6 September 2011

Visa (not the credit card)

Tomorrow, I'll be heading down to Germany's consulate in Toronto to submit my application for a 1-year work visa. 

Fortunately, as a Canadian under 35, I qualify for this FREE visa under the Youth Mobility Agreement that Canada and Germany has.  Clearly, Canada and Germany are all buddy-buddy and want young people from their countries to get out and see the world (or at least some of it), and have made it very easy for their citizens to spend a year abroad in the other country. 

There are 4 categories of the visa under the Youth Mobility Agreement (YMA . . . not to be confused with YMCA):
a: Work and Travel
b: Young Professionals - who have employment lined up
c: Post Secondary Students - who want to work on an academic break
d: Internship - for people who want to do an internship as part of their studies or training

I'm applying under the "work and travel" section, which basically gives me carte blanche (or Weisse Karte, for those wanting to keep it German) to work wherever and in whatever capacity I can.  It also means that I would be free to legally tour and gig in Germany, or work in at a cafe, or whatever comes up.

What is necessary for this?  Not a heck of a lot, to be honest.  Basically, there are 3 "declarations."  The first is that all the information I'm giving is truthful.  The second is that I have enough money to live off of, and I'm using the "work" part of the work and travel visa to supplement my savings, and the third is a declaration that I will be covered by "Personal Liability Insurance" for the extent of my stay in Germany.  This last one was a bit confusing, but I was assured that this insurance will cover me if I cause damage or destroy stuff while in Germany.

Of course, you also need to fill out the application form, which is 4 pages (not too onerous).  Then you need to have a valid passport for the entire length of the stay in Germany, a passport photo for them to have on file, you need to have a booked plane ticket into Germany, and a booked place to stay (or a letter saying that you'll stay where you're staying).  

You also need health insurance for your entire stay.  This was not all that easy to find, as most travel health insurance plans only cover you for up to 6 months.  However, going through some "ex-patriat" plans, I was able to find one that offered decent coverage for what I needed, but also wasn't too expensive!  You also need to describe your intentions within Germany (I intend to ROCK!) and prove your "bonds" to Canada (names of family members).

And that's it!  Not a whole lot in the long run!

And so, tomorrow, I begin the process. 

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