The Federal Republic of Germany is the most powerful European economy, and one of the founders of many European agreements and organizations as the European Union and the Schengen Area. It has an area of 357,386 km2 and a population of 82,800,000 as of 2018.
It borders with nine other countries, more than any other country in Europe, what makes it an even more valuable tourism attraction. Germany is home to many castles, palaces and a lot of monuments which are part of the German and European history. The Brandenburg Gate, Cologne Cathedral, Neuschwanstein Castle, Bamberg and many other German attractions are in the “must-see list” of tourists in Europe.
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.
As per 2018, Germany has issued a total of 1,838,775 uniform Schengen visas from 2,056,296 visa applications received at German consulates and embassies around the world. The Visa rejection rate was 9.1%.
Germany Entry Restrictions in Response to Coronavirus
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Germany, as well as the rest of the EU and Schengen Area members imposed an EU-wide entry ban on third-country nationals on March 17, 2020. With the improved epidemiological situation in the EU and abroad, Germany has lifted the entry ban for a few third-countries and several categories of travellers.
Germany lifted the restrictions on travel for residents of the following third countries: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Uruguay.
Once the possibility of mutual entry is confirmed, the list will also include Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Macao SARs of the People’s Republic of China.
At the same time with the residents of the above countries, the following categories of travellers coming from the rest of world countries can enter Germany:
- German nationals, Union citizens and third-country nationals with an existing right of residence in Germany.
- Health personnel, health researchers and geriatric nursing staff.
- Foreign specialists and highly qualified employees, whose employment is necessary from an economic point of view and whose work is not postponed or can be carried out abroad.
- Personnel in goods transport and other transport personnel.
- Seasonal workers in agriculture.
- International students whose studies cannot be carried out entirely from abroad.
- Foreign family members arriving by family reunification and visiting trips for urgent family reasons.
- Persons who need international protection or protection for other humanitarian reasons.
- Diplomats, Personnel from international organizations, military personnel and humanitarian workers in the course of their duties.
- Late repatriates.
- Passengers in transit traffic.
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Germany Entry Requirements
Germany is one of the founders of the idea behind the borderless travel area of Schengen. As such, every EU national coming to Germany only need to carry with them an identification document.
On the other hand, non-EU travellers showing up at the German port of entry, need to present the following, in order to be allowed to enter Germany:
- A passport or travel document. Issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least three more months beyond their planned date of exit from Germany.
- A valid visa. If require.
- Proof of sufficient funds for entire stay in Germany. Travellers to Germany must able to attest possessing at least 45€ per each day they plan on spending in German territory.
- A round-trip ticket to Germany and back.
You will have to present these documents to the German border police upon arrival. In addition, you will be asked a few questions about your trip to Germany like:
- What is your purpose of visiting Germany?
- How long do you intend to stay in Germany?
- Where are you going to stay in Germany? Etc.
Then, the German border police will decide whether you shall be permitted to enter into Germany or not, since it is in the competence of this person to give the final decision on your admission to Germay.
If you are permitted to enter, make sure that the German border officer stamps your passport. Without a stamp, you could be fined or detained from Germany.
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:
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, known also 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, known also a D-type visa.
Depending on your purpose of entry in Germany, you can apply for one of the following short-stay visa types for 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 learn easily 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 date of departure 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. Find and Book Hotels in Germany!
- 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, AXA Assistance or DR-WALTER. Travel insurance policies issued by all of these companies are accepted by German authorities worldwide.
- Proof financial funds for your trip in 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.
Additional German Visa Requirements Based on Your Employment Status
The additional Germany visa requirements depending on your working status are as listed below:
- A copy of your business license
- Company bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
If a student:
- Pension statement of the latest 6 months
- Proof of regular income generated by property, for the last 6 months
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.
- Germany application form signed by both parents.
- Family court order. In cases where only one parent has full custody over 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 under-age 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 journey (negotiations, meetings, event 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 Germany visa you need.
- Check where you need to apply.
- Fulfill 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, AXA 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 the 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 in which 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 for the processing of your visa, or even up to 60 days in extraordinary cases.
That is why, you should submit your application for a Germany 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 up to 90 days, within a 180-day period. If they wish to stay longer, they have to register at 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, Republic of South Korea and the United States of America need to obtain a residence permit at 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.
Please, make sure you understand the 90/180 Schengen Visa Rule. Do not violate this rule, not even for one day, since you may face consequences for overstaying in the Schengen territory.
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, as i.e. Humanitarian reasons or force majeure.
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.
Can My German Schengen Visa Be Revoked?
Yes, your Germany visa can be revoked, in case the competent German authorities conclude that the conditions for issuing the visa are no longer met.
If the decision on the revocation of your visa happens while you are still in the German territory or in another Schengen member state, you will be given a deadline to leave. If you do not leave the territory of Schengen within this period, you will then be considered an illegal resident.
Please note that failure of the visa holder to provide the border officer, with the entry requirements, may also lead to a decision to annul or revoke the visa, though not automatically.
Long Term Stays in Germany
If you want to stay in Germany for more than 3 months, then you have to apply for a “Long stay visa” also known as a “D-Visa”:
For more information about Germany long stay visas, please go to Germany Visa website.
Health Insurance for Long Term Stays in Germany
Persons with a mandatory visa requirement to enter the Schengen area must take out statutory or private health insurance if they plan to reside in Germany. Health insurance regulations are very different for students, guest workers and immigrants. Health insurance in Germany (by Krankenkassen-Zentrale) explains different scenarios for people entering the country.
Fun fact about Germany: Its capital Berlin is 9 times bigger than Paris and has more bridges than Venice.
Last Updated on December 22, 2020