How to visit the Ausländerbehörde without an appointment

How to visit the Ausländerbehörde without an appointment

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:

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: The Ausländerbehörde will not accept people without an appointment. All residence permits are extended automatically until new appointments are available.1

The original guide was a guest post by Kathleen Parker from Red Tape Translation. It was completely rewritten in 2020, again with Kathleen's help.

Go to the correct Ausländerbehörde

The Ausländerbehörde on Keplerstraße

The Keplerstraße office handles the following visas1:

The full list of services is on Berlin.de.

The Ausländerbehörde on Friedrich-Krause-Ufer

The Friedrich-Krause-Ufer office handles different types of residence permits:

The full list of services is on Berlin.de.

Go at the right time

If you don’t have an appointment, both offices have the same opening hours1, 2:

If you don’t have an appointment, go to the Ausländerbehörde many hours before it opens, get in line, and wait until the doors open. You will wait outside. There are no bathrooms, no chairs, and no shelter from the rain. When the doors open, there are 50-70 people waiting in line. You must arrive between 4 and 6AM to get a spot1, 2, 3. If you arrive too late, you will not get an appointment, and you will have to come back another day1.

Each Ausländerbehörde has multiple offices (A, B, C, D...). Each office does different things. Make sure you wait in front of the correct office.

Useful links:

When the office opens

When the doors open, they let people come inside in groups of 301. They don't always have enough appointments for everyone. If they run out of appointments, they will tell you to come back another day.

If you are lucky, you will get a ticket with a number on it. When you have a ticket, you must go in the waiting room, and wait for your number to be called. There are multiple waiting rooms. Make sure you are in the correct one.

The numbers are called on the television. When your number is called, you must go to the office number shown on the television.

When your number is called

Your number will be called a first time. You will sit in front of an Ausländerbehörde employee and show your documents. This takes around 5 minutes. The employee will tell you to go in the waiting room again, and call your number again in 20-40 minutes.

Some Ausländerbehörde employees speak English, but many don't. Always bring a German speaker with you. Red Tape Translation and c/o Germany can go to the Ausländerbehörde with you. We personally recommend their services.

If your visa application is approved

If you are lucky, you will get your new residence permit immediately. They will put a sticker in your passport. You only need to pay for the residence permit and you're done!

If you are not lucky, you will get your visa in a few weeks. You will get an email or a letter that tells you to go to the Ausländerbehörde again. If your current visa is about to expire, don't panic! You usually get a temporary permit that lets you stay in Germany a bit longer.

If you need to pay something, you will get a plastic card. You must bring that card to a payment machine in the same building. You put the card in the machine, then you pay with your credit card or debit card.

If your visa application is rejected

If some documents are missing, you can often come back on the same day.

If your Schengen visa is expires soon, but your permit application is incomplete, don’t assume you’ll automatically get an extension just by visiting the office. Your caseworker might advise against submitting your application, knowing that it won’t be approved because it is incomplete, and if there’s no submitted application, there’s no reason to give you an extension while they wait for a decision. In other words, don’t leave this until the absolute last minute.

If you get a rejection letter, it will either ask for more information, or tell you that your application was not approved. You will still have a month to respond or appeal. At this point, you should probably hire an immigration lawyer.

Where to get help

If you need someone to go with you, we recommend Red Tape Translation and c/o Germany. Kathleen and Johanna regularly help us with our Ausländerbehörde questions, and contributed to many of our guides.

Useful resources: