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Monday, February 23, 2009

German Visa Interview Tips

What are the questions asked during a visa interview?
What are the common German Visa interview questions?
Are the German Visa interview questions hard?
Will you lose your chance of getting your Visa approved if you fail to answer the questions?

In this post I will give additional information and tips about my Interview at the German Embassy in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

If you already have a scheduled interview date from the German Embassy, the first thing that you should do is book a plane ticket. Make sure of the DATE and TIME. Check it twice, thrice or many times just to make it sure.

The complete address of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany is:

25/F Tower 2 RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Avenue
Makati City, Metro Manila

Visa Interview Tips
  • Have a good sleep - Before the interview day, it would be best to have a nice rest or you might end up sleeping in the chair in the Embassy.
  • Be Punctual - Note that Germans are very known of their punctuality so be on time on your scheduled interview. It would be best if you arrive 30 minutes before your interview. And never underestimate the traffic situation in Manila.
  • Prepare the documents - Make sure you have all the necessary documents prepared and inside your bag (or whatever) before you go to sleep.
  • Dress neatly - I did not say that you have to wear a formal suit like a job interview.
  • Be attentive - The appointment system inside the German Embassy is based on PRIORITY NUMBER. Don't confuse yourself with the Visa Appointment by Phone. Therefore it is still first come first serve basis. When your number is called, make sure that you are there and immediately go to your counter. If it happens that you are not there or you have not heard when your number is called, you just SIMPLY WAIT AGAIN for your number to be called.
  • Be patient - As you really have to wait for your number to be called.
  • List your questions - Prepare what you would like to ask.
  • Ask politely - Speak or talk in a polite manner.
  • Speak clearly - You will be talking with an agent using a mic.
German Visa interview questions
The German Visa interview questions are actually PAINFULLY HARD.
  • How did you meet your German spouse?
  • Where did you meet your German spouse?
  • When were you married?
  • How many years were you in a relationship prior to wedding?
  • When is your planned departure date to Germany?
  • Does your German spouse already worked in Germany?
  • Where is your German spouse residing?
  • What is the name of your German spouse?
As I have said in this post, you don't have to worry about the questions the Embassy will ask if you and your German spouse/fiance are legally married, have legal papers, and your relationship is “Genuine” (Sorry I could not explain the previous sentence further but I think you understand what I mean ^_^).

As for the question "Will you lose your chance of getting your Visa approved if you fail to answer the questions?", I could not answer this question as I have no idea on how the Embassy will investigate your Visa Papers.

Good Luck on your Interview! ^_^
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700,000 job losses in Germany this Summer

Last week I have just posted an article regarding 1.2 million jobless Germans. This coming summer, expect that the number of jobless people will increase up to 700,000. So that would be around 1.9 million jobless people (Germans and other citizens). I was surprised that many companies are already starting to shorten the working days as one of its solution to the economic crisis in Germany. In addition, 33 percent of companies were planning to lay off its employees.

I am not trying to scare those who wanted to migrate or work in Germany. I am just sharing the news and stating the facts.

News and Image Source:
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

11 Reasons why I prefer Travel Agencies to process my DFA Red Ribbon papers

This post is a response to an anonymous person who commented that "you could have went to DHL for the red ribbon. it costs so much less. you've been robbed." You can see his/her comment here - DFA Red Ribbon.

First of all, I would like to clarify that the only location where you can get a DFA Red Ribbon is at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila. Second, I lived in Cebu City so I have 2 options to process the papers: ask help from a Travel Agency and pay 1900 Pesos (or any agency that helps you process your papers) or process the papers myself.

Considering that I lived in Cebu City, here are my reasons:
  1. A 2-way plane ticket from Cebu to Manila cost more than 1900 Pesos.
  2. If I go to Manila, can I really get my Document(s) with the Red Ribbon the same day?
  3. If not (from #2), I have to book for a room or inn where I could rest and wait for another day(s). Therefore another waste of TIME and MONEY.
  4. (from #3) Can I really get my papers the next day?
  5. I don't have any connections at the DFA in Manila, the Travel Agency have.
  6. If I chose DHL, how can I track my very important Paper(s)? How will I know that it is already in the hands of the DFA? Who can I call for follow-ups? Several long distance phone calls from Cebu to Manila? Again, another waste of TIME and MONEY.
  7. I don't have to fall in line for hours.
  8. I don't have to wait to be called.
  9. If something is wrong with your papers or the DFA needed some additional/supporting papers but you don't have it with you, you forgot to bring it or you need to process this additional paper in your hometown, then it would be a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY.
  10. The Travel Agency did all the work for me, while I continued working with my business.
  11. Hassle Free.
Please note that these are based on my experience and situation. I am not saying that you should always seek help from travel agencies to process your papers. I believe this is not a good option for people living in and around Manila simply because they are living near. I wrote this article so that people who are living far away from Manila, will have an idea on the pros and cons. I hope these helps.
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Is 30 Days enough to get married in the Philippines?

