Questions about the Germany youth mobility visa

Your questions about the Germany youth mobility visa answered

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!

  • July 27 2016

    A couple of points from my experience getting the Youth Mobility Visa in Berlin:
    – I got my visa about a month ago, and a university degree was definitely not a requirement.
    – You can go online to make an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde, BUT be prepared for said appointment to be pretty far off; I booked within a week of arriving in Getmany, then had to wait over two months to actually get in.
    – As Candie mentioned in a previous post, before going to the Ausländerbehörde with your application, you must, must, must (MUST!) go to a Bürgeramt to register your address. I don’t know about the rest of Germany, but if you’re doing this in Berlin GO EARLY, and be prepared to wait a good long while.

    Hope this helps.

    • July 28 2016

      Yep! You can even book your Burgeramt appointment before you arrive in Germany. Which I highly recommend.

    • August 26 2016

      Hello Kyle and Candice,

      I had a question, when you scheduled your appointment at the Auslanderbehorde do you remember if it had a particular name. I have been having trouble booking an appointment at my local Auslanderbehorde in Schleswig as they are unsure of the of the process for extending the Youth Mobility Visa, which has been very frustrating to say the least. I was hoping you might have some information or insight on what the appointment was called or if there were an particular forms that had to be completed so I can help speed up the process!

      Thanks in advance.

      • August 29 2016

        Huh, that’s odd. It should be a pretty standardized process, haha. You’d just have to bring all your documents with you, and they’d have forms for you ready to be filled out. They basically give you a whole new visa. The 90-day thing doesn’t really make any sense, seeing as how we’d get 90 days in the Schengen anyway, but that’s Germany for ya.

  • September 21 2016

    Hi Candie,

    I’m also a Canadian who recently moved to Berlin under the YMV (arrived Sept 8, living with my partner, everything is done in terms of registration, etc.). I’m now trying to figure out the ways to stay longer than a year. For example, do I need to return to Toronto in order to reapply for the YMV? (who can we go to for guidance on the re-application process?) Are employers generally easy-going when it comes to helping foreigners get work permits? The YMV does not allow freelance work–how are you sustaining yourself? Do you plan on staying only for a year? Would love to chat.


    • September 23 2016

      I’m back in Canada now! I believe you can get the YMV for up to two years; I imagine the re-application process is the same but I don’t know for sure. I mostly lived off my savings. Nobody wanted to hire a non-German speaker for only a year, haha. But I didn’t really try all that hard either.

  • October 10 2016

    Hi Candice,

    This blog has been SUPER helpful. I was wondering about the prepaid express envelope; how big does it need to be for mail-in applications?

    Do they send back just my passport or do they also send back all my paperwork that I sent to them originally? If the later then I assume I need to provide a larger (at least 8.5×11) envelope?

    Thanks so much!

    • October 11 2016

      I sent a smaller prepaid envelope within a larger manila envelope! I can’t remember if they send back everything else, but I’d make photocopies just to be sure.

  • October 31 2016

    Hey I don’t know if you actually know but… Here is may deal. Got my visa in Canada, planned my health insurance fora year starting on the date I got to Germany. Couldn’t extend my visa in time so they gave my another 3 month visa ’till I got a new appointment. Now I wonder, I have been here for 6 months and I am finally going to the Auslanderbehörde, should I also extend my insurance ? Will they give me a 1 year visa or just a 6 month visa ?

    • November 07 2016

      It won’t be a year from your extension, but a year from when your initial temporary visa starts

  • February 05 2017

    Hello Candice!

    I totally agree with the previous comments: your blog is really well designed, interesting and helpful!

    My questions for you are about liability insurance:
    1) Did you buy it once you arrived in Germany or you bought it from a canadian insurance (before leaving the country)? In any case, which company did you choose?
    2) did you buy insurance before applying?

    Vielen Dank! ;)

    • February 05 2017

      Hum, I realize that I was maybe not that clear: my questions only concern liability insurance (not travel insurance). Thanks!!

