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Still_Winter posted a topic in Life in MunichHallo 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!
AyamBerlin posted a topic in FinanceHello all, I am a US citizen and new to Germany. I moved here last year in 2019 (less than 180 days in Germany in 2019), and I just finished working with an EA to prepare for my US income tax return for 2019, which by the way is my first filing since moving to Germany. I have been reading up on pros and cons between Foreign Income Exclusion and Foreign Tax Credit, so we did 2 scenarios in our filing, and now I am deciding which one to go with. Because I lived less than 180 days in Germany in 2019 and earned income in Germany only from Oct 2019 - Dec 2019, in my German Einkommensteuererklärung I was considered a non-German tax resident, eventhough I have become resident of Germany. With that, long story short, I got all my German taxes back. Now because of this treatment, I could not claim foreign income tax credit on the US side, simply because I ended up not paying any tax in Germany. My EA then decided to do the other method - Foreign Income Exclusion - In either case, the Foreign Income Exclusion or Foreign Income Tax Credit, I ended up paying taxes to Uncle Sam, for various reason. Under the 'Exclusion' method, I would pay LESS to Uncle Sam than under the 'Credit' method. The difference in additional tax payment between the 2 methods is about $1,500. I wanted to invest in IRA but if one day the exclusion limit catches up with my German income, and one day I shows no taxable income, then for that tax year I would not be able to invest in IRA again... This is my contemplation now, so I am leaning towards the 'Credit' method, but then I would pay $1,500 more in taxes to Uncle Sam in 2019. Is it worth it to pay more tax (in my case, $1,500 more) to 'buy' that flexibility to invest in IRA? Then I also read up on some other article that it is not worth it investing in IRA if you live in Germany, which is new to me? I also know that as a rule of thumb, if one lives in a 'high income tax' country like Germany, the 'Credit' method is the better way to go, rather than the 'exclusion' method. I also know it is almost impossible to switch back from the 'Exclusion' method to the 'Credit' method, once one decided to use the 'Exclusion' method, so since this will be my very first filing, I would like to hear some learnings from all of you! Thank you.