All About Your SCHUFA

All About Your SCHUFA

Onward with paperwork…a SCHUFA is a very detailed credit record much like those advertised by Experian in the UK.

Your SCHUFA will reflect your financial history and standing. That fine you left hoping it might go away or that unpaid bill may rear its ugly head on your SCHUFA.

It’s an important document that’s for sure and it will be one you’ll undoubtably need.

Much like the UK your credit history will be checked when taking out such post pay contracts such as one for a mobile phone or further down the line when you’d like credit from a bank.

Nowadays you’ll almost certainly need to hand it over to prospective landlords also.

How do I get my SCHUFA?

To get your credit report (SCHUFA Auskunft) you have a few options and it’s somewhat straight forward.

Legally you are entitled to one free report a year. There are lots of third parties and even SCHUFA Holding AG offering paid subscriptions for your credit records and much more.

To get your free report directly from the company responsible for holding credit records (SCHUFA Holding AG) you’ll need to head over to their website.

They have the request form in multiple languages here, English included.

*Make sure you don’t check the box “Alternative” this will start a subscription.*

You’ll need to print and post the form to SCHUFA Holding AG along with your passport and registration document if you’re a foreign national.

Mine took around 10 days to show up, if you’re in a rush you can head over to Postbank.

There you can obtain in branch with your ID and registration document a print out of your SCHUFA. This will leave you 24.95€ lighter in the pocket and this sum must be paid from a German bank account.

Now you’ll be able to see all of the agencies and companies that have left a mark on your SCHUFA.

Your score is given as a percentage. The whole point of your SCHUFA is to show to those who request it your ability to pay debt.

A sparkly fresh SCHUFA will carry 100% this reduced with bad debts and may also be reduced in proportion with how bad the debt is.

92% plus is a nice SCUFA score, drop a few points down to 85% like my friend and landlords won’t be thrilled.

If you’ve never had financial dealings in Germany apart from opening a basic bank account then don’t worry if your SCUFA informs you that they have no entires on your record.

Good debt can be beneficial for your record. Having credit and repaying it within the terms shows that you are perhaps responsible with finances.

SCHUFA does not take into account your income so even if your pull in serious cheddar every month don’t expect a sterling SCUFA if your financial history in Germany is otherwise iffy.

Leaving fines and over paid bills to blight your postbox and SCUFA will make things difficult in the future.

They will be visible on your record for 3 years but will show in some capacity for 6 years.

Treat the SCUFA with the respect that this potentially dangerous beast deserves for your benefit.

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English Speaking Jobs in Berlin.

English Speaking Jobs in Berlin.

A question that I get asked a lot is “Can I find a job in Berlin without speaking German?”.

Indeed it’s a question that I asked myself many a time before moving here.

I firmly believe that learning German is an integral part to experiencing life here.

Being able to interact with and understand the world around you makes a world of difference.

I can however sympathise with those who speak little to no German.

I’ve worked with people who have recently arrived in Berlin or simply plan to move on to another country in the near future who needed an income.

Many would perhaps think of Berlin as a city crying out for workers, a power house of traditional and high tech industries.

Berlin however suffers from a high unemployment rate of 10.7% against a national average of 7.4% as of August 2015.

The truth is finding work is possible you do however have to be realistic in your expectations.

In my previous life I was self-employed, running a computer support company for 5 years.

I jumped into the job search open minded, I simply wanted an income so that I was’t reliant on my savings.

A casual online search lead me to a vacancy at a call centre tech support role and within two weeks of commencing my search I was employed.

The office language was English, our customers calling from the UK and even our keyboards being of a UK layout.

I have many non-German speaking friends here in Berlin many of which I met at work who have moved on to other English speaking jobs.

All of them however have been in the customer service or sales role.

The call centre gave me a steady income and introduced me to such eclectic and interesting colleagues who are now friends.

The big call centres tend to have a large staff turnover which can be viewed as good or bad.

Good because vacancies can be plentiful on the other hand bad because there’s a reason people are leaving.

Wages are generally low and the work mundane with high expectations for the compensation.

My tip if you land such a job is not to take it personally.

Use it as a foundation and as a motivation to learn German and develop you new life.

