How to get a Youth Mobility Visa while in Germany

48 comments

I began traveling around Europe with big dreams and plans of where to go and how long I wanted to stay. Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal… I had plans to stay for at least a year and just travel around to my hearts content! I would be hopping countries every 30 days or so, so I didn’t even think it was a possibility I would need a visa. Then someone mentioned the Schengen area.

The what?!

The Schengen Area is made up of the following 26 countries:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

The Schengen countries have a border-free agreement that allows the residents to move and work freely throughout the entire area. Great, right? Except for citizens who are not from the Schengen. We are allowed entry into the Area for 90 days within any 180-day period. The days don’t need to be consecutive, the clock begins the day you arrive and doesn’t reset until day 181.

For example, if I enter the Schengen for 30 days in May, then come back for 30 days in July, it is 60 days in 180 days.

If you’re like me and have big dreams of plans of where to go and how long you want to stay, how do you stay in Europe longer???

1) You can sort your trip out to move in and out of the Schengen while you are traveling.
You could begin your trip in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, for 90 days, and then move over to the Balkans and take another 90 days to see Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, and up through Serbia. Then back into the Schengen for 90 days, then out (maybe to Morocco?), etc. It is totally possible, it just requires a bit of planning and counting days on a calendar.

2) You can get a visa for a country in the Schengen. If you take a language course in a country, for example Spain, you can apply for a student visa in that country, and with that visa, you can travel freely within the Schengen. Many countries have agreements between them to allow citizens to apply for working holiday visas. A working holiday visa allows visitors to live and work in the country, and again, travel freely within the Schengen. Every country has a different agreement, the best place to look is on your country’s government website.

I am Canadian, I am under the age of 35, and I decided to apply for a Youth Mobility Visa in Germany. This would allow me to work in Germany, if I want to, and to travel freely in all the Schengen countries.

This blog post is about how I registered, got my residence permit, and received my Youth Mobility Visa in Germany.

What the Canadian government website tells you is that you have to apply for your Youth Mobility Visa while in Canada, BEFORE you arrive in Germany. This is not the case anymore. You CAN apply for this visa while in Germany. I repeat, you CAN apply for the Youth Mobility Visa while already in Germany. Apparently some of the aliens authorities are not familiar with the process, as it is new, but the one in Berlin knows about it.

This is how you can get your visa in Berlin, Germany:

Step 1)
You must register at a Bürgeramt
You can make an appointment three weeks in advance, at this website (Make an appointment here). You can also walk in, take a number, and wait. (Some of the Bürgeramts are by appointment only, so make sure if you are going to test your luck with a number, you don’t go to these ones. Check out the list here).
To register, you can bring a rental agreement and written confirmation of occupancy from the landlord
Some hotels and hostels will allow you to register as a resident there.
This step is mostly so they see you aren’t going to sleep on a park bench.

Once you have the certificate of registration, make a photocopy of it!

If you plan to drive in Germany, you will need to get a German driver’s license at the Bürgeramt also. But you will need a second appointment for that. (Read a bit about driving in Germany, and around Europe in general, here).

 

Step 2)
Go to the Ausländerbehörde a few hours before it opens (the hours are Monday and Tuesday at 7am, and Thursday at 10am). Straight up, we arrived on Monday morning at 6am, and there were already 60 people ahead of us in the queue. We took our number and waited about an hour and a half until we were seen.

What you need to bring with you:

  1. A valid passport
  2. 1 current biometric photo
    35mm x 45mm, frontal shot with neutral facial expression and closed mouth, looking straight into the camera, light background
    You can have this taken at a photography studio OR go to one of the PassPhoto booths in any main train station in Germany and take them there.
  3. Foreign travellers’ health insurance that is valid for one year
  4. Proof of funds in the amount of at least 2000 Euros
    you can print off a bank statement
  5. The Application for Issuance of a Residence Permit (The form in English, German, French, and Italian: download it here)
  6. The photocopy of the certificate of registration from the Bürgeramt

This is how I did it! It took just one day. They granted my visa in the moment. It was a bit of paperwork and running around to different offices, but now, I can stay in the Schengen for the entire year, move freely around, and even work in Germany if I so choose!

