After much stress money, and a lot of help from friends and colleagues in Berlin and the USA, I have attained my Kunstler Visa, a one-year Visa that will allow me to do freelance work in Germany! I used this blog post as a guide. Insurance was the trickiest part. First I had to buy incredibly expensive private insurance. Then I had to go to one of the public insurance companies and wait for a long time in a carpeted office with flourescent lights and those ugly vertical plastic blinds. When I finally talked to someone, a slender and well-groomed man named Gunnar who spoke English with me and made several phone calls. We drew up a contract and I agreed to email my tax number as soon as I received it. He then printed me a letter telling the Auslanderbehörde that I would be insured by the TK as soon as I was granted a Visa. I had arrived at the TK at 9 am, right as they opened. I left at around 10:30 and decided to go see if there were numbers left at the Auslanderbehörde, maybe take care of everything in one day.
The route I took to the big government building was different this time. I got lost. When I finally got there, there were no numbers left.
I was so frustrated I sat on a bench next to the canal and cried before getting on the U-Bahn to go home.
This morning I awoke at 5:45 and Robert and I left his apartment while it was still dark out. We got to the Auslanderbehörde shortly after 7 AM and I was given a number. Waiting for 2 and a half hours in a bright waiting room with hard plastic chairs, we read, ate egg sandwiches, fidgeted anxiously. Finally I was called. My paperwork was taken, I was given back my number and told to wait some more. 30 minutes went by and I ws called into a little room. Robert was told to wait outside. The man granted me my Visa and gave me a plastic card, sending me down a series of hallways to stick the card in a machine which then asked me for 50€. After feeding my money into the slot, I got a little white receipt. Again down the snaking hallways, back to the office and the office worker who handed me my passport with it's shiny new visa in it.
And that was it! Now to figure out how to make some dough with this thing!