Germany for the win! I have a work visa!
As you may have read in my last blog post on bureaucracy I was about ready to cry after my experience at the Italian consulate. I decided to take a look at what other countries had to offer and since my cousin Greg had been touting all of Germany's many wonderful benefits I decided to look into it. For any Canadians out there from 18-35 years old Germany and Canada now have an agreement called the "Youth Mobility Agreement" which encourages young Canadians to have a cultural work experience in Germany. There are a few different types and the website states that:
Under the YMA, the German Foreign Missions may issue a visa to the following individuals:
-young Canadians interested in work and travel during their stay in Germany
-young Canadians who wish to do an internship
-Canadian post-secondary students
It's free of charge to apply for it and lasts for an entire year. The major requirements other than age are that you have to have full travel and health insurance paid for before you even apply for the visa for an entire year and a one way ticket booked (although they didn't even check for this at the consulate.)
So I really had no idea what to expect when I made my appointment for the consulate. I went it with a binder full of paper work...proof of everything under the sun including a three times revised letter of invitation from my cousin. I was ready for anything.
My appointment at the beautiful German consulate in downtown Vancouver was scheduled for 11:00am. I arrived exactly on time and was out of there in eight minutes flat. The visa officer was warm and friendly, even commenting on my German middle name (my mom's maiden name). She took my application, looked at my health insurance, quickly peeked at my passport and then said, "You can pick up your visa tomorrow morning." I just looked at her for a moment dumbfounded and replied, "I'm sorry? What? That's it? Tomorrow?" She smiled and nodded and said, "Yes, it's our easiest visa." She didn't even look at the flights I had painstakingly booked, my letter of invite, my financial records...nope. I was in. Apparently Germans love Canadians. So far so good anyway. I glanced around the immaculate, peaceful consulate which has stunning views of the mountains and ocean and almost laughed. What a difference from the Italian consulate. Now if I could only import Italian food and language into Germany...hmmm.
About a week later (since I couldn't come in any earlier) I went to the consulate to pick up my passport and visa and once again was out of there in eight minutes flat. Since eight has always been my lucky number (with my birth date of eights) I figure this is a good sign.
So, with passport and visa in hand I can now work legally in Germany as of March 12th, 2012 in any job I can get (which may be slightly limited due to my current lack of German skills...hey at least I can say "I don't understand" and "I bring you new sacrifices" in German...) other than au-pair work (they apparently don't want us English speakers coming in and corrupting German kids with our North American English) and starting my own business.
Anyways, visa and paperwork may not be the most scintillating of topics, but I tell ya, when your life plans are in the hands of some bureaucrat in an office, you suddenly care...a lot.
Eruope....here I come! Are you ready for me? :)