Berlin has an ever growing Start Up scene that can’t be ignored by English speaking job seekers.

Many offering alternative, interesting and hip ways in which to work.

A good friend of mine started working for a start up with a large investment behind it.

After an ever increasing recruitment drive the companies fortunes appeared to have changed as almost the whole UK market team was let go.

Whilst I don’t want to throw a downer on the Start Ups I believe that it’s important to remember that they can be volatile.

I needed to provide the following to my employers before I was able to sign my life away on paper:

1.) Registration document Anmeldung.

2.) Passport.

3.) Details of my German bank account.

4.) Proof of my health insurance coverage. This can be requested from your health insurance.

I will be expanding on finding work and how important it was for me in establishing a social life in Berlin.

I hope this brief post helps, please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions.

Registering in Berlin – The Anmeldung

Registering in Berlin – The Anmeldung

 

*This post was written over a year ago. Things are now much different in terms of requirements and waiting times.

As such take this as my experience not a guide on getting registered.

As of posting the wait for an appointment in the whole of Berlin is 2 months.*

The Anmeldung, the piece of paper than can open a few doors on the bureaucracy corridor.

So what is it? It’s a “registration” of where you live, this document although simple in form is an important foundation to getting things done in an organised fashion.

The Anmeldungbescheinigung or registration certificate that you receive will allow you to open a bank account, open a contract account (mobile phone, internet etc), obtain a tax number for employment amongst many other things.

It is also compulsory to register within 2 weeks of arriving in Berlin (often around a week in other parts of Germany) if you plan on spending more than 2 months in this fine city…..technically.

There are plenty of people who simply haven’t registered or have registered after the two week period, this may work for some having the status of I suppose a tourist but for those who wish to settle I’d recommend following the rules, like a good German in training.

The Process. (rather my process)

I have the benefit of having a German friend the benefits of which extend far from her dry humour, hatred of waiting and love of bio produce. My German is by no means fluent and you’ll come across many big and scary words that only Germany could engineer to be so complicated yet functional, almost beautiful.

If you have a German buddy bring them along for the ride as your translator it will make things easier for you and the Berlin official. There are paid services online that will assist you in registering in English should you require it.

Be prepared! As an EU citizen I needed the following;

My Passport

My good friend who lives in the property that I plan to be registered at. Usually a letter will suffice or if you rent your own apartment bring the agreement with you. If you bring a buddy they will need their passport or ID or at least mine did.

Patience, a lot of patience.

You will need to register at an office called a Bürgeramt in Berlin and many large cities. You can find details for these here. You have two options in getting everything in order at the Bürgeramt.

Turn up, take a ticket, wait, get DVT from sitting on a stiff plastic chair for hours and play it cool when after two hours your number is displayed and the room number to which you’ve been summoned.

Advice: Get there early! Yes breakfast is sacred in Germany but skip it if needed, even go before opening and wait pretend you’re in the queue for the latest iGadget.

We visited Tegel Bürgeramt about half an hour after opening and all the tickets for that day had been issued, same story for the nearest Bürgeramt from Tegel too.

If the Deli method of taking a ticket sounds uncivilised then you’ll need an appointment (Termin). You can book an appointment for Berlin on the government website click on “Termin Berlinweit Suchen”to search for available appointments throughout Berlin. Appointments seem to get booked out quickly, give yourself 1-2 weeks.

Appointment booked or ticket in hand you’re ready! The folks at the Bürgeramt will take your details and those of you residence and within 10 mins a rather bland Anmeldungbescheinigung will be yours.

Simple….right…..

Sure it wasn’t fun but you’ve followed procedures, done things correctly. This was the first tangible, official government stamped piece of paper that I’d received. It feels good doesn’t it? Much like that first £/€/$ your business makes, it represents the start of something exciting, slightly daunting but most of all hungry. After all you’ve gotten up early dare I say lost sleep over excitement, waiting outside the Bürgeramt but most of all you’ve missed breakfast.

Now you can strut home, drive black on BVG all the way home and make some toast out of stodgy square processed bread which German folk call toast and make yourself a nice warm cup of tea, but please you’re living in Germany now, don’t add milk.

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