Life admin – it’s something everyone has to deal with. Correspondence, finance, tax, registration forms, paying bills, etc. It’s so necessary and so painful. And in a foreign language? Excruciating. Getting the answers you want feels like banging your head against a brick wall. It’s hard to talk to customer service without getting shut down for not speaking German. The credibility of replies on English-language social media forums is questionable at best. Lately, I’ve been getting all sorts of requests for help with expat life admin tasks, things like “can I pay you to sort out this billing issue?”, “I got a scary letter from the Finanzamt, can you help me understand it?” or “Can you find me a medical specialist who speaks English?” I can, I can and I can! Introducing Life Admin from Red Tape Translation.
Here’s how it works. You buy an hour for 49 Euros and send me an email telling me exactly what you need to get done. I get started and keep you in the loop. If we need to make three-way calls, we schedule a time to do so. I note who I’ve talked to or when I left messages, what was said and send you updates as I go. I can talk through forms with you over the phone or fill them out and send them to you as a PDF to check before you send them away.
The first hour is a minimum fee of 49€. If it takes less than an hour to finish the job, you can use the remaining time for more Life Admin, or apply the remaining credit towards another Red Tape Translation service any time within the next 12 months. If it takes more than an hour, and you’re happy to continue, I’ll just bill you (in 15-minute increments) until everything’s wrapped up.
Common Ways to Use Life Admin:
- To-dos when leaving Germany: de-registering (Abmeldung), canceling contracts and utilities, tying up loose ends
- Canceling or changing your gym membership, cell phone plan, internet or TV providers
- Understanding and responding to German letters from authorities and government departments
- Contacting Kitas or schools to register your interest in a childcare or school placement
- Finding an English-speaking medical specialist near your home and booking the next available appointment
- Notifying a change of address, setting up mail forwarding
- Sorting out gaps in your pension payment history
- Sourcing an original birth certificate for an ancestor born in Germany
- Switching insurance providers
- Enquiring about a bill that has been sent to a debt collector, suggesting a payment plan
- Coordinating tradespeople, organising repairs
- You tell me!
One important thing to note – I’m not a licensed tax, legal or insurance professional, so I can’t provide you with financial or legal advice or recommend which insurance provider you use. Once you’ve made your decisions on those things, though, I’m ready and willing to help you fill out the paperwork to make it all happen.
So gather up everything in that pile of documents you’ve been avoiding for months, scan it in and book an hour of Life Admin. Leave some detailed instructions on the form or if you’re not sure what has to be done, ask me to find out. I’ll get right on it and keep you in the loop. In the meanwhile, you can breathe easy knowing that you’re getting your affairs in order, and you can focus on the many more exciting things that brought you to Germany in the first place: work, study, love, leisure and the excitement of expat life!
I decided to first send this short mail with my enquiry, to see if It would be worthwhile proceeding with booking an appointment. My situation is the following:
I live in Berlin and I am currently working as a freelancer (Architecture and Graphic Assistance). I do have the receipts of the last 6 months. I am angemeldet here (but, unfortunately, I am currently not staying in the apartment I was angemeldet at. I had to move out and hadn’t had the time to change my Anmeldung due to the current situation, I’m not sure this is important though). I also don’t have a german bank account, but a greek one. My health insurance is provided by the EU. As my income is very little at the moment, and I can barely support myself, I was wondering if I could apply for the financial support the job center offers. If so, I would be happy to book an appointment so that you could help me with all the forms.
Thank you very much in advance!
Sarah Beaman says
Hi Maria, I can’t say for sure whether you will be eligible. From the information you’ve given, probably. All anyone can really do is fill out the forms, disclose all information and see what happens. You might want to wait to see whether the freelance grant will be suitable before applying for ALGII. The pplication form for that one (Berlin) should be out by Friday this week. Feel free to book a half hour slot to begin with and we can use the time to figure out what you’re eligible for and/or help with the application form.
Maria Papadouli says
Thank you very much or getting back to me!
I just read the announcement on the link you posted. The only question that I still have is if it is possible to receive the funding if I am not working full time (some months I could have possibly accumulated the amount of hours that would qualify as “full time”, but normally it’s less than that). Am I still eligible for applying? If so, I will book an appointment with you as soon as possilbe.
Thank you agaim,
Kathleen Parker says
Hi Maria – can you please remind me which funding you’re talking about? We’ve made so many announcements over the weekend my head is spinning.
do you still have availability tomorrow for life admin booking ?
Kathleen Parker says
Yes I do! Once you book I’ll send you a calendar link. Plenty of times during the day.
I have been working in Germany for last 10+ years, I already have a permanent residence permit and am settled here along with my son. Because of my health and other personal reasons, i plan to quit my job, take care of my child. However, I would like to continue living in Germany after quitting my corporate life..
In other words, i plan to take early voluntary retirement from my professional career.
I can take care of my living expenses by myself, after being employed.
In such a case, can I continue to live in Germany, since i already have a permanent residence permit ?
Can i renew my permanent residence permit after its expiry many years later ?
Kathleen Parker says
Hi Is. If you have a permanent residence permit, it won’t have an expiry date and you won’t need to renew it. If that is the case, then yes, you can quit your job and retire without jeopardising your stay in Germany. When you applied for permanent residency, you had to show that you had adequate pension cover, which you clearly do if you’ve been employed for the last 10+ years. The only thing I’d watch out for is leaving the country for more than 6 months at a time. Because if you do this, it will invalidate your permanent residence permit. Cheers, Kathleen.