If you need to apply for a residence permit or renew a German visa, you must go to the Ausländerbehörde. There are two ways to go to the Ausländerbehörde in Berlin:

  • With an appointment
    Get an appointment online, then go to your appointment. It's often impossible to get an appointment in time. You must check Berlin.de again and again. Appointments are only released for the next 3 months. New appointments are released every day.
  • Without an appointment
    Go to the Ausländerbehörde early in the morning, and wait in line. If you arrived early enough, you will get a token. When the doors open, you will get an appointment. You could get an appointment on the same day, or in a few weeks. If there aren't enough appointments for everyone, you must try again another day.

Is it hard to get an appointment?

Yes, it's very hard. You should look for an appointment as soon as possible. It can take weeks just to find an appointment1. If you apply by email, it can take months to get an answer.

How to get an appointment

You can use the appointment booking tool, or email the Ausländerbehörde. If your situation is urgent, you can go in person during the opening hours1.

Online

Most of the time, there are no appointments available. This is not a bug. Keep the calendar page open, and refresh it every 5-10 minutes. If you wait too long, you will need to enter all your information again. New appointments become available at random times. They also release short-term appointments every Wednesday afternoon1.

Sometimes, the website crashes. This happens often. Just come back in a few minutes.

Berlin Ausländerbehörde appointment booking form - part 1
Choose your nationality, and the type of visa you need
Berlin Ausländerbehörde appointment booking form - part 2
Enter your contact information, and your residence permit number
Berlin Ausländerbehörde - no available appointments
The appointment calendar. Most of the time, there are no appointments available.

By email

If you can't get an online appointment, email the Ausländerbehörde. Attach all your application documents to the message1. They should give you an appointment. They can take a few months to answer1, 2, but while you wait, your residence permit is automatically extended1. If your original residence permit expired, you can't travel, but you can stay in Germany and keep working.

Useful links:

In person

If you urgently need an appointment, go to the Ausländerbehörde before it opens, get in line, and wait until the doors open. Bring all your documents with you, just in case.

There are two Ausländerbehörde locations: Keplerstraße and Friedrich-Krause-Ufer. Each Ausländerbehörde offers different services for different nationalities. You must go to the correct one.

Each Ausländerbehörde has multiple offices (A, B, C, D...). Each office handles different types of visas. You must wait in the correct line.

When you go in person, you might get an appointment on the same day, or in a few months1. Sometimes, there are not enough appointments for everyone. If you arrive too late, you will not get an appointment, and you must come back on another day1. Usually, you must arrive between 4AM and 6AM to get an appointment. This can change at any time.

    You will wait outside. There are no bathrooms, no chairs, and no protection from the rain. There are small coffee kiosks nearby, but they are closed at night.

    The line in front of the Ausländerbehörde at Friedrich-Krause-Ufer

    Useful links:

    What happens during your appointment

    Entering the Ausländerbehörde

    You should have received the details of your appointment by email when you booked it. Arrive in advance. You need time to find the right office, floor and room. You can find these details in your appointment confirmation.

    At the Ausländerbehörde, sit in the waiting room and wait until your number is called. The numbers are called on the television. When your number is called, you must go to the office number you see on the television.

    The residence permit interview

    You will sit in front of an Ausländerbehörde employee and show your documents. This takes around 10 minutes1, 2. The employee will tell you to go in the waiting room again. They will call your number again in 5 to 45 minutes.

    Some Ausländerbehörde employees speak English, but many only speak German. If you don't speak German, bring a translator with you. Red Tape Translation and Booka Local can go to the Ausländerbehörde with you. You can also bring an immigration lawyer or a relocation consultant.

    If your application is approved

    If you are lucky, you will get your new residence permit on the same day. You only need to pay for the residence permit, and you're done. A few weeks later, you will receive your electronic residence permit in the mail.

    If you are not lucky, you will get your residence permit in a few weeks. In Berlin, you get your residence permit 3 to 6 months later1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. You will get an email or a letter that tells you what to do next. If your current visa is about to expire, don't panic! You usually get a temporary permit (Fiktionsbescheinigung). It lets you stay in Germany for a bit longer.

