Extending a tourist visa during COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis

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A US-American friend of mine wants to remain in Berlin beyond the length of her EU travel visa, which expires mid-May.

According to what I could find out on berlin.de, "force majeur" (ie "acts of god") are a valid reason for extending a tourist visa; included in that should be 1) flight cancellations due to COVID-19; 2) not wanting to board an airplane during the coronavirus crisis; 3) not wanting to enter a heavily infected New York City (which may already bar her entry by that point anyway).

Also according to this page on berlin.de,  people who are "required to leave" should not apply for a tourist visa extension until two weeks or less of the visa expiration.

 

Has anyone tried to extend a travel visa since the crisis started? For that matter, has anyone tried to get a residential registration (Wohnanmeldung) since the crisis started? The latter is also theoretically a requirement.

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According to the immigration office, it's not possible, but also not necessary, to request an extension to a tourist/business Shengen visa at the moment: https://www.berlin.de/einwanderung/aufenthalt/artikel.910213.en.php#entry

 

The bottom line is that your friend is granted an extra three months to leave the country, without needing to do anything.

 

The first general regulation about the coronavirus was issued by the immigration office and became valid on March 24th. It's intended to prevent unregulated stays by foreigners through no fault of their own:

https://www.berlin.de/einwanderung/_assets/20200324-allgemeinverfuegung_corona_lea_berlin.pdf

 

My interpretation is that there is no extension of the visa, which for your American friend is automatic and has a maximum validity of 90 days out of the last 180. But without applying for an extension, the deadline to leave Germany is set a further three months after the expiry of the visa. She is expected to try to leave Germany as soon as possible after the usual travel visa expiry, because she has no legal right to stay. But if she meets the requirements (will be in Germany the whole time etc.) there will be no punishment if she's unable to leave, for up to three months after the expiry.

 

Here's an unofficial translation by me (ok, mostly by deepl.com) of the relevant sections about Schengen tourism/business trip visas:

 

3) Holders of Schengen visas for visiting or business purposes (so-called tourist visas, type C, § 6 para. 1 no. 1 AufenthG) whose validity expires between 18 March 2020 and 17 June 2020 are automatically granted an exit visa period of 3 months, calculated from the expiry of the visa's validity period pursuant to § 50 para. 2 in conjunction with § 51 para. 1 no. 7 AufenthG. § 59 paragraph 1 sentence 4 AufenthG. This applies to all foreigners who have actually been in Berlin at the time of the expiry of the visa and who are also staying here until their departure.

[...]

III.

Due to the restrictions on travel in Germany and in Europe, numerous holders of Schengen visas are currently prevented from leaving the Federal Republic through no fault of their own. Since Schengen visas are issued for a limited period of time with fundamentally different periods of validity, it would require a decision on a case-by-case basis as to whether the visas could be extended under Article 33 of the Visa Code. The maximum duration of stay and the maximum period of validity would have to be taken into account. Even these individual case examinations cannot be guaranteed with certainty for the duration of the ordered infection prevention measures.

Holders of expiring Schengen visas are thus obliged to leave the country without a valid residence permit pursuant to Article 50 (1) of the Residence Act. Since the persons concerned are prevented from leaving the country through no fault of their own, the Aliens Department can initially carry out an examination in accordance with § 50 Para. 2 in conjunction with § 59, paragraph 1, sentence 4 AufenthG to set a deadline for departure. By setting an exit deadline, the stay is still carried out without the required residence title contrary to § 4 par. 1 sentence 1 AufenthG, but it is not punishable under § 95 par. 1 no. 2 AufenthG.

The group of persons pursuant to No. 3 only includes persons who are actually in Berlin at the time of the expiration of the visa's validity period and who will also stay here until departure. The restriction of the group of persons is made to delimit the responsibilities under the law on foreigners. The State Office for Immigration does not intend to make any regulations for foreigners in other areas of responsibility. In this respect, even short-term immigration or emigration within the period of validity of this regulation should be avoided.

 

There's an English translation of AufenthG here: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_aufenthg/index.html

 

 

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Thank you Sumguy, that is very helpful. I also learned that tourists are not required to get a residence registration (Wohnanmeldung) unless they are actually renting or subletting a place, so that is sorted out too. Cheers!

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What happens if my US American friend submits a residence permit application (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels) by mail now -- the only way possible due to corona--  but still has no answer by the time her initial visa runs out on 14 June? Or if the answer comes after that?

Even under normal circumstances, if you apply for a residence permit within your tourist visa stay, are you allowed to stay beyond that date if in process with the residence permit?

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52 minutes ago, pianostar69 said:

What happens if my US American friend submits a residence permit application (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels) by mail now -- the only way possible due to corona--  but still has no answer by the time her initial visa runs out on 14 June? Or if the answer comes after that?

 

For what type of permit does your friend want to apply? Is it just a delaying tactic or does she realistically think she can obtain a permit? Does she have sufficient funds to finance her stay without working until her permit is processed?

 

 

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2 hours ago, pianostar69 said:

Even under normal circumstances, if you apply for a residence permit within your tourist visa stay, are you allowed to stay beyond that date if in process with the residence permit?

When times were normal in August of 2019 I applied on roughly day 85 within my 90/180 day window and was allowed to stay.  I had to show that I had a place to live, proper health insurance, a means of support, ...  I was given a provisional permit with certain restrictions (a Fiktionsbescheinigung) to bridge the gap between when I applied for the residence permit and when I actually received it, since I received it long past when my travel visa would have been valid.  In my case it took 3 months.  With Corona who knows how long it might take?  

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