I couldn’t sleep the night before! If you have ever lived in Lagos, you would know never to anticipate a good sleep the night before a 7 am appointment any distance from your house, especially on a weekday.
I ended up arriving for my 7 am visa interview appointment at 5:30 am – of course, I was the first to arrive.
As with most other official/government-related processes in Nigeria, I needed two full envelopes of all the documents I was issued since I was born – This is actually not an exaggeration. Well here’s an updated list of documents you’ll need to take along with you for your visa interview. My goal was to be the first on the queue to get interviewed, pour out everything I had memorized in the last couple of weeks and then leave fulfilled. Well, man proposes; Nigeria disposes. After arriving very early, fully prepared and totally organized, I was asked to leave because I carried a small backpack which was apparently permitted by the security officials but prohibited by the admin guy (if you know, you know). This small bag cost me an extra 2 hours of waiting because once you’re asked to leave (depending on the reason you were dismissed), you can only rejoin the queue from the back. So in summary, first becomes last.
I finally made it to the main interview. It was like a mini job interview except that the “tell me about yourself” question is often replaced with “tell me about Germany”. Here’s my interview transcript (as much as I can remember):
Interview Official: Do you speak German?
Me: A bit. (my first mistake)
Interview Official: Are you sure? Because we can have this interview in German right now.
Me: (Already beginning to freeze) Oh no! I just started learning to introduce myself in the language. I would prefer English, please.
Interview Official: So why did you choose Germany instead of an English-speaking country? I need your answer in points.
Me: Free education; relatively lower cost of living; high standard of learning, the opportunity to also learn a new language from native speakers while studying.
Interview Official: What else do you know about Germany?
Me: Germany has the strongest economy in Europe, a population of around 83 million people and covers an area of 357,022 square kilometers. The current chancellor is Angela Merkel and the president is Frank-Walter Steinmeier. There are 16 states in Germany (I could name them all at the time but I realized I didn’t have to – I basically just memorized a bunch of stuff from Wikipedia).
Interview Official: Do you have friends or relatives in Germany?
Me: I have a few friends but no relatives that I know of.
Interview Official: So where do you plan to stay?
Me: I already made plans to rent an apartment near my university.
About your studies
Interview Official: Which university is do plan to study at?
Me: Technische Universität Bergakademie, Freiberg.
Interview Official: Why this particular university?
Me: Because it is one of the best in the entire country which offers my choice program and has the best labs and facilities for research.
Interview Official: What do you plan to study?
Me: MSc. Environmental Geoscience.
Interview Official: Why?
Me: (I don’t remember what I said but it must have made sense to us both at the time)
Interview official: What did you study as an undergraduate?
Interview official: What was your CGPA?
Interview official: What? 4.71? That’s first-class? In Geology? In a public university in Nigeria? That doesn’t happen!
Me: (smiling and thinking to myself: this visa is already mine) – jokes on me!
Interview official: So what do you plan to do after getting your M.Sc?
Me: (I know what I said here but the internet must not know)
Interview official: When is your enrollment deadline?
Me: April 4, 2019.
About financing your stay
Interview official: Have you funded your blocked account?
Interview official: Who’s sponsoring your studies?
Me: My family members here.
Interview official: What do they do?
Me: (provided a valid explanation).
Interview official: Alright, if the process is successful you’ll be asked to submit your international passport.
Me: Alright, thank you very much.
Personally, I would say I had it easy. Most interview processes last much longer and contain more rigorous questions. If you would like to have a typical interview sample, just leave a comment below stating your request and I’ll send it to you via email. Usually, after a successful interview, you could get your visa within 2-4weeks. I waited for over six weeks before I got mine!
In my next blog post, I’ll write about my first week in Germany and how I changed my study program from M.Sc. Environmental Geoscience to MBA-IMRE.
PS: I started this blog series to share insights and FREE tips for relocating to Germany. Take it from me, leaving the country legally is cheaper and easier than most people think. Beyond sharing my story (and those of my friends) so you can learn from real experiences, I’ll occasionally share useful resources through newsletters during this series. The resources would all be FREE and trust me, you’ll need them. All you have to do is subscribe to my newsletters so you won’t miss any of them.