I wrote a post awhile back about everything I did wrong when applying for the Germany youth mobility visa. Since then, I’ve been flooded almost daily with your own questions. So I thought I’d put together a little FAQ session.
Take some time to scroll these questions to see if yours are the same (because nobody seems to bother to read through the comments on the previous post). I can’t answer them all, because I don’t work for the embassy, but I’ll at least share my own personal experience.
*NOTE: This post applies to Canadians only.
What was your letter of intent? Did you just write it up or was it an actual form?
My letter of intent was just a formal letter stating why I wanted to come to Germany, citing things like how I was interested in the culture and I wanted to learn German. There’s no form — think of it as a cover letter.
How long did it take for your visa to arrive after you mailed in the application?
It took about 10 days, but give yourself some time (I sent the wrong kind of cheque the first time and had to send it in later).
Did you need a return ticket back from Germany to Canada or was simply a ticket there sufficient?
Just a one-way ticket is required, but your travel insurance will have to cover the entire year.
What insurance company did you go with?
It was harder than I thought it would be to find insurance to cover me for a full year. World Nomads is my usual go to, but my dates muddled things a little.
I probably could have phoned in to arrange something, but I found a cheaper rate with Merit Travel anyway. It tends to be the go-to insurance for Canadians doing the SWAP program abroad. A full year cost me nearly $800.
Another excellent option: Safety Wing. This travel insurance company will cover you for a year for nearly half the price of what I paid. You can get a quote for free — just make sure it covers the requirements for your visa.
When you mailed it in did you send originals of everything or did you make copies?
You have to send in your originals, absolutely.
Do you know if you apply in person if you have to pick it up in person or does it get mailed to you?
I didn’t apply in person, so I’m unsure. I’d imagine you have to pick it up though. It’s likely that if you apply in person you’ll receive your visa straight away as well.
Were you able to open a bank account prior to having your residence permit?
You cannot open a bank account until you have a residence permit.
What kind of insurance did you have?
I bought travelcuts insurance, through Merit. It covered everything I needed for one year, except insurance for my return flight as I hadn’t booked it at that time.
Do you need two references in Canada for the application?
I don’t remember doing this, but another reader responded: “I simply attached an extra sheet to my application which had the names, addresses and contact information of both my parents, and I added a good friend of mine on there for good measure. It was sufficient.”
Did you have to fill in your Express return envelope or did you just give it blank?
You must fill it in.
What did you put when you were filling out the application form as your means of subsistence?
I believe this is how much money you have in savings (you should have at least 2000EUR).
Where can I get “A letter saying your signature has been certified by a notary consulate”?
You can hit up pretty much any lawyer at a law firm and he/she can do this for you. Some will demand a price, but you should be able to find someone to do it for free. Send out some emails.
I’m just trying to figure out if you need to send your original passport in the application or whether a copy signed by a notary is ok?
You have to send in your passport so that the consulate can affix the visa.
What do I need to bring to my Auslandebehorde (alien affairs) appointment once I’m in Berlin?
Bring absolutely everything you submitted to the German consulate in Canada, and also your residency permit (Anmeldung). Paperwork is vital! Be organized.
What ages does the Germany Youth Mobility tour encompass?
18 to 35.
How difficult is it to find a job in Berlin?
It depends — it’s hard to work anywhere in service without German. But if you have certain skills (especially IT), you’ll get snatched up pretty quick.
The form specifies that you must pay the visa fee by certified cheque only – in bold letters. Would you happen to know if a bank draft is acceptable?
A bank draft is acceptable (as far as I remember), or a money order. Go talk to your bank and discuss your options. A personal cheque won’t do (my mistake).
On the visa form it says to state references in the Federal Republic of Germany. What if I don’t know anyone?
I think you can leave this blank — I’m pretty sure I did. I didn’t know anyone either.
I just read on the website that one of the requirements is a university degree… Is this true?
I don’t remember providing this info. I perhaps mentioned it, but never provided proof.
Can the youth mobility visa be extended in Germany when it expires? and can it be turned into a job/study visa?
I think you can stay for up to two years, but you may have to go through the process again. It cannot be turned into a job/study visa — those are very different application processes, and a job visa would require a sponsorship from your employer.
If you’d like to take the hassle out of the moving process, I highly recommend hiring a company like Nomaden Berlin to help you get settled in. They’ll give you tons of visa support and will also help with finding a place to live (which is probably the hardest part of moving to Berlin).
Hope that helps!