family sitting around in kitchen

As an official service of Berlin Partner and the Senate Department for Economics, Energy, and Public Enterprises, we are here to help Berlin’s international community during the Covid-19 crisis.

Our team of advisors joins this effort by offering you support in English and walking you through administrative procedures. Find below a list of questions and answers to help you with the basics. 

#BerlinHelpsExpats
Town Hall Calls

During the Covid-19 crisis, Because Berlin organized a series of online events to help the international community living here. Particularly suffering from the crisis being far from home, we actively helped people who were not familiar with local government laws and regulations, many of whom don’t speak German. Together with city offices, our team was here to support expats in English and answer urgent questions. Listen to the recordings of these informative sessions below and stay informed about all our new online events on our social media channels.

YOU ALREADY LIVE IN BERLIN

I worry about being infected. What should I do?

The Charité developed in cooperation with Data4life CovApp, an online questionnaire in English, evaluating your symptoms, travel history, and potential contacts to give you recommendations in just a few minutes. You will find all major health recommendations, such as relevant hotlines and addresses of screening centers on this website.

Because of the crisis, I cannot pay my current tax bills. Can I delay their payments?

To prevent liquidity bottlenecks, companies affected directly and significantly can submit deferral applications to the responsible tax office, stating their circumstances. It applies to taxes due in the past but not yet paid, as well as taxes due by December 31, 2020. The tax authorities will process the applications in a simplified procedure, taking into account the particular circumstances. There are no strict requirements for granting the deferral. Businesses must demonstrate that they are directly affected. This measure affects income and corporate tax as well as sales tax.

The Senate Department for Finances provides all information and forms (in German) here. We can assist you in English, and help you understand these measures. Contact us.

What does Kurzarbeit mean?

Short-time work (Kurzarbeit) means the temporary reduction of regular working hours. Companies that suffer from a significant impact on revenues because of COVID-19 are allowed to reduce the working hours of their employees to pay lower salaries. It has to be temporary, but the maximum period has been recently extended to 24 months. A short-time work agreement must be concluded between the employee and the employer before starting the procedure with the Federal Employment Agency. The short-time work allowance is calculated based on the net loss of earnings. Short-time employees generally receive 60 percent of the flat-rate net wage.

Find more information (in German) on the Federal Employment Agency and IHK Berlin websites. If you have questions about this in English, get in touch with us. We can help you understand the procedure.

Is short-time work (Kurzarbeit) impacting residence permits extension or applications?

The LEA (Landesamt für Einwanderung) assumes that short-time work will not have a negative impact on residence permits. At least the LEA has no plans to interfere with the validity of the titles. Neither the short-time work nor the restrictions caused by the virus can be long-term.

 

I am looking for a new job. Where can I find valid job offers?

Considering the current context, some job opportunities in the medical field are listed on the website talent-berlin, but speaking German is a prerequisite. We will be posting on our social media channels job opportunities in English when we find some. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and we will share with you other links and tips.

 

My residence permit depended on my job, but my employer had to terminate my contract because of the Covid-19 pandemic. What should I do?

The LEA gives anyone who loses their job 3 months to find a new job. After this period, you must apply for another visa, such as a Job Seeker Visa or a Freelancer Visa. If you do not apply for another residence permit, your old one will expire. The offices have re-opened since September 7, but people are still urged to proceed and register online for an appointment. Find out more about the LEA opening hours and policies, and a detailed FAQ answering many questions about immigration matters. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and we will do our best to help you.

YOU ARE PLANNING TO MOVE TO BERLIN

Can I move to Berlin from abroad at the moment?

Moving to Berlin is possible again, but under strict conditions. Prior to your departure, you have to find a job and complete all visa procedures. Bear in mind that travel restrictions are still ongoing, and we recommend collecting all information before planning your move here.

For more on current global travel warnings, you can visit the German Foreign Office's special website. We will also be happy to guide you personally if you contact us here.

Are they professional opportunities in Berlin at the moment?

We are slowly recovering from the worst phase of the Covid-19 crisis, and new opportunities are awaiting people in the German capital. We recently held an online call with information about moving and working here now. Visit our page to hear the event's recording and follow our social media channels to stay regularly informed of all new developments.

What are the current measures in Berlin to prevent the spreading of the Covid-19 virus?

Everyone’s health is top priority for the city’s administration, which means that important measures are regularly taken to continue the fight against the Covid-19 virus. For more details about how Berlin is trying  to curb the rapid spreading of the coronavirus and the impact on Berliners' day-to-day life, you can visit this website.

If you have more precise inquiries about Berlin's current situation, please get in touch with us, and we will be happy to answer you personally.

I was in the middle of my visa/ residency permit procedure, but the crisis interrupted it. What can I do now?

The Berlin Immigration Office has published a helpful online FAQ in English on the handling and processing of applications during the coronavirus pandemic. If your questions are still not answered, please get in touch with us. We will be happy to help solve your problem as best possible.

I do not have health insurance yet in Germany and I’m afraid to get sick. What can I do?

As it is not allowed to enter Germany without health insurance, you must have contracted overseas travel insurance. Our tip would be to keep this travel insurance for now, until things get back to normal. If you have an employment agreement, you can be in the public insurance program. If you have more questions, please get in touch with us. We will be glad to help!