    You will receive a letter with the PIN and PUK for your electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel or eAT). You don't need to do anything yet. A few weeks later, you will get your residence permit.

    Your residence permit is valid between 6 months and 4 years. It depends on what residence permit you get, and how good your application is. Freelancers can get a shorter freelance visa if their income is low or if their health insurance is not good enough. When your residence permit is about to expire, you can renew it. The process is very similar.

    If you had a German residence permit for over 3 years, you might get an unrestricted residence permit. An unrestricted residence permit lets you do any type of work you want. For example, you could get a full time job, study or open a burger restaurant.

    Your residence permit is a plastic card, not a sticker in your passport. Your address is written on the card. If you move to another address, they will update your residence permit during the Anmeldung. They just put a sticker with your new address on your residence permit.

    If your application is rejected

    If some documents are missing, they will give you a new appointment in a few days. This gives you time to get the missing documents.

    If your current visa expires soon, you might get a temporary visa (Fiktionsbescheinigung). It lets you stay in Germany a little longer.

    If you get a rejection letter later, it will ask for more information, or tell you why your application was rejected. You still have a month to respond or appeal. If this happens, you should probably hire an immigration lawyer to help you.

    If you don't get a residence permit, you pay nothing.

    If you don't get an answer

    If you apply, and you don't get an answer after 3 months, you can sue the Ausländerbehörde1, 2, 3 for failing to act. This is called an Untätigkeitsklage nach § 75 VwGO. Usually, it makes them move faster.

    If the Ausländerbehörde can't reach you, they will post the information here.

    How to pay the residence permit fee

    When your residence permit is approved, you must pay a fee. You only pay the fee if you get a residence permit is approved. If your application is rejected, you pay nothing.

    They will give you a plastic payment card (Kassenkarte). Bring that card to a payment machine (Kassenautomat). Follow the signs to find the payment machines. These machines accept cash, EC cards, Visa and Mastercard1, 2. If your card is not accepted, you can also get cash from this nearby ATM, even at night.

    After you pay, you can go home. Keep the payment receipts. It's a tax-deductible expense.

    If your visa expires soon

    If your current visa or residence permit expires soon, don't panic. If you have an Ausländerbehörde appointment, you can stay in Germany until the appointment1. During that time, you can keep working, freelancing or studying. You can't travel outside of Germany, because you can't re-enter Germany with an expired residence permit1.

    If you apply by email, the automated response counts as application. You can stay in Germany until you get an appointment1.

    After your appointment, the interviewer can give you a Fiktionsbescheinigung. This temporary visa lets you stay in Germany while you wait for your new residence permit. If you forgot some documents, the Fiktionsbescheinigung gives you more time to reapply.

    Questions and answers

    Do they speak English at the Ausländerbehörde?

    Sometimes, but not always. You should bring an interpreter with you. Red Tape Translation and Booka Local can go to the Ausländerbehörde with you. You can also bring an immigration lawyer or a relocation consultant.

    How can I contact the Ausländerbehörde?

    The Ausländerbehörde is hard to contact. They rarely answer the phone, and they can take months to answer emails. You must contact the department that is responsible for your nationality or residence permit type. Use this list.

    You can also get help from other places. This is often much faster.

    Which Ausländerbehörde should I go to?

    It depends on what you need to do, and on your nationality. There are two Ausländerbehörde locations. There are two Ausländerbehörde locations: Keplerstraße and Friedrich-Krause-Ufer. Each Ausländerbehörde offers different services for different nationalities. You must go to the correct one.

    Where to get help

    Where to find help ➞ Immigration questions

    If you need someone to go with you, I recommend Red Tape Translation. Kathleen often helps me with Ausländerbehörde questions. They also offer help sessions for visa applications. Booka Local can also go to the Ausländerbehörde with you.

    This Facebook group answers questions about the Ausländerbehörde. You can find recent updates there.