How long would it take to process all the necessary and important papers to get married in the Philippines?
How long would it take to process papers for a Church Wedding?
How long would it take to process papers for a Civil Wedding?

Marriage in the Philippines takes time. Best case, 30 days would be enough, worst case, 30 days would not be enough. Unfortunately, I could not share any information about Church wedding in the Philippines simply because I don't have any experience. Just Civil Wedding.

All marriage papers that you are going to process takes time and patience. The factors below will give you an idea and approximation on how many days you should consider to get married (Civil Wedding) in the Philippines.
With your 30 days, 10 days are already taken due to Marriage Notice which will be posted or announced in the church. So if you are a foreigner or an OFW (overseas worker), be very extra careful in planning your marriage. It would be best if you already have all the necessary marriage papers and just process the papers which can only be made in the Philippines, after you arrived there. Note that the list I have mentioned above will depend from case to case. For example, if you are a minor who wants to get married, you might need a Parent's Consent paper. So this would mean an additional time.

The wedding ceremony will be held in a court room and it will only last for about 10 minutes. Processing of the marriage papers will take days but the wedding ceremony will only take 10 minutes. Congratulations on your wedding!

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Friday, February 13, 2009

A quarter of German Youths are Jobless in Germany

"The study indicated that 900,000 able-bodied youths under 25 are on the dole, known in Germany as Hartz IV. The study also revealed that another 300,000 Germans from the same age group receive Arbeitslosengeld I – or basic unemployment compensation – putting the total number of "needy" youths at 1.2 million. " - Source and Image: The Local

These numbers were collected in Summer 2008. The study was reported last Thursday that one in four employable Germans between the ages of 15 and 24 is on welfare.

My Experience
No wonder why I still don't have a job until now. I arrived here in Germany last May 2008 and immediately applied for jobs after I got a German Residence Permit. Believe it or not, I have applied for a job in 100+ different companies. I received a couple of phone interviews and personal interviews but still no luck. Considering I am a foreigner here and my German Language skills are still basic, maybe companies would prefer to choose and hire candidates that are both Good in English and German and already have an experience working in a German working atmosphere. I am 23 years old and competing with these 1.2 million Germans is absolutely CHALLENGING! In addition with these 1.2 million Germans, there are also hundreds or even thousands of foreigners who came from around the world who are also jobless. So definitely my chances of getting a job are very slim. My luck in getting a job has not come yet but I believe one day it will come.

Until now I am still looking for jobs and always say to myself "Never lose hope and Never give up". Life must go on... So help me God... ^_^

(back to job searching...)
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Monday, February 9, 2009

When do you need the DFA red ribbon?

When do you need the DFA red ribbon?
How much does it costs?
In which travel agency did you ask for help to process you papers?

People asked me these questions on my post about DFA Red Ribbon. So I would like to explain further, restate and share to you my experiences about Red Ribbon.

In foreign countries, your Philippine documents or papers are not considered as valid, genuine or legal if it does not have a DFA red ribbon. The red ribbon is a proof or an authentication that your paper is valid, genuine and legal.

For example, if you are using your NSO Birth Certificate just INSIDE the Philippines, you don't NEED a red ribbon for it. But if you are using your NSO Birth Certificate OUTSIDE the Philippines, then you NEED a red ribbon for it. Papers that need red ribbon when I applied for a German Spouse Visa were the NSO Birth Certificate and the NSO Certificate of Marriage.

Someone told me from this post that the German Embassy did not ask for a Red Ribbon. If they said that you may not submit a DFA red ribbon copy than I guess its fine since the words came from the embassy itself. No Red Ribbon might be okay for Visa Processing BUT... You might have problems processing and extending your visa and other papers when you are here in Germany. Believe me, every time I process my papers here, they always ask for a Red Ribbon. They even ask for a German translation of my Philippine Papers. Examples of these papers are my NSO Birth Certificate and NSO Marriage Certificate. Germans are very strict! ^_^

My suggestion:
It would be better that you get a DFA Red Ribbon for your NSO papers. Specific examples of these which I also did are NSO Birth Certificate and NSO Marriage Certificate. Or you might end up processing your papers here AND by contacting DFA in the Philippines (hassle).

Travel Agency:
The travel agency that I sought help with is called JEWEL SKIES Travel & Tours located in Lahug, Cebu City (I think Jeepney 04L still go in this route). It is located just near Ayala Center (Metro Ayala Entrance).

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Transportation in Germany - S-Bahn, U-Bahn, Trams and Buses

In this post, I will give you an idea on the types of transportation here in Germany. I live near (around) Munich and the transportation in the other areas in Germany might not be as exactly as what I am going to state here. But I am quite sure that the transportation system around Germany is more or less the same (but not exactly the same as I have said).

What is S-Bahn?
S-Bahn is an abbreviation for the German word Stadtschnellbahn which means "fast train, fast city train". These are Suburban trains that runs every 20 minutes and serve passengers in the greater areas. The logo on the right is an S-Bahn logo. If you see a post with an S-Bahn logo, that means that you are near an S-Bahn train station.

