Germany Visa Requirements and Application Process.
To visit Germany, many world nationals may need a visa. Since 1995 when Germany, as an EU Member State, also became a member state of the Schengen Area, travellers can enter Germany with a Schengen Visa.
Who Needs a Visa to Enter Germany?
You will need a short-stay visa to enter Germany and any other member country of the Schengen zone if you are a:
- Passport holders of a third-world country that has not reached a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen states
- Passport holder of a third-world country that has signed a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen states, but you were previously rejected from entering Germany or any other Schengen country.
What Type of Visa Do I Need to Enter Germany?
If you are planning to visit Germany for a short stay trip (up to 90 days), then you have to apply for a Schengen short-stay visa to Germany, also known as a C-type visa, and if you plan to stay in Germany longer than 90 days, you will have to apply for a German long-stay visa, also known a D-type visa.
Depending on your purpose of entry to Germany, you can apply for one of the following short-stay visa types for Germany:
- Germany Airport Transit Visa. Apply for this visa if you need to land at one of the German airports to take a flight to your non-Schengen destination.
- Germany Transit Visa. Apply for this visa if you need to embark on one of the German harbours, to take a vessel that will take you to your non-Schengen destination
- Germany Tourist Visa. Apply for this visa if you wish to visit Germany for vacations, sightseeing, exploring or similar.
- Visa for Visiting Family or Friends in Germany. Apply for this visa if you wish to visit relatives or friends living in Germany.
- Germany Business Visa. Apply for this visa if you need to enter Germany to take part in activities related to business.
- Visa for Official Visit in Germany. Apply for this visa if you must enter Germany for an official visit.
- Germany Medical Visa. Apply for this visa if you need to receive medical care in Germany.
- Germany Visa for Cultural, Sports and Film Crews. Apply for this visa if you need to attend an activity related to culture, sport, religion, or as a part of a film crew.
- Germany Trade Fair & Exhibitions Visa. Apply for this visa if you are planning to participate in a trade fair or exhibition taking place in Germany.
- Germany Training/Internship Visa. Apply for this visa if you want to attend training or do an internship in Germany.
What Documents are Required when Applying for a German Visa?
The following list of documents are required for any short-term German Schengen visa application:
- A visa application form. Complete the form with correct information in compliance with the information in the rest of the documents. Here you can easily learn how to fulfil the German visa form without any mistakes!
- Declaration. Which is a form issued by the German authorities in your country of residence that you need to sign. Through this paper, you confirm that you have provided all required information to the best of your knowledge and belief.
- Two passport photos. These photos must be identical and taken within the last three months.
- Your passport/Travel document:
- Valid for at least 3 months beyond your planned departure date from Germany.
- No older than 10 years.
- And it should contain at least two blank pages.
- Copies of your previous visas (if you have any).
- Round-trip Flight Itinerary. A copy of the round-trip airline reservation with passenger details and dates that prove the stay in Schengen does not exceed 90 days.
- Proof of accommodation. A document through which you prove to the German embassy/consulate where you will be staying during your trip in Germany, i.e. A hotel booking. (Check Booking.com or HotelsCombined to find cheap hotels in Germany!)
- Proof of financial funds for your trip to Germany. According to the European Commission information, a foreign applicant applying for a German visa must be able to attest possessing 45€/day to the German Embassy or Consulate for the period of stay in German territory.
- A cover letter. Explain in this letter the reason why you are applying to visit Germany, how long you wish to stay, and other details regarding your trip.
- Proof of civil status. This could be a marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, etc.
- Germany Travel Health Insurance. Prior to your application, you should obtain travel health insurance for the whole territory of Germany and all the other Schengen states. Your insurance must cover medical emergencies with a minimum of 30,000€.
Travel health insurance policies for foreigners visiting Germany that fulfil Germany Visa requirements can be purchased online from Europ Assistance or DR-WALTER. Travel insurance policies issued by all of these companies are accepted by German authorities worldwide
Additional German Visa Requirements Based on Your Employment Status
The additional Germany visa requirements depending on your working status:
- Employment contract
- Current bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Leave permission from the employer
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
- A copy of your business license
- Company bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
If a student:
- Proof of enrolment
- No-objection certificate from school or university
- Pension statement of the latest 6 months
- Proof of regular income generated by the property, for the last 6 months
>>NOC letter for visa application from school or university.
Additional Germany Visa Requirements for Minors
The additional Germany visa requirements for children applying to get a short-stay visa are as follows:
- Birth certificate of the minor travelling to Germany.
- German application form signed by both parents.
- Family court order. In cases where only one parent has full custody of the child.
- Certified copies of ID/passport of both parents.