 

And once you’re in Germany, here are some things to do!

 

If you have any questions or comments about the process, please send me a message or comment below! Do you have a different experience? Or tips for visas in another country? Let me know!

48 comments on “How to get a Youth Mobility Visa while in Germany”

  1. France has a similar youth visa agreement with Canada that covers Canadian citizens up to age 35. I’m not sure if you can apply for it within the country (I did my application by mail from Calgary), but it could mean an additional year for you within the Schengen Zone! Plus, of course, another 90 days as a tourist between the visas and 90 days after 😀

    We applied for out German YMVs in person in Vancouver and the process was super simple. No waiting in line at 6am 😉

    1. Hey, just wondering how long it took you to receive the visa after you applied in person in Vancouver?

      Thanks 🙂

    2. Hello, Daniel here, How can you apply for your youth mobility visa in Vancouver? I went to the German consulate and they told me to go the swiss consulate across the way and said you can’t apply. Need help please!

      1. Hi Daniel! Gosh, I just don’t know how to get the visa in Vancouver. I was able to apply for my working holiday visa while I was already in Germany. I went straight to the citizenship office in Berlin and applied in person. I don’t know how to apply in person in Canada. I’m sorry I can’t be more help. Good luck!

  2. Hi.

    I just wanted to know did you have to have an agreement to live in Berlin?

    And what kind of health insurance do you recommend?

    1. Yes, I registered at a friend’s address while I stayed there. Some hotels and hostels will allow you to register there, or you can always try peopleon Airbnb!
      I have travelers health insurance through Tugo and I didn’t think it was too expensive!

  3. Hey Beth,
    I’m about to apply for the extension at the Berlin Auslanderbehorde, but based on what you did, it sounds like there isn’t much difference between the people who applied from Canada like myself, and are given this 90-day temporary residence visa, and people like you, who simply entered on a 90 day Schengen Visa. I ask because, I’m assuming that means you got 1 year from the day you went to Auslanderbehorde, whereas I might only be given 9 months (8 technically since my appointment isn’t for another month, and I’ve already been here 90 days), if they treat it as an extension to my existing residence visa. I’m wondering if I should extend my health insurance for a full year from October 26th (the day of my appointment) and see if they will give me a 1 year visa. I’d love to not have to deal with this again in 8 months.

    1. Hey! As far as I’m aware, the visa is always for one year, not including the 90 days you’ve been there. Mine is for an entire year from the day I went to the Auslanderbehorde and I showed my health insurance for the entire year!
      Hope that helps!

      1. Hi So this worked! A few updates on this note:

        First off. Beth is awesome! Where the F is she?

        * It will start from the day you apply. I applied for mine about 3 weeks after I landed. But you can do it towards the end of your 90 days . I did not want to swallow the risk if something went wrong
        * Have your Residency paperwork ready. It should be in Berlin. I am not sure if another city would work. I did not dare ask.
        * If you are there after 5:15am you may not get seen. If you are there after 5:45am you probably will not get seen. I was there at 4:30am without a hitch.
        * If you have a meeting that may work, but from what I have read you may end up waiting the same amount of time as someone who just shows up
        * Try and speak German, even if your German sucks
        * You need health insurance
        * Follow Beths notes as closely as you can. I did and it worked for me :0)

        Again. Beth is awesome. But who and where the F is she?
        (trying the Berlin club thing on Thursday)

      2. So I should arrive at my appointment with 1 year of health insurance then, because mine is currently only valid for a year from the day I arrived, which was over 3 months ago now.

  4. Dear Beth,
    I am currently living abroad and plan to move to Hamburg by the end of November, I will return for Canada for a week but obviously it;s not enough for a YMV application. I would like to do the same as you but in Hamburg.
    However I have been sending email to the Hamburg welcome center and they reply that they do not make YMV. I wonder if I should do it in Berlin or perhaps “argue” with Hamburg office that that are suppose to do it?
    Yao

    1. Hello, Yao! I would try emailing the Canadian consulate in Hamburg. That’s how we got the information for Berlin. If there isn’t one there, try emailingthe consulate in Berlin and seeing if they can help you! I have no idea if this process is even possible in Hamburg. I only write about what I know! Good luck!! 👍

    2. Hi Yao,

      Did your visa application get accepted in Berlin even though you are moving to Hamburg? Wondering because I am hoping to do the same except stay in Düsseldorf.

