How to get a Youth Mobility Visa while in Germany

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!

27 thoughts 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. 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?

    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.


    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.

  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?”

    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!

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