Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Visa Time

Those mountains in the background? The Alps!

On July 31st, my residence and work permits for Denmark expired. In order for me to to get a new one from the Germans, I needed several things. If I worked in a "real" industry like computers or engineering, I would be eligible for the Blue Card which meant that all I had to do to get permission to work in the country is present a job offer. But I'm a creative and my job is in entertainment, so things were a little more complicated. 

The first hurdle I had to cross was a valid work contract. This was accomplished by luck/ prayer/ begging. I scoured job listings and miraculously found someone that was willing to hire me. I would work as an international event planner and organize Oktoberfest events throughout Europe. Plus my native English skills would be put to use and help the company expand in England and Scotland. Score!

The second hurdle was finding a home. As I mentioned in this post, in order for me to submit my visa application, I first needed a place to register as my residence. In order for me to register I needed to present a lease with my address. So that meant that I actually had to find an apartment before my job even started and I received my first pay check before I would be given permission to work. Fuck. My company was registered in Uberlingen (which I call the Alabama of Germany, but that is for another post), but my new boss said that we would be moving to Munich after the Oktoberfest tour ended in November. So that's where I started my apartment search. And ran into wall after wall. Trying to find a place there was so hard and stressful that I was afraid I wouldn't find one before my Danish permit expired and would have to leave the EU. I spoke to my boss about the trouble I was experiencing and he offered me a place in one of the apartments in his house in Uberlingen to use instead. 

So I packed my bags and headed south. I took the train from Copenhagen since it allowed me to take more luggage and after three trains and a stop in Nuremberg to see a friend, I arrived in Alabama Uberlingen. 

Now, I don't expect many of you to have actually heard of Uberlingen before, I certainly hadn't until met with my boss. The only thing you need to know is that it is small. So small in fact that the nearest airport is in Basel, Switzerland, which is about an hour away by train. The only thing going for it is the fact that it is a tourist destination for Austrian and Swiss tourists as it sits on Lake Constance, which is borders Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. Oh, and on a clear day, you can see the Alps. 

Brass bands and beer in a Bavarian Beer Hall, one of the few pleasures of Uberlingen

My arrival at my boss's (who I will hereafter refer to as C) house cleared the second hurdle. Now all that was left was receiving clearance from the German authorities that I could take the job that was being offered. For many reasons, German citizens have priority when it comes to employment. This means that the only way C could hire me was if no other German or EU citizen living in Germany was better qualified. How they check, I have no idea, but I had to supply both of my degrees as well as a CV and job description to show that I met the qualifications. And then they see if there is anyone that was better qualified. If there was, they would be offered the position and I would SOL. Thankfully, no one came forward and we received preliminary approval for my application. However, the visa would not come for another month, which meant that I had to live with my boss in a tiny bodunk town for four weeks, with nothing that even resembled a nightlife. 

On the positive side (or should I say sides since there were many things to be grateful for) I got to spend the summer in a lovely town, rent free. The lack of social life gave me the opportunity to enjoy the first real summer I got to experience in three years. And looking back, I'm so happy I did get the chance to relax because little did I know, the upcoming months were going to be exquisite torture.


  1. Someone's looking out for you. I mean I am shocked that you found a job. I wouldn't even know where to start. I am non-EU as well and I am looking to get out of Holland, was even considering Scandinavia, but the job situation seems seems so dismal. will keep looking, though.

  2. Well, if you stay around, you'll see that the job was so much more than I bargained for. But don't give up, there are still lots of companies looking for good people. I don't know what you're education is, but content management is a pretty popular job trend, and lot's of companies are looking for people that have great skills in English writing.