How I got a new passport in less than 2 weeks
Yesterday I tried to get a new passport for my trip to NYC later this year. Therefore I had to go to any Bürgeramt in Berlin. But only very few ones are actually serving citizens without an appointment. The problem with appointments is that the next available appointment was about two month from now if I did not have an emergency.
In Case of an Emergency
An emergency would be for example if you have to plan travel and there is no more appointment available before you go. But you would have to prove documents the exact time of your journey.
Another emergency would be if you had lost your ID or passport or any other important document. But even in these emergency cases the local office can decide not to take you on without an appointment.
Unfortunately my case did not count as an emergency is there was an appointment end of August and my flight was only a few weeks later. But for my personal taste the time frame was way too narrow. So I decided to try my luck:
I waited one hour in vain
On their webpage they let me know that only the Bürgerämter in Kreuzberg are still offering a chance to get things done without an appointment. So I was heading towards the Bürgeramt Yorkstraße at about seven in the morning. I grabbed a quick coffee to go and was expecting to be one of the first in line. And I was lucky as there were only 10 people waiting in front of me. As I was waiting till about 8 o’clock send me an employee showed up. She was proclaiming that anyone without an appointment could go home except if they came for certain matters. Unfortunately applying for new passport wasn’t one of these matters. So I ask her what I should do as the next appointment I could find in the Internet was two months from now. And she told me that on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 AM until 8:30 AM one could go to their webpage and check for spontaneous appointments. Those appointments would be for that same day. I was skeptical at first and called the hotline 115 explain the situation to them. They were simply not aware of such the possibility and just told me what I already knew, That they were no more appointments in the coming two months. So I decided to nevertheless wait a few more minutes and to ask at the information desk what they suggest I should do. I explained to them that I have heard their suggestion but also that I got contradictory information from the hotline. And ask them whether they would give me their word that their information was correct. The woman behind the counter promised me personally that I wouldn’t be able to get an appointment as mentioned in the hallway. I left the place after 90 minutes and rode home.
A Lesson in Trust
The following Monday at 7:30 a.m. I was checking the website and I couldn’t believe what I saw they were indeed several appointments available for that same day. The fact that I would have to drive through whole Berlin for example to Prenzlauer Berg, didn’t really matter to me. I was touched that the two women have been honest with me and decided to give it another try in the following two weeks. A week later I found a convenient appointment which I booked successfully. I went to the place the same day, applied for my new passport, paid for it and was told I could pick it up for days later. And so it happened.
I found one trick helpful: I went to the appointment site just right before 7:30 AM and every minute I refreshed the page until the first appointments showed up. So if you do not see an appointment at first don’t despair refreshing your page might help.
But there is another way to get an appointment. When I was waiting in line that first Monday I heard from a guy next to me that they’re even webpages on which one could find appointments in exchange for a fee. Somehow I manage to find this appointment service. The page Bürgeramt-Termine offered me two options: they would either find me and the following five days anywhere in Berlin at any time for €25 or do so in only 48 hours for €45. I register for the €25 offer and what I really liked about this page is that they with only charge you in case you really take that appointment. That means even if they presented an appointment to me that maybe would not have suited me I could have canceled that and would not have been charged. You can even let them know if you preferences for example that you’re looking for an appointment in the afternoon or on a special day but of course they will not promising that they would be able to consider all your wishes. So when after a few days they could not find anything according to my preferences they sent me an email and ask her that I would like to broaden my search. As I had already found an appointment I wrote them back that I would like to cancel my order. I would have done so before but I couldn’t find a cancel button. They said they were going to consider this for the future. It was a very friendly communication and I can also very strongly recommend their services as I’m aware of that not everyone has the liberty check for one hour on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays between 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM.
So in case you need to get a quick appointment your chances are pretty high to get one. The only downside are that you would have to be very flexible and to take that appointment for that same day that you get to know about it and to be willing the drive through the whole city of Berlin. If that’s not possible for some reason all you can do is to arrange an appointment and wait up to two months if not longer.
Share the good news – There’s Enough for Everyone
If you find this article helpful please share it with our fellow Berliners. You might as well share it after you’ve got your own appointment if you’re afraid that this strategy becomes too popular and would make it more difficult for you to get one ^^. But I wouldn’t worry that much. There were plenty of appointment on every day that I have checked their page. And I checked on four days until I found one that suited me.
I wish you success and a wonderful time in Berlin the Mutterstadt.
- Link for those of you who simply want to register on time: https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/120686/
- Link for those of you who would like to apply for a German passport (might be rather interesting for the Germans among you).
- All other issues can be found here. Unfortunately that list in in German language only.
- Take a look at the hashtag #TerminWuesteBerlin on Twitter to read about other people’s experience with the Berlin offices.