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
    At the moment, you can't go to the Ausländerbehörde without an appointment. You can't queue in front of the Ausländerbehörde early in the morning. If you can't get an appointment, try applying by email.

Is it hard to get an appointment?

Yes, it's very hard. 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. If this is your first residence permit, you can't work, freelance or study while you wait for the residence permit.

How to get an appointment

You can use the appointment booking tool, or email the Ausländerbehörde. You can't go to the Berlin Ausländerbehörde without an appointment.


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 must re-enter your information every time. New appointments become available at random times. They also release short-term appointments every Wednesday and Friday1, 2.

Sometimes, the website crashes. This happens often. Just try again in a few minutes, and try again.

By email

If you can't get an online appointment, email the Ausländerbehörde1. Attach all your application documents to the message1. They should give you an appointment. If your application is well-prepared, they will answer faster. It looks like they work on the easiest or most urgent cases first.

They can take a few months to answer1, 2, 3, but while you wait, your residence permit is automatically extended1. If your original residence permit expires while you wait, you can't travel, but you can stay in Germany and keep working.

Useful links:

In person

Do not go to the Ausländerbehörde without an appointment. You will not get help. You can't queue early in the morning, and get what you want.

Follow this Facebook group to know about the current situation at the Ausländerbehörde.

    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.

    Auslaenderbehoerde appointment room

    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

    Some residence permits are approved on the same day, during your interview. You get a paper residence permit, pay the fee, then leave. Around 8 weeks later, you get your plastic residence permit by mail.

    Most residence permits are approved later. In Berlin, it usually takes 1 to 6 months1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. You get an email or a letter that tells you what to do next. If your current residence permit expires soon, don't panic! You might get a temporary permit (Fiktionsbescheinigung). It lets you stay in Germany for a bit longer. Some versions of the Fiktionsbescheinigung allow you to travel outside of Germany1, 2.

    You will get a letter with the PIN and PUK for your plastic 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. It lets you do any type of work you want. For example, you could get a full time job, study or even open a 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 and apply again.

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

    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.

    Auslaenderbehoerde kassenautomat

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

    If your visa expires soon

    In some cases, you can stay in Germany after your visa or residence permit expires.

    After your Ausländerbehörde 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.

    If you have a residence permit

    If you have an Ausländerbehörde appointment, you can stay in Germany until your appointment date, even if your residence permit expires1, §81.3. You can continue working, freelancing or studying until your appointment date1. You must book the appointment while your residence permit is valid1, §81.4.

    If you apply by email, the automated response counts as an application1. You can stay in Germany until they process your application1. You can continue to work, freelance or study while you wait1. You must email your documents before your residence permit expires1.

    If your residence permit expires, you should not travel outside of Germany. You can't re-enter Germany with an expired residence permit1.

    If you don't have a residence permit

    If you are a citizen of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom or the United States1, you can stay in Germany for 90 days without a visa. If you have an Ausländerbehörde appointment or if you applied by email, you can stay in Germany until your appointment1, 2, §81.3. You can't work, study or freelance while you wait for your residence permit.

    You can rarely convert a Schengen visa to a residence permit1, 2, 3. You can't come to Germany on a tourist visa, then apply for a work visa, Blue Card or freelance visa1. If you want a German residence permit, you must apply in your own country.

    You can rarely extend a Schengen visa1. An Ausländerbehörde appointment does not extend your Schengen visa1. You must leave Germany before your Schengen visa expires. You won't get a Fiktionsbescheinigung if you are on a Schengen visa.

    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.