Extend resident permit after studies in Europe

As some of you have asked me about how to extend the resident permit, here I will tell you how. After you finish your studies in Europe you have the right to stay for a few months as a job seeker. This is valid at least as for Belgium, France and Germany, where I have lived. It doesn’t matter in which of these countries you studied, you should be able to get an extension of visa if you follow these steps.

How do I get a new resident permit?

First of all you need to have finished your studies already. Do not expect to get a renewal of your current student resident permit if you are still in the university. The permit you currently have, might be valid either for one year or until the end of your studies.

In case it is valid for one year and your studies will take longer than that, don’t worry. A few weeks before the expiry date of the resident permit, go to the foreigners office. There they will ask you for the same paperwork as always: registration in the university, financial status, renting contract, etc. This procedure is what you have to do every year to keep your status as legal student.

On the other hand, when studies finish, for a new residence permit you basically have to do the same as before. This time it is very important to bring the certificate stating that you have finished your studies in a local university. Other paperwork is basically the same.

What did I do?

I have to admit that I have struggled a lot to get my new residence permit. But in the end I managed to get it in Germany, where I did the last semester of my Master.

The first problem I faced was the renting contract, it ended just after the studies. For this matter I needed to find a new accommodation in Berlin and register in the city hall as usual. To have into account: Berlin is a huge city with lots of city halls which ask for an appointment to get registered. This might take up to several weeks. Make sure you do a little research if you are in a hurry and register in a City hall that doesn’t need appointment.

Then you need to get an appointment in the foreigners office. This was the second problem for me. Since it was the boom moment of refugees coming to Europe, the websites were all collapsed for getting appointments. Then I had to go on the day when they were open in general (no appointment) and do the queue. For this I had to go there at 4 am, because they would give tickets at 6 am, in the order of arrival. Luckily I got the ticket #6 and then had to wait until 11 am when they opened the doors again.

After all this running, I managed to get in and give my paperwork. But my third problem appeared: health insurance of less than one year. Because of this issue, they took my resident permit into a “hold on” and gave me a new appointment after a month to bring the new health insurance valid at least for one year. I got the cheapest option I could see with Mawista student (valid for job seeking visa), for 33 euro/month, a 12 month contract which I was able to cancel at any moment.

Where to read?

As you see, it can be a hard work if you don’t have everything in order. But if your paperwork is ok, then this should be a one week issue. So, just take your hands into it and do what they tell you.

If you are in France, you can read this website. It is very useful and they give tips on how you can get the job seeking visa. In Germany follow this website, which is from Berlin, but it should be the same in all cities (look in the website of your city, as well). For those in Belgium I don’t have any website to recommend, but go to the international office of your university, they should be able to help you.

If you think this information was useful, please share and comment. I am happy to answer to your doubts as well. Contact me if you need to.

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