Germany is a very bureaucratic nation, so this was a tricky visa to figure out the German working visa. I had looked at a working holiday visa for Germany when I was abroad, but it seemed to be difficult to do, so I ended up in the country anyhow on a tourist visa.
In Köln (Cologne), Germany, I went to the Rathaus (The Town Hall) to inquire about a working visa. I was not at the right place, but a man in an office made about three phone calls and got some answers for me with information that I needed. In Germany, if you have a Canadian passport (or a Japanese passport, plus some other countries-unfortunately these are the only two countries I can remember being listed) that you are entitled to an endless supply of one one year working visas in their country. It does not matter what age you are for this visa, as long as you have the right passport you can get this visa even if you are 80 years old. One can show up here with nothing if you are from Canada and you can just get a job. Then, three months after you have arrived in Germany, you have to apply for your residence permit for €25. Of course, it was not quite that easy, but that is the jist of how it works.
I found a company that wanted to hire me. However, administration within the company was tricky because the Germans like to follow rules, and at the company that wanted to hire me does not like to offer a contract for work without all of the potential-employees immigration papers in place, but in this case the visa required a job to be in place because then immigration papers would come after. It took some convincing, but eventually they offered the contract for work which set the entire process in motion.
The requirement for this visa was:
• An employment request form from the employer who wanted to hire me. That company had to write a letter explaining that they wanted me because of the skills I had which would benefit them (in my case it was my English speaking ability).
• A place to live where I was registered with the city as ‘residing’ within and that had to be the same city where I was applying for the visa from.*
• A paper stating what I was paying in rent to my landlord.
• Proof that I had travel insurance, no matter what timeline was remaining on the premium and eventually I would need to buy German health insurance.
• Proof of support funds was not required anywhere.
It was all a far cry from the, ‘Just get a job first and then everything will fall into place in terms of paperwork,’ that I was told when I first arrived and inquired. The trouble with Germany is the bureaucratic system they have where no one is in bed with anyone and nothing is connected, so no one really has proper information for the process. Once I have everything in order, I had to pay a fee of €40 for the process of the visa, left them my passport and they told me that it would take two to three weeks to have the visa in place. By the time the company-specific two-page working-visa sticker was placed in my passport and ready to go, the process had taken four weeks.
The German working visa was for one calendar year, but there was no limitation on how many times I could re-apply for the visa after it expired.
*When I registered with the city, they give me a book of information, and a roll of garbage bags. Ah, the Germans…