      Thanks!
      Celine

    3. Hey Yao! I’m about to apply for a YMV in Hamburg as well, did you end up being able to do it? Did you need to go to Berlin? Any info would be appreciated 🙂

  5. Hello Dear Beth, great information, thank you! I was wondering if with this youth agreement could you choose to work anywhere else other than Germany should you want to try France or any other country in the Schengen list? Thank you so much!

    1. Hey Marina!
      The work visa allows you to work only in the country in which it was issued. With a visa for Germany you can only work in Germany. If you want to work in France, you’ll need a work visa there. With the German visa you can travel freely within the Schengen, just not work everywhere.
      I hope this helps!

  6. Great post! It’s also possible to apply for a second-year YMV under a different category directly in Germany. I run a Working Holiday company in Berlin which provides visa support as part of our relocation package as It can be quite tough applying for the YMV independently. We also provide an address registration service. Participants on our program with our assistance find the visa process very straight-forward. For anyone looking for extra help with the move to Berlin check out our Working Holiday packages. http://www.nomadenberlin.com

  7. I’m about to try out the exact same process! I’m a Canadian studying abroad in Spain. With my program we have internships starting in March and I happened to get one in Berlin. I’ve been going crazy trying to figure out my best option of how to do it. With one month to go before I leave, the German embassy in Madrid is useless because their processing time is close to 8 weeks!!

    So now my last option is applying for the visa once I arrive, but I want to be sure I receive it in time to not mess up my start date at my firm.

    A couple questions I have are:

    1. Am I guaranteed to get the visa on the spot if I have all the right documents?

    2. As I’m a student, I won’t be staying for a year but only six months. Can I get health insurance for 6 months ? Or does it have to be a full year?

    3. Lastly, what health insurance did you use? I’m currently trying to find a good one (that the alien authorities will accept).

    Thank you for any advice you can give me. I really want to be sure I do this correctly!

    1. Hey girl, how cool you are going to Berlin for your internship! Berlin is such a cool city! Ok, in order of your questions:
      1. I can’t say whether or not you are guaranteed a visa the same day. I got mine same day, so I’m sure yours won’t be any different, but I can’t guarantee it.
      2. This is a good question. I am sure 6 months of health insurance would be fine, what you could do is include a printout of your flight out of Berlin so they see you are only there for 6 months? It might work. I’m pretty sure you can buy a year of health insurance though, and then cancel it after 6 months. (When I applied for my visa I included my flight information for the 2 week trip I took home to show them why I didn’t have travel insurance for those 2 weeks…)
      3. I went through Allianz. It was the only one I found that could start my coverage while I was already out of country.

      I really hope this helps! If you have anymore questions, feel free to comment here, or of course, check the contact page and send me an email! 🙂

  8. I have seen this question a few times

    “Can I register in another city except Berlin?”

    https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/305265/en/

    Says its Berlin.

    But does anyone know? Canadian citizens can obtain two youth mobility visa, and I want to be prepared for next year to come.

    Maybe I will find out the situation here in Cologne and post up.

    If anyone else knows please feel free to post up

  9. I live in Düsseldorf on a Student Visa but would like to switch to that one for after. Hoping it’s possible to do there.

  10. Hey Beth, thanks for all the information. Quick question, do you know a hostel that will allow me to register my address with them? If not do you know of a easy way of doing that rather than agreeing to a rental agreement for a long term place?

  11. Hi, Beth, thanks for all the information. Quick question, do you know a hostel that will allow me to register my address with them? If not do you know of a easy way of doing that rather than agreeing to a rental agreement for a long term place?

    1. Hi Nick!
      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, your comment was missed. I don’t know a hostel at which you can register your address. I was able to use a friend’s address, and then used the address of a willing Airbnb host to register the van we bought! I hope my reply isn’t too late.
      Good luck!