What is U-Bahn?
U-Bahn is an abbreviation for the German word Untergrundbahn which means "underground railway, underground train or subway" in English. These are Subways that runs every 5 to 10 minutes and serve passengers in the inner parts of the city. The logo on the right is an U-Bahn logo. If you see a post with an U-Bahn logo, that means that you are near an U-Bahn train station.

Buses and Trams
Buses and trams serve passenger in the inner city and fill in the gaps between the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn.

Comparison of Transportation System between Germany and the Philippines
  • S-Bahn is like a Bus in the Philippines.
  • U-Bahn is like a Jeepney in the Philippines.
  • Buses and trams are like tricycle, habal2x and traysikad in the Philippines.
For example you live in a province in Cebu. Lets say Carmen or San Fernando and you want to go to the Taoist Temple in Lahug (I am not sure, Lahug or Opra? Yes Bisdak ko! Bisaya kong dako!). First you ride on a Bus to go to Cebu City. Second you ride on a Jeepney to go to Lahug. And third, you ride on a habal2x to go to Taoist Temple.

Assuming you want to go to a certain shop in Munich. And assuming you live in a place around Munich (just like me), First you ride on a S-Bahn to go to Munich. Second you ride on an U-Bahn to go to the inner part of the city. And third, you ride on a Tram or Bus to go to a certain shop in the city.

But of course not every shop or every place you want to go in Munich need a S-Bahn, U-Bahn or trams/buses to be able to get there. Just stating this as some readers might be confused or philosophic. ^_^
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tips for contacting the German Embassy

Do you have questions for the embassy?
Are you stuck on what to do next in processing your visa?

If your processing your visa and don't know what to do next, it is better that you search the Internet for answers. But sometimes not everything is on the Internet. So the best place to ask your questions are the people processing your visa, which is the Embassy.

I have experienced calling and sending an Email to the embassy a couple of times because I have many questions that only the Embassy itself could answer. And they have answered all my questions.

Here are some tips I share to you for contacting the German Embassy whether via email or phone.
  • Visit the official site of the German Embassy First - the answers for which you are looking for might just be there
  • Prepare the documents - they might ask for your passport number and it would be a waste of time for them and a waste of money for you if you say "...please wait for awhile, I will find my passport first..."
  • List your questions - Prepare what you would like to ask.
  • Ask politely - Speak or talk in a polite manner.
  • Be patient - As I am sure that you can't connect to their phone lines immediately.
  • Scan and Attach files (images) to your email - If necessary to make things clear and it would be easier for the Embassy to better assess if your papers are correct or not.
  • Speak clearly - You should do this all the time especially when talking on the phone.
I am quite sure they receive so many phone calls and have many unread emails in their Inbox so just be patient and wait for their reply.

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Tom Cruise playing as a German Hero in the movie Valkyrie

Valkyrie is a movie based on a true story during the second world war. It depicts the plot by German officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

Valkyrie is the name of the operation and taking control of Germany is its goal. The leader of the assassination plot was Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and was played by Tom Cruise.

The film is very controversial here in Germany because of the fact that the German Hero was played by an American actor.

For me I have no problems with Tom Cruise playing as a German Hero. In fact he is a great actor and I believe that this is a great movie. Knowing that the German Hero was played by a famous Hollywood actor, the popularity of the movie would certainly increase and it will be a Box Office hit. Anyways, I will just wait for this movie.
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Somali pirates seize German tanker - 12 Filipinos and 1 Indonesian on board

Last week a German tanker was seized by pirates in the east waters of Somalia. The tanker was transporting liquefied petroleum gas.

What troubled me with this news is that I have 3 uncles who are seamen and 1 of them worked for a German Company. I just hope and pray that everyone of them will be safe.

I believe this people (pirates) did this because of hunger and poverty. I just hope that the government will do something about this problem and will stop this madness before anyone will be in danger. If the government can't fix this, chances are many poor people from different countries will do the same.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

German Spouse Visa Cook Book

How to get a German Spouse Visa?
Do you have the complete Steps or Instructions on how to get a Spouse Visa?
How did you get your visa approved?
What are the necessary papers you should gather in applying for marriage?

In this post I share to you on the procedures or steps I did from Marriage Requirements in the Philippines up to Registration as a Resident at the local Town/City Hall or Rathaus here in Germany.

1. Marriage Requirements

2. Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage (“Ehefähigkeitszeugnis”)

3. Pre Marriage Counselling

4. Wedding or Marriage in the Philippines

5. DFA Red Ribbon

6. Endorsing of Certificate of Marriage to the NSO

7. CFO-SMEF-COW Seminar

8. German Spouse Visa Requirements

9. Basic German Language Visa Requirement, Required or Not?

10. German Visa Appointment at the German Embassy in Manila

11. Interview at the German Embassy in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

12. Approval of My German Spouse Visa

13. My Flight FOR and My Arrival IN Germany

14. After Arrival - Registration as a Resident at your local Town Hall/City Hall in Germany
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