Sreeram Padmanabhan
Moving to Germany from India


Book a National Visa Appointment

I wish someone had told me this because this took the longest time in the movement. Visa appointments in German consulates in India take a long time because of the number of people applying for it, especially if you fall in the jurisdiction of the Bangalore consulate. The best strategy is to book an appintment in anticipation of finding a job. Cost me a new internet connection for about INR 500. More on this in a later post because thats an interesting story. Cost = INR 500.

Secure Employment contract

Practically, this should be first. Thats what I did. But I must have wasted like a month just trying to get a visa appointment. Hence, I believe having an appintment slot. lets say 3 months hence, will give enough time to find a contract and by the time you get a contract, lets say in a month or 2, you would have only a month to go. If you dont get a contract, please make sure to cancel the appointment because there are people who are more in need. But if you want to speed things up, this is the best strategy.

Get ZAV Zusage from employer

If you qualify for Blue card, your employer gives you this letter.

Get degree and mark sheets attested

Check the Anabin data bank to see if your Indian degree qualifies for a German Visa. Even though your insititution and degree or diploma might be valid as per the Ananbin data bank, its not an official confirmation as the site is seldom updated. This is the reason that they ask you to get the Federal employment Agency's approval (the ZAB Approval) before applying the visa. For this, you need to get your degree and marksheets attested first. I got it done from the German Honurary Counsel in my city. I just did it to make the process smooth and fast. Cost = INR 1600.

Send it for ZAB Approval

Send the attested degree and marksheets to ZAB with the application form from their site. Once it reaches them, they will ask you to make a payment of EUR 200. Once thats done, they will verify the documents and send you the approval by mail and post. Though I didnt need this at the visa interview, I just gave it to them anyway because if I hadnt, it could have prolonged the visa process. Again, my priority was to get the visa asap. Cost = EUR 200.

Get Travel health Insurance for the initial 6 month period

Get some travel health insurance valid for the whole time you are in Germany with the National Visa. This cost me 230 EUR. But it was refundable once cancelled. Cost = EUR 230.

Get statuatory health Insurance from Employer

Check with your employer to obtain this compulsory health insurance.

Appear for the interview

I appeared for the interview at German Consulate in Bangalore. I flew to Chennai, met some friends over the weekend and flew to Bangalore for the appointment in a morning flight at 6am, reached KIA Bangalore at 7 and took the KIA bus to reach the consulate at around 9. Considering the traffic in Bangalore, I feared if I will reach on time. But there was plenty of time because my slot was only at 10.30am. Had a nice breakfast also. Cost = INR 5000 for travel.

Getting the stamped Passport

I got the visa in about 14 working days. I went to Bangalore to collect it. I could have arranged for someone to collect it on my behalf and courier it to me. But I wanted to take my brother to Bangalore just to help his experience of travel, hotel stay etc. Cost = INR 12000. You could do this cheaper but I took no chances.

Temporary accommodation in Berlin

My plan was to use the websites suggested from my employer for temporary accomodation. I was looking at about EUR 850 for a months rent. Thankfully I had a friend who was subletting his room for a month. Or I might have just gone for a hostel with booking.com if not been for this. Cost = EUR 500.

Booking the flights

You or your employer could do the booking for you. I booked it myself. I wanted to try Qatar Airways hospitality.

☕ Buy me a coffee maybe?