aushilfe would not be enough to survive. I work in a cafe, so in the coming weeks/months they’re likely to either not require so many staff, or be closed entirely. Which would render me completely without income. Though I haven’t even signed the Aushilfe contract yet, making my circumstance even more uncertain.    I might add that I’ve only worked 6 months in Germany on a permanent contract and then 4 months as an Aushilfe previous to that, with the same employer. That leaves me either 2 or 6 months short of qualifying for Hartz IV, if my understanding of the requirements are correct and indeed still correct during the current coronavirus crisis.    Thanks in advance to anyone who might be able to shine some light on my situation.
  7. Does anyone have experience or an understanding of whether it's possible to cross the Swiss-German border with a D visa without a residence permit during the coronavirus restrictions?   My contract as a Research Assistant at a German university started last month, and I am attempting to move to Berlin. I hold a D visa that would allow me to obtain a Blue Card once I register in Berlin. I'm a non-EU national holding a B Permit in Switzerland.   Thank you!