  12. Hi,
    How can I show a 1 year Insurance that covers the Visa duration if I am already in Germany ? So I have already started “using” that 1 year insurance.
    I called a couple of insurance company and none would make contract longer than 1 year.
    I am afraid they will refuse my application.

    1. Oh gosh, Eli. I’m really not sure. I was able to have an insurance company begin my insurance at a later date, so they covered me for the last half of my trip.
      I hope it works out for you!

  13. Hey there, I’m a Canadian citizen under 35 looking to apply for the YMV. This thread has been very helpful and has made most everything quite clear to me except for one thing which seems to be the unsolved mystery of this type of visa. Everywhere I look it says Berlin is where I apply for residence and the visa… but I’m not looking to live or work in Berlin. I have moved in with my girlfriend and her sister who live in Bonn and I wish to apply for my residence permit and visa here in Bonn but so far the information is unclear and I am concerned that the only option is Berlin. It seems strange to me that only one city in the entire country allows for this type of visa. If anyone has any updates about applying in other cities here in Germany I would be very grateful. Perhaps I can apply for both my residence permit in Berlin stating that I am living in Bonn and then apply for the visa there as well… but I would like to save myself the trip if it is unnecessary. I will be going to city hall and the immigration office here in Bonn in the next few days to hopefully get a better idea of the situation. I will post an update of what I find. Thanks for all the info!

    1. Hey!!
      In order to get your residence permit for the YMV you must FIRST register an address with a city (ANY CITY – typically the city you plan on living in).
      Then you must apply for the residence permit at the foreign authority (Ausländerbehörde) in the SAME city where you have registered your address.
      ex. If you register your address in Munich you must apply at the Munich Foreign Authority.

      However I ran into some seriously problems with trying to get my permit as not every foreign authority is aware of the YMV. I had no problem registering my address with the city (I live with my boyfriend and registered his apartment) but I just had the most stressful two weeks trying to prove to them that this program exists so I contacted the Canadian Embassy in Berlin and they said this to me:

      “Unfortunately, this is by no means the first time we have heard about a situation like yours, and it is in fact alarmingly common. Because there are so many foreigners’ offices across Germany and there appears to be limited communication among them in terms of policy and practice, there are huge discrepancies in how they deal with individual cases. Since there are relatively very few people who attempt to get a working holiday visa in Germany as Canadians, most of these offices are not familiar with it. Sadly, because they have not heard of it, they seem to assume that it must not exist. In larger cities, such as Berlin and Hamburg, where far more Canadian applicants are applying, the in-house working holiday visa for Canadians has become a commonplace and straightforward process.”

      Basically, in smaller cities (like Ulm, where I currently am) they aren’t always well informed and since they are the ones deciding whether you get the visa or not, it can be an issue.
      If you think you might have an issue I recommend going with as much information about the program as possible (more than just your application and required documents). This unfortunately didn’t work for me (as they still did not believe me – which was SUPER shocking) but I am going back tomorrow (yes this is happening right now) with support from the embassy who even offered to speak to them on my behalf.
      The Canadian embassy in Berlin actually has an office dedicated to the YMV and if you are having trouble with the foreign authority in the city you are applying I suggest sending them an email and they will provide you with the information and supporting documents you might need.

      This SHOULD be a relatively easy and painless process and you SHOULD get it on the spot, but if you are in a smaller city be prepared as you might be met with some resistance.
      Good luck everyone and I hope this helps!!

      1. update: i was successful in getting the residence permit!
        the information i got from the embassy was super helpful and the office really appreciated it and kept everything for anyone who comes in the future to apply
        i have copies of all the documents they gave me so feel free to contact me if you think you’ll need them

      2. Hey Tamara I would be very grateful if you could send me a copy of the documents you have received that helped you get your residence permit. Were there any requirements set in place? I am still having trouble applying here in Bonn, it is starting to drive me crazy. Thank you!

      3. Hi Tamara! I sent you an email regarding further questions on the residence permit and the documents you were provided by the Canadian embassy in Berlin. Would so appreciate a response 🙂 Thanks in advance!

