Working in Germany – The Paperwork
Yes, yes, we know; there is loads of work for opera singers in Germany. The trouble is, for British citizens and residents, working in Germany can be more than a little complicated.
Brexit rules were vague enough. This was before a global pandemic and the biggest land war since World War II. Now British opera singers are left without a clue about how to live and work in the land of ‘operatunity’.
Well, have no fear! Today I have compiled a list of everything you need to know for living and working in Germany. If you are a British-based opera singer, this is your essential reading for the day!
Singing in Germany post-Brexit. Yes, it is possible!
90 Days Visa Free
If you are a British Citizen, you do not need a visa to visit Germany or any of the Schengen States
. You can stay in Germany for a period of up to 90 days, visa free, as long as you are not earning money there (and are fully vaccinated).
This is great news for auditioning. British opera singers can fly to Germany and audition ad libitum, as long as they don’t earn any money for auditioning (wouldn’t that be nice?).
German opera houses do not reimburse singers for travel expenses. However, they do provide each auditionee with a letter that allows us to claim back these expenses when filing our tax return.
Travel for Non-British Citizens
If you are living in Britain, but you’re not a British or European citizen, you will likely have to apply for a short-stay Schengen visa
to audition in Germany.
Nationals from Europe or the countries of Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland can travel with their families throughout Germany, visa free.
D Visa: Working in Germany
So, you have auditioned successfully in Germany and you got a job. Now what do you do?
To work in Germany as a British citizen, you need to apply for a long-stay national visa
, otherwise known as a D visa. You can apply for this visa before or after you arrive in Germany. This is also true for citizens from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Korea (Republic), and the United States of America.
If you already have a job in Germany, your employer can fill out a pre-approval form before you travel to Germany. This will greatly streamline the visa application process. Your employer can find out more information about that in German or English here
Registration of Residence
If you are working in Germany at all, you will need to register as a resident of Germany. You do this at the local immigration office, or ‘Ausländerbehörde’. This must be done within two weeks of moving to Germany.
After your work in Germany has finished, you will also need to de-register in the same way.
Social Security and Health Insurance
If you just have temporary employment in Germany (e.g. you have a guest contract), you are classified as a seasonal worker and you are not required to have social security or health insurance in Germany (if you have insurance elsewhere).
You can apply for a certificate in your country of origin called the A1 certificate. This exempts you from having to get insurance in Germany. More information about seasonal work can be found here
Cut Through the Red Tape
And that’s it guys. In reality, Brexit means paperwork and a headache. However, there is no need for it to stand in the way of potential contracts in Germany - as long as you can navigate the red tape!
My name is Josh, and I am a German-based opera singer and writer. I run a platform called Singing and Sauerkraut, where I help opera singers to live and work in Germany. To find out more, or to book a free consultation with me, please check out Singing and Sauerkraut