18 August, 2011

Close encounters of the bureaucratic kind

Most of yesterday was spent filling out all of the paperwork necessary for me to live and work (legally) in Germany. First, I had to register with the city to let them know that I am not just a tourist on my way through. Then I tried to get an Aufenthaltserlaubnis which is a sticker in my passport granting me permission to live and work in Germany for a specified period of time. But before I can get that, I need to have proof that I'm enrolled in a university and being financially supported by a job. But in order to prove that, I need to actually be enrolled at Reutlingen University as an exchange student, for which I need proof from Valpo that I'm enrolled there. Assuming I can get all of the necessary paperwork together, I can go back to the city building and pay 50 Euros for the sticker. Then I also need health insurance, for which I also need to first be enrolled in order to get the student rate. But wait! Last time I was here I had private health insurance, so there's a chance that I got a waiver for the obligatory, state sanctioned health care. If that waiver is still on the records then I will have to get private health insurance again: waived once, waived for good, I guess.

All of this has taught me that it really helps to be surrounded by people who know what they're doing and who can guide you along the way. The only thing I was actually able to accomplish yesterday was registering with the city. I couldn't enroll at Reutlingen, because I needed the proof of enrollment from Valpo (should have been faxed later yesterday afternoon). I couldn't get the residency permission because I wasn't enrolled at Reutlingen, and I couldn't get health insurance because I don't remember being told about the whole waiver thing last time.

So, today's goal is to pick up as many loose ends as possible.

On a side note, I discovered that Germany and Illinois have a full-reciprocity agreement with regards to driver's licenses. So, in six months, when my Illinois license is no longer valid in Germany, I can go to the German DMV and exchange it for a German license. This might sound mundane, but consider that German licenses cost around 1,500 Euros if you get them the conventional way! Now it sounds like a good deal, right?

I'm looking forward to going to an organ concert in the Marienkirche on Saturday. The program is "The Planets" by Gustav Holst accompanied by a light show! In a 700+ year-old cathedral nonetheless. I'm stoked! This is the main event of the Reutlinger Orgelsommer 2011.



Jeremy said...

It all works out Jon, I recall similar issues and confusion but hey your German is stellar so you've got a heads up on that. Good luck this year and enjoy it!

CG said...


-chuckle- Goodness, that sounds like a voyage through Bureaucratic Hell.

Chris G.