    • February 06 2017

      Thanks so much Helene! :) You have to buy liability insurance once you arrive in Berlin, but it was such a long time ago now that I don’t remember where I bought it. Meanwhile, you can write a quick letter when applying for your visa saying that you will purchase liability insurance

  • May 31 2017
    Dana Kittilsen

    Hey, I’m in Germany now going through the same thing! I wish I’d read your blog before I started applying. As stupid as it is, I might have gone to Toronto all the way from Northern Alberta to apply instead of dealing with this temporary visa.

    I went to the Ausländerbehörde in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and they also were unfamiliar with the YMV, so now they are researching it.
    You mentioned about registering your address and visa online. Or did you mean you can just book appointments online? Any more info on this?

    • June 09 2017

      It’s crazy that they’re unfamiliar with it! Haha. I booked my appointment online, but had to register in person

  • June 17 2017

    I wish I discovered this blog before I came to Germany! It’s very helpful. I hope this questions hasn’t already been asked, but what is the website for the Ausländerbehörde? I have googled it to try and make my appointment but am a bit confused. I should add that the closest city to me in Stade. Danke :)

  • June 20 2017

    Hi, thanks so much for sharing all this info on your blog! Did you de-register as a Canadian resident when you moved to Germany or did you stay a resident and continue paying taxes while still being a German resident. Also, depending on your answer to that, did you keep your Canadian health care coverage and have the travel insurance as well or just rely on the coverage from Merit and lose your Canadian coverage?

    • June 21 2017

      Yes, I de-registered! Otherwise anyone moving into your apartment space will not be able to register. I didn’t keep my healthcare coverage in Canada, but I wish I had. I advise keeping it.

  • July 11 2017

    Hi, helpful read! I am trying to go to Munich for a 4-month internship starting mid-August, but I could not get an in-person appointment at the Toronto consulate until Aug 3rd. Is it possible to have the visa mailed to me in Munich so that I can pick it up when I arrive? Or do I need to pick up the visa in person at the consulate? Or perhaps I could request the Visa mailed to an address in Canada and have a relative/friend mail it to me in Munich? Thanks in advance!

    • August 04 2017

      Hi Curtis, I would call the consulate and ask them.

  • September 04 2017

    Hey Candie!
    This blog post is SO helpful, just so you know, I successfully applied for the Youth Mobility Visa in person while already in Germany, so it IS possible to do so!

    I wrote a bit about how to do it while you are already in Germany. Check it out!

  • November 09 2017

    I am living in Germany right now with a youth mobility visa and they are now telling me that I need to pay for monthly German insurance (Krankenkasse) eventhough I already have the Canadian insurance that they made me buy in order to get my visa in the first place. My boss is saying I need it but the Ausländeramt said I don’t. Then I spoke to someone else from the Ausländeramt and then said I do need it. I went back there to pick up my ausweiß last week and the woman told me this time that i don’t need to pay Krankenkasse with my visa. I’ve already signed up for it, by the way, in order to keep my job. So now I’m paying almost $1000 Canadian for the 1 year insurance policy I took out to get the visa, plus the near $150 per month for my new German Krankenkasse. Why can nobody in this government give me a straight answer to a simple question like this???! Why is the office for foreigners not able to answer questions about visas for foreigners? Anyone have any tips??

    • November 09 2017

      UGH that sucks. I think this must be a new thing that’s been introduced. I’m in a “Canadians in Berlin” FB group and they mentioned there might be a new rule now where you have to have insurance from a GERMAN company. But the info on the Embassy site is conflicting. If you resolve this issue, let me know! Maybe worth talking to an expats company? They might know more.

  • November 28 2017

    Thank you for taking the time to compile all of this info – you’ve created such a great resource!
    I live in Victoria and also will have to mail my application to Toronto and I wanted to know how far in advance of your flight you sent in your application. Did you send it a full six months before your departure date?