- A notarized parental authorization to travel to Germany, signed by both parents/guardians if the minor will be travelling alone.
*Note: When applying at the German embassy/consulate, the guardian or parent should accompany their underage children.
Required Documents for a German Schengen Visa for the Wife/Husband of a German Citizen
When applying to get a German visa as the spouse of a German national/citizen, you must provide the following additional documents:
- Proof of German citizenship of your spouse (ID card or consular card or certification of German nationality or naturalization order).
- German marriage certificate.
- German family record book.
German Schengen Visa for Members of Official Delegations
When applying to get a German visa as a member of an official delegation, you must provide the following additional documents:
- The official invitation copy.
- Evidence about the purpose of the journey (negotiations, meetings, events by intergovernmental organizations, consultations).
How to Apply for a German Short-Stay Visa?
In order to complete the application process to obtain a short-stay visa to Germany, you must follow these steps:
- Find out what kind of German visa you need.
- Check where you need to apply.
- Fulfil the German short-stay visa application form.
- Collect the statutory Germany visa requirements. Do not forget to:
- Get travel health insurance (You can get it online from Europ Assistance or DR-WALTER).
- Book a flight.
- Arrange your accommodation.
- Schedule a visa interview.
- Attend the interview at the appropriate German Embassy/Consulate/VAC.
- Wait for a response to your application.
Where to Apply for a German Short-Stay Visa?
Submit your German visa application to visit Germany at the competent German representative body in your country of residence. This representative body could be as follows:
- The German Embassy
- A German Consulate
- A Visa Application Center to which Germany has outsourced visa submission
- The Embassy / Consulate of another Schengen country to which Germany has outsourced visa submission
Who Can Apply for a Schengen Visa at the German Embassy/Consulate/VAC?
If you are planning to visit only the Federal Republic of Germany, and no other Schengen country during this trip, submit your Schengen visa application at the German Embassy/Consulate/VAC.
On the other hand, the Schengen states have created rules on where to apply in case you are planning to visit more than one country. If Germany is not your only destination in the Schengen territory, submit your application at the German Embassy / Consulate / VAC only if:
- You will be spending more days in Germany than in other countries.
- You will be spending an equal amount of days in each country, but you will enter the Schengen Zone through Germany.
Please note that you cannot apply for a short-stay German visa from a country where you are currently on a visa. You need to be a citizen of that country or on a residence permit there in order to be eligible to file your Germany Visa application.
How Long Does It Take to Get a German Visa?
The processing time for your Germany short-stay visa may take up to 15 days. If you file your visa application during peak seasons when the German embassies receive too many applications, you may have to wait up to 30 days to process your visa, or even up to 60 days in extraordinary cases.
That is why you should submit your application for a German visa as soon as possible in order to avoid any delay in the issuance of your German short-stay visa. The earliest you can apply is three months before your trip, and the latest is 15 days.
How Much Does It Cost to Apply for a German Visa?
The German Schengen Visa fees are as follows:
- €80 for adults applying for a short-stay visa
- €75 for adults applying for a long-stay visa
- €40 for children under the age of 12
- Free of charge for children under 6
In addition, there are some categories of applicants exempt from paying the fee and others that need to pay a lower amount as well.
Check the list of the German Schengen Visa fees, to see if you belong to any of these categories!
How Long Can We Stay in Germany Without a Visa?
All nationals of the EU / EEA member countries can enter and remain in Germany for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. If they wish to stay longer, they must register with the relevant German authorities.
Passport holders of Germany visa-exempt countries are allowed to remain in Germany and the other Schengen countries for up to 90 days, within a six-month period. If they wish to stay longer, again depending on their nationality, they will need to take some further steps, as follows:
- Nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of South Korea and the United States of America need to obtain a residence permit from the relevant German authorities within three months of arrival in Germany.
- Nationals of the rest of the German visa-exempt countries will have to apply for a Germany National visa for long stays from their country of residence.
Whereas the nationals of countries that still have not signed a visa-free agreement with Germany and the other Schengen members must obtain a visa before heading to Germany or any other Schengen member country.
Make sure you are familiar with the 90/180 Schengen Visa Rule. Do not break this rule, not even for a day, or you might pay the price. The consequences of overstaying in the Schengen zone are shown here.
Can I Extend My Schengen Visa in Germany?
Yes, you can extend your German Schengen visa, but only in exceptional cases where new facts and special reasons arise after entry in Germany, i.e. Humanitarian reasons or force majeure. You should submit your extension at the Foreigners Authority (BAMF).
Please read How to Extend a Schengen Visa in Germany to understand in what circumstances and under what conditions you can extend your German Schengen Visa.