      4. Hi Tamara,

        Could you give the email adress where to reach the canadian embassy in Berlin ?
        I got my YMV last week but it expire in 10 months instead of 12 months
        I arrived in Germany last July, and apply in September, but my visa expire in July 2019 and not in September 2019. And the Authority in my city don’t want to change anything.

        Thanks !

        Btw, is working holiday visa the same as Youth Mobility Visa ? On my papers, it is written:”Working holiday”…

      1. Hi Tamara,
        I seem to be having the exact same issue. If you wouldn’t mind sending me the information from the embassy as well that would be awesome. I have sent you an email.

      2. Hi Tamara,

        I had the same exact thing happen! I’m so glad to see that I was not the only one!
        Quick question: if I have already registered with an address in Bodensee (my boyfriend’s address) where the foreigner’s office didn’t know about this Youth Mobility Visa (and therefore didn’t issue me one), do I still have to go to Berlin to complete my process? Can I take my registered address in Bodensee to Berlin, will they accept an address outside of Berlin, or do I have to have proof of residence in Berlin?
        Or is it a better idea to go back to the Auslanderbehorde in Bodensee and press the issue until they give me my YMA visa? Thanks!

        Also, please send me the information from the embassy about this issue, I would really appreciate it!
        Elif

  14. Hi! Thank you all for the information, especially Beth. I am curious how early I have to head to the Ausländerbehörde as of now for the same day Youth Mobility Visa in Berlin? I suspect the demands have increased. I plan to apply early Nov, 2018. Does anyone have a more recent experience (similar to Luke Morrison)?

    I have 3 weeks in Toronto before my flight to Germany (currently traveling in SEA), and have booked an appointment in Toronto as a backup. However, I feel uncomfortable with the idea of them possibly keeping my Passport for 3 months.

  15. Hey Tamara!
    Thank you so much for your very helpful post! I just sent you an E-Mail as my boyfriend is going to try to get his residency permit in Munich and he would very much appreciate to have those copies of documents too to be prepared.
    In case it works wih getting the residency permit in Munich: where do we have to go to get the final visa?
    Thank you again and cheers from Munich,
    Lisa

  16. Hi Beth, My understanding regarding registration is that you need to have a full lease agreement. If that is not the case, can you advise on suitable hotels in general that allow for registration, or steps to take when booking a hotel to confirm that they will allow this? Thank you for your help.

    1. Hey Julie! I didn’t personally register at a hotel, but I was successful with Airbnb! I would look for a host who is willing to let you register with their address!
      Hope that helps! Good luck!!

  17. Hi,
    I applied last Septembre for the Youth Mobility Visa in my city in Germany and got the Visa last week.
    I notice that the expiration date is july 2019 (I arrived in Germany in july 2018) and not Septembre 2019 (The date I applied + 12 months). So, 2 months “are missing”.
    I went back to the Immigration Office today to tell them about this. The lady told me it is the way it works, that it starts the date I enter Germany, which I don’t agree with. But it is quite hard to agrue with those people..

    Anyone had that problem ? Or any idea where I should call or go ?

    Thanks,

  18. Dear Beth,

    First off, let me thank you for writing this post. My UK Youth Mobility is finishing soon, and I plan on continuing my globetrotting in Germany. As with the UK one, the blogs seem to be much clearer than the official instructions.
    However, I am still confused about certain things. Would you happen to know if I need the rental agreement or just the written confirmation of occupancy as I will be staying with my uncle until the visa is issued? My main problem for now is with the health insurance. How did you manage to get the insurance to be as long as the visa? Does it have to completely overlap?

    Kind regards,

    Emel

    1. Hi Emel! Thanks for reading, I’m glad it was helpful for you. I imagine a written confirmation would be ok – but I can’t say for certain. I think the gov’t just needs to see you won’t be homeless while you’re there.
      As for health insurance, yes it needs to be for the entire duration of your visa. I bought it for a few months, and then had to extend coverage while I was out of country (which costs more), in order to make the dates line up.
      Hopefully this helps!

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