    • December 03 2017

      I got everything together just a few weeks from my departure date! They’re pretty quick. I wouldn’t leave it any less than 2 weeks, though.

      • December 04 2017

        Amazing! Thank you.
        I have one last question. How long was your initial reservation (hostel/etc) booked for when you initially applied?

        Thank you!

        • December 13 2017

          I think I literally just had it booked for one day! Lol. They just needed an address.

  • January 09 2018

    Ok I lied, I have another question.

    I’m getting conflicting information regarding the whole notarizing thing. The Toronto Consulate General (who are super quick at responding to emails) state that I need to have each signature notarized on both sets of documents (because I have to send two original copies of everything).

    The YMA website says: “Your signatures on both sets need to be certified by a notary public, by the German Consulate General in Vancouver or by one of our Honorary Consuls.” which sounds like it could be just a letter.

    This is causing some confusion at the notary office I’m in contact with because there is no space on the forms for a notary signature.

    Did you get every signature notarized no problem?

    • January 10 2018

      I don’t remember notarizing all signatures, but if the consulate says you should, then I’d do it! The lawyer who notarized my documents just stamped the page with his seal and signed it wherever. There wasn’t a space specifically for the notary, as far as I remember

      • January 10 2018

        German bureaucracy has Canadian lawyers confused! Too bad all of Canada doesn’t live within driving distance to Toronto, ya know?

  • March 09 2018
    Kelsey Jackson

    I’m in Germany now I bought Canadian travellers insurance through RBC for unlimited emergency coverage for the year I plan on staying here. Now that I’m trying to complete my visa the foreign office is saying I need to have regular insurance for doctors appointments (check ups) as well.
    I already got my initial visa back from Toronto (I did it by mail since I’m from Alberta) and it was accepted up to that point but now that I’m here they’re saying I need to buy even MORE insurance. Also, my insurance meets the requirements of those on the Germany Embassy in Toronto website. Thoughts? Where would I be able to buy this “regular” insurance if I have to end up buying it?

    • March 27 2018

      Sorry I missed this, Kelsey! I’m surprised by that. My traveller’s insurance was just fine for the Embassy. Can you get a second opinion somewhere?

  • April 12 2018

    Hey Candice!

    Just want to start off with saying that this is a great blog. It was very helpful towards the whole visa process!

    I am currently waiting for my YMV in the mail for a second time because I had a notary public problem the first time.

    Just wondering if they give you a processing number or any feedback during the process or did you just constantly checked the mail? I was a little frustrated they gave me minimum feedback when they sent it back and now I’m worried that they’re gonna send it back with another problem without warning and I fly out of the country in less than 3 weeks.

    Anyways, any insight on the waiting/processing period would be awesome!


    • May 14 2018

      Hi Patrick, I’m sorry it took so long to respond to this! Hopefully you’ve resolved everything

  • December 21 2018

    Hi, in the section where it’s asking for residence permit. What am I suppose to write? I have Canadian passport and I thought that’s all you need, did you leave that blank as well?

    • December 21 2018

      You can’t get your residence permit until you’re in Germany, so leave it blank. If you’re applying by mail you’ll have to finish the registration process in Germany. Make sure you get your residence permit first before you to go extend your visa!

  • October 11 2019
    Micah Schroeder

    Hi there,

    I have a simple question. How does one go about booking an appointment with the alien affairs office in Germany once you arrive within that first 90 days and how long does it take to get an appointment? I can’t seem to find anything online about how one can book this appointment. Let me know if you can help! thanks!

  • August 09 2020
    Ella Bylsma

    I am going to be applying for the YMV in Germany upon arrival. I will be living with my boyfriend in an apartment (as he is from Germany). Do I have to attend an appointment with the aliens authority office in Berlin? I cannot find any information about whether or not I can do that appointment in any city. He is from Koln but we will be living close to the Czech border (in Selb).
    Do you know if I can try and get m visa approved in Koln? Or will I have to make a trip to Berlin.

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