This is a great post. I have a couple questions though: Do we have to have a signed rental contract before we apply for the visa? Do you think an airbnb receipt will work? I do not understand how have to apply for residency through the Bürgeramt before we know whether we have been granted a visa. I would hate to have signed a year rental contract only to find out I did not get granted the visa. Do we have to have a German bank account to sign a rental contract?