A blog of everyday life and traveling experience.

Rabu, 14 Agustus 2019

Changing Student Visa to EU- Blue Card (before you finish your master...)

Hello everyone!!!!

This time, I'm going to write about my experience in exchanging my student visa to EU Blue Card visa. I actually made a youtube video but the sound wasn't that good, so the video had to wait and I think in the meantime I should write about it. Some people already asked me about this (like, more than 5) :D

For those who didn't know me -- hi! I'm currently working full-time in Germany since middle October 2018, but before that, I was living in Germany with a student visa (est. 2016). I started working as a student worker in 2017, and after a year working with the company, they offered me a full-time position (of course with interviews to see whether the job and I were right to each other ;)).

Since with student visa one is only allowed to work maximum 20 hours/week (and 40 during semester holiday), there was no other way for me to legally work in Germany except for applying for working visa (the HR clearly stated that it didn't also allow for me to work before I got my working visa, which means, before the starting date (October 15th, 2018) I had to already apply for it. You can skip to the very end to know the documents you need, but if you want to know the struggle I went through, feel free to continue reading.

It took me a couple of journey to Ausländeramt until they finally took my application and gave me confirmation that my blue card will be issued. Since Aachen has two Ausländeramt (sorry, too lazy to write the English name of it :p), I was confused where to go first, but I decided to go to the one near Aachen Hbf, because I thought they only took student visa in Super C. And after 2 hours waiting in line, they informed me that since my current residence permit was issued from Super C, I had to go there to apply for the working visa.

And on the other day, I went to the one in Super C. It was in August, so there were a lot of people (mostly Aachen newbie) waiting in line. And during this time, you couldn't just take the number. There was an extra desk where they checked all of your documents before you could take a number. But since I was a special case (and the worker there had no clue), she just gave me the number. After waiting for a while, finally, it was my turn. I got the lady in number 3 (and felt pretty lucky that I got her). This time I didn't come to apply but asked for information. Here's what we discussed:

  • If you haven't finished your master degree -- it is not possible to just switch to work visa. You need Blue-Card. What it is and the difference with normal working visa, please refer to: https://www.sympat.me/how-get-eu-blue-card-work-germany/
  • Once you got your Blue Card, it is okay to continue your study, as long as you don't do your thesis in another company (that required contract).  
  • The company has to give you the annual salary that satisfying the requirement for the blue card. It changed every year, so better you check first. 

There was a problem with my working contract (due to the condition that I worked only 32 hours/week for the first 6 months), so she asked me to talk to HR and then come again to apply. The best thing about applying through Super C that you won't need to make an appointment! My HR helped me with the new contract, and then I came again with all the documents. This time, the worker was someone else, and oh my, he wasn't that friendly. He reviewed my contract and insisted that he couldn't give me because it wasn't clearly stated what I worked. I also insisted back and said that the lady in "room number 3" said everything was fine when she reviewed my contract last time. He then called her and "transferred" me to her room.

As she reviewed my contract, she shook her head and said that she didn't understand what was missing on it. It was clearly stated at the beginning that I was hired as Automotive Resident Engineer. She said everything was good, and take every document that I brought.
Since I didn't have any Higher Education Qualification from Germany, she has to request an approval from "Bundesagentur für Arbeit" in Aachen. 
She asked for my email and said that she would inform me once she heard news from them. I didn't have to pay yet (since I haven't gotten my approval). I left and waited for the news. It happened very quickly, to be honest. I was there on Friday, and I received the email on Monday that I got the approval, and that I should come in the working hours to proceed.

I came a few days later, and with a smile, the lady told me that I really got lucky because it normally took 2 weeks to get the approval. She took my fingerprint and after that, I paid for the blue card (€100). I then received some kind of confirmation, which would be sufficient enough to start working (starting on that day). My blue card will be ready in around 6 weeks (I wouldn't receive any letter, I could just pick it up), and it would be valid until January 2021. My contract will end on October 2018 (I got a limited contract), and the extra 3 months is for me to find another job if the current wouldn't be renewed. I remembered I felt so happy after finally got everything clear!

Documents you MUST bring:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Application form -- filled already with the information. You can get the form on your local Ausländeramt (the same for to extend the normal visa, there's a picklist for Blue Card)
  3. Work contract -- with enough salary  and also your JOB POSITION clearly written
  4. 1 biometry photo 35mm x 45mm
  5. University or college qualification -- if it's not in English or German, please have it translated.
  6. Confirmation that your Bachelor degree is recognised in Germany
    (only if you don't have German Higher qualification (or you haven't finished your master study :p) For me, I print my university details from Anabin and highlighted my course of study
Here are also some tips for me:
  • If you live in another city, please book an appointment as soon as possible! 
  • If you still have lots of credits to take, maybe you should postpone taking the full-time job because it would take your energy :) 
  • Usually, the company will pay for the fee. So, asked your HR about it. 
  • If they say your documents (etc) are not sufficient, asked them clearly what is missing, and don't just accept if they said they couldn't issue the Blue Card for you! (like what happened with me and the other worker). 
I picked my blue card after 6 weeks. Actually, it didn't look much different than the normal study visa xD And I also received another paper that stated that my Blue Card is only valid as long as I'm working in one particular company. So if you change your company in the middle (or in my case, the company changed its name), you have to go there again, and they will change it for you (I think you won't need to issue for a new one). 

I hope that my experience helps you in any kind of way, and if you have any question, please don't hesitate to ask! And if you got your work contract, already -- CONGRATULATIONS! ^_^ (but please don't be surprised on how much the taxes you have to pay here in Germany T___T)