Thursday, January 30, 2014

Our Trip to the Ausländerbehörde

It's now 17:00 (5:00pm) here in Berlin. A cold day, but not when you're dressed right. We woke up his morning with the sole purpose of getting ready for, and getting to our visa application appointment, which was scheduled for 13:30 (1:30pm). We arrived nearly one hour early at the huge, imposing Auslanderbehorde building, which gave us time to settle in and relax. We met our attorney at 13:15, and with her confident smile, we chatted and laughed (albeit a nervous laugh) until our number popped up on the screen.

Hugging by the frozen river.
We didn't say a word aside from "Hallo", "Ja", and "Danke Schön". The few hundred euros in attorney fees was well worth the ease of sitting back and letting someone else do the talking. We were in there for only a couple of minutes while our lawyer handed over all of our paperwork and documents (obviously saying all the right things to accompany the package). We then left the room, which we didn't expect we'd do, and returned to the waiting room where we tried to "breathe" while they processed the paperwork. We tried to fill the anxious void with talk of politics and culture.

After a while, about 14:20, she got up to check in with the official (who she actually knew from doing a lot of business at this office). She came back and, to our surprise (no matter how confident we tried to be), let us know that we were getting our visa stamped today. To which I, in shock at the speed and ease at which this had taken place, verified, "So... we got... at least one year???". She nodded with a smile and said, "Yep, now it's just a question of how long" (the visa will be valid). I sat back in my seat with wide eyes and a big smile. She told me to make sure and not celebrate visibly until after we left, to ensure that the officials didn't think we were being approved for something we don't deserve.

We put our smiles away and within a few minutes we were back in the room, where our visas were handed to us, with the official saying, "Zwei Jahre". That means "Two Years", guys. Yep, we can be legal residents of Germany for TWO WHOLE YEARS! It was more than we expected- we had crossed our fingers for even just one year. By 15:00, we were out the door, beginning a new chapter in our lives... officially.

We don't know what the future holds and where the winds will take us, if we will be here that entire time, but it is such a joyous feeling to know that we can be here for... uh-huh... TWO WHOLE YEARS, baby!

P.S. If you are trying to do this same thing, one piece of advice I have is to invest in an immigration attorney! I don't know that we would have gotten a one year visa, let alone two, without legal help.

Still in shock, we weren't jumping up and down, yet.
But, god, are we happy!

Oh yeah, baby!

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