IT-Work, Study & Freelance in Germany: Correct Behavior in the Embassy
Some etiquette that can save you time and speed up visa issuanceScreenshot 1. (Source: Bundesagentur für Arbeit)
Go to the embassy much earlier to reduce the possibility of unforeseen circumstances. Appear on time.
What is always good - official style. Also official style mixed with traditional style of your culture. Germans* accept and respect that. However a polo shirt would be suitable as well.
Not recommended: T-shirts, shorts for gentlemen, low necklines, short skirts for ladies.
Stay calm and polite with all persons, including security staff. Don't let any tension or anxiety make you speechless.
If one mumbles something unclear or even confusedly remains silent, it is not considered modesty but rather rude manners. Look down and answer quietly may be considered polite in some cultures but in Germany they have different views and cultural norms.
At the beginning of the conversation Germans expect a clear friendly greeting. Smiles, as much eye contact as possible, straight answers - these are the unconscious signals that your case is obviously safe and the visa must be issued without any delay.
How about to learn and train a few phrases in German? Introduce yourself in German, a couple of "thank you" variations and maybe something like "What a pity that my German is not good enough to speak with you yet".
Of course this is not a must. But it might bring a smile to officer's face and relax the situation a bit from the beginning.
Compliments and souvenirs
Unfortunately souvenirs are tabu. Just forget about them.
Compliments work well in any culture. However, it is important that it is deserved praise. If you praise your interviewer for listening to you attentively - it is deserved praise. And the receiver understands that.
Asking for a favor or exception
Asking for a favour has nothing to do with begging. Do not try to present yourself as small, weak and needy. Ask with respect and so much dignity that your converstaion partner understands how difficult it is for you to overcome yourself for the benefit of others (s. examples below).
My favourite comparison: Ask with such a dignity as an old Japanese man bows. He does it with so much honor that you almost feel guilty.
Why should you try to ask
Imagine the following situation: You are inside the embassy applying for the visa. Suddently an official (embassy officer) says, that some document is missing or prepared not in correct way. Most likely you will be sent away because the "incomplete list of documents cannot be processed".
The common regulation prescribes that you have to go home and reschedule your appointment. But it is not good for you at all, because it could take weeks, even months, until you are back at the embassy. Are you sure your employer is ready to wait so long?
In this case your challenge is to convince the officials to give an exceptional additional appointment soon. It allows you quickly submit missing document(s).
Tip: Don't think about common regulation. Instead focuse on benefit of your nearest and dearest. The benefit of people who are financially dependent on you will be the damn good reason for trying to convince the embassy officer to make an exception for you.
How to ask for a favor or exception from the rules
Regardless of the position the asked person has, note the following advice:
- When you ask for something, you should always add a plausible explanation. Let's name it an Argument #1).
- Also will not harm if you thank in advance and give one more explanation why the favour you are asking for means so much to you. This is an Argument #2.
- Last but not least. Always try to provide some kind of written evidence of your request (a certificate, an email, a contract, a cancellation, a doctor's letter and so on).
Why the written evidence of your reasoning is so important?
There are several reasons for this. I like to comparison a German official with Robocop. Outside it is a machine but inside a heart is beating and emotions are flowing.
However it is just a funny comparison. In a main way I am against reducing an average German official to a machine. Because officials are people too - they love their parents, partners, children. After the work they relax and sometimes hang out with friends. They have understanding and emotions.
But in the same time a German official represents the German state. He/she has instructions. An official usually is a part of a team. He has colleagues. And in any team there are invisible intrigues. Colleagues can gossip why an officer XY makes a lot of exceptions. Why he made already three additional apointments to that particular lady?
The written evidence of your reasoning may make an official do a little more than is required for you. He doesn't have to justify himself in front of his colleagues or superiors, it will be easy to explain an exception made for you if he has written evidence of it.
So, help the official to help you. Summarize your arguments well and provide (several) written evidence.
Example 1: You are submitting documents and something is missing or prepared not in correct way. Most likely you will be sent away because the "incomplete list of documents cannot be processed". Your explanation that you are in a hurry because the German employer might not be willing to wait for a long time" is not completely wrong but also not strong enough.
Rather, I would logically expand argument #1. The employer in
Germany might not be willing to wait that long, because in
addition to the processing of national visas, the application
for a bluecard in Germany may take several weeks or even months.
Argument #2, for example, would be that someone in your family is in need of care or is ill.
And now increase your explanations with the written evidence. This could be, for example, a copy of your termination notice to your last employer.
For the embassy officer, it becomes clear that you, as the main income earner in the family, may no longer be able to support people who are dependent on you because of a too long visa processing time.
At that moment, your chances of getting an additional appointment soon would rise abruptly.
Other examples of evidence: A certificate stating that someone in your family is in need of nursing care, a doctor's recommendation for urgent, costly treatment, an estimate of the tuition fees for someone in your family and so on.
Example 2: You already work in Germany,
your wife applies for a family reunion national visa from your
In this case the inappropriate explanation would be like: "because we miss each other so much". Such a reason does not work.
The correct argument #1 could be that "you both strongly wish a child. And the husband has already booked an appointment with a highly recommended doctor several months in advance.
The correct argument #2 is that thanks to the highly developed German medical system, the examinations, the birth itself and, if necessary, medical treatment in Germany contributes more to the well-being of the baby than in the country of origin.
COULD BE ALSO USEFUL FOR YOU:
German National Visa - Checklist of needed and additional documents