August 2004



It was a long morning, but I am pleased to report that as of 10:35 (approximately), I became a legal resident of Deutschland-pages 16 and 17 of my passport are occupied by my “Aufenthaltstitel” – “Residence title.”

It was the thrilling culmination to a long morning of German-Style Bureaucracy.

I started by meeting K, from the office, at the train station in Weimar, where we went and got some passport photos taken. The photos were excellent, and I will try to scan one for use on the web- they are, without a doubt, among the very best photos I have had taken of me in a very long time.

We walked down to the offices where I needed to register, and starting with the driver’s license office, we went to work. I turned in all of my paperwork, but- it was declared, that I needed another form that proved something-what I am not sure, but the form appeared to be a reproduction of some very basic passport information, all for the fee of €5. In order to get that piece of paper we had to go down the hall to another office and wait a few moments in the hall before being allowed into the office.

It felt quite a bit like we were wandering the halls of an elementary school-the same drab wall coloring, the same drab everything-no one ever said that German Bureaucracy would be housed in a friendly office building, but then again, nobody ever said that kids in America should go to school in friendly school buildings.

Once we had the piece of paper, we returned to the driver’s licenses office where the woman examined my Indiana License and after she couldn’t determine what kind of vehicles I am allowed to operate, she pulled out a manual that showed all kinds of driver’s licenses from around the world. Nice, except for the fact that it showed the old Indiana licenses from before the credit card era.

Eventually she decided that I could drive whatever I could drive (hopefully cars), collected €35 and announced that in four weeks my license should be ready.

And by the way, that’s four weeks for everybody. Mine is slightly more complicated because I am, in essence, moving my license from the United States to Germany, but it is nothing at all like the US System where you go into an office, fill out forms, pose for a picture, and then wait five or ten minutes while your license prints out.

(And as an aside, the license is good for life.)

Once we finished this we went over to the residency permit office where, thanks to J, from the kleinschloss, much of the leg work was already done. We were in and out of the office in about 20 minutes and my passport now has two pages occupied by the aforementioned Aufenthaltstitel. Talk about cool!

2 comments to Legal

  • Chris C

    So, now a legal resident of Germany for how long… does the permit expire? 🙂 Then again, if they are giving you a lifelong drivers license I’m guessing no?

    Now all you need is a subscription to ExPat Magazine.

  • I think the permit is for a year, and they only issue lifetime drivers licenses… I can always get the permit renewed.