Germany Visa

Germany Visa

Traveling to Germany

One of the largest and most populous countries in Europe, Germany is a global political and economic powerhouse. With its robust business environment, excellent schools, and distinct cultural offerings Germany draws millions of travelers each year, from Berlin to Bavaria—and throughout the country. 

You may need a visa to travel to Germany, depending on where you are from (nationality), the length of your trip (duration of stay), and your reason for travel (type of visa needed). 

There are numerous types of visas for Germany, which are valid for travel for specific purposes and times. Different German visas have different Germany visa requirements and validity periods.

In general, German visas can be divided into two main categories: short stay visas and long stay visas (a long stay visa for Germany is required for those looking to spend more than 90 days in the country).

Another main distinction relates to allowed entries: a single entry will allow you just one entry into the country; a multiple entry visa for Germany  will let you enter and exit as many times as needed. 

Germany visa types

Short Term Visas (Type C) 

Schengen Visas 

  • Business 
  • Cultural 
  • Medical
  • Official Visit 
  • Other 
  • Sports
  • Study (Germany Schengen Student visa) 
  • Tourism (Germany Tourist visa)
  • Visiting Family or Friends

Transit Visa (Type A) 

  • Germany Transit visa

Long Term Visas (Type D, National) 

The below long stay visas to Germany allow you to stay in the country for up to one year: 

  • Family reunification 
    • Family Reunion with a German Spouse/Child
    • Family Reunion with a Foreign Spouse/Child 
  • Research visa
  • Study visa (Germany Student visa) 
    • Study 
    • PhD Study 
  • Work visa  
    • Au Pair 
    • IT Specialists with professional experience
    • Skilled workers holding a university degree
    • Skilled workers with vocational training 
    • Skilled workers seeking employment (Germany Working visa) 

Germany visa requirements

The following documents are typically required for all visas to Germany.

Passport

Official, government-issued document, not older than 10 years, with the correct validity length (a minimum three months past the intended day of exit from Germany)

Visa fee

Your Germany visa fee will depend on the type of visa you are applying for, and possibly other factors, such as your age. The typical cost for an adult German Schengen visa is €80; national German D visas are €75.

Personal photos

Two recently taken photos of the applicant. Photos should be passport style (and have passport dimensions). You will likely upload these photos electronically; alternatively, you will be asked to submit physical copies 

Additional documents:

You will almost certainly have to submit additional documents on your German visa application. Requested documents are typically those which help visa authorities confirm your identity, determine the truthfulness of your stated purpose of travel, and assess your financial state. The type of German visa you apply for will determine your supplemental documents, which may include the following: 

Biographical documents

Identity documents, such as your birth certificate

Financial materials 

Documents showing your finances, such as your bank balance

Accommodation

Information about where you will stay in Germany

Educational materials 

Proof of university education, etc.

Proof of medical insurance

Please note that all documents must likely be written in German or English (or accompanied by official translations into either language).

Germany visa application

Applicants for German visas should follow these general steps, which may vary slightly depending on numerous factors, including visa type and application destination.

  1. Prepare your visa application

    Choose your visa duration
    Determine how long you intend to be in Germany—i.e. what type of German visa you need: long, short, or airport. This will determine how you proceed with the subsequent application steps.
    Select your German visa purpose
    Choose your reason for travel (working, study, etc.) 
    Select your entry category
    Your selection of the single-entry visa for Germany or the multiple entry visa for Germany will determine whether or not you may travel in and out of the country/Schengen area throughout your visa period. Consider that holders of the single-entry visa for Germany cannot return to the country after exiting.
    Determine where to apply
    Find your physical application destination (place where you will submit your visa application). This is typically the German Embassy/Consulate or associated visa-application center where you live. For more information, see “where to apply.”

  2. Fill out your visa application

    Access your main application form
    Access the online Schengen visa to Germany via the German visa portal.
    If you are applying for a long-stay visa to Germany, you should find the application form pertaining to your specific visa type online and print it out. You will bring the completed form to your visa appointment.
    Gather the rest of your documents
    Gather your required documents as well as the supplemental ones required for your specific German visa type.

  3. Schedule your visa interview

    Almost all German visa applicants, even those who apply for the Schengen visa online, must attend a visa appointment at their application destination. Scheduling a German visa interview can take days, weeks, or even months. If you can’t make a visa appointment online through VIDEX, you may need to reach out to your application destination directly (via email/phone) to make an appointment.

  4. Attend your visa interview

    This is where you will submit your biometric information, pay your German visa fee, be interviewed, and meet other requirements pertaining to your visa type. This is typically the final stage of the Germany visa application process; you will either be granted a visa upon the conclusion of your appointment, receive a rejection, or leave to await a decision.

Please note that certain visas may require subsequent steps (for example, if you are applying for a long term Germany Business visa you may need to apply for Germany Work permit—other long term visas may require you to apply for a residence permit for Germany. For more information about whether your visa application will subsequently require you to seek a Germany Work Permit or a residence permit for Germany, make sure to research the specific visa requirements for your specific visa type. 

Where to apply for Germany visa

Germany visa application processing occurs at German embassies and consulates (and their associated visa application centers) around the world.

You can apply for a German Schengen visa application online, through the online VIDEX system (long term German visa applications are not available via VIDEX). However, even online applicants must fulfill the in-person Germany visa requirements, which can only be fulfilled at physical German embassies/consulates and visa application centers. If you are outside of Germany and are applying for a Germany visa, you will apply through the German embassy/consulate or visa application center where you live.

When to apply for a Germany Visa

Applicants for short-stay visas to Germany are advised to submit their application a minimum of fourteen days before their intended trip. And while applying well in advance is recommended, applying too early (i.e. over six months before departure) is discouraged.  

Germany visa processing time

The Germany visa application processing time varies. Factors which determine how long it will take to get your visa include the following:     

  • German visa type 
  • Application destination 
  • Your nationality 
  • The completeness of application 

Depending on all of these factors, you could expect to receive a visa anywhere between one to three months (for a long term visa). Schengen visa applications could take longer (or shorter) to be processed. 

Germany visa FAQ

Who needs a Germany visa?

Depending on where you are from, you may need a visa to enter the country, regardless of how long you intend to stay. Some nationalities do not need a visa to travel to Germany . Regardless of your nationality, however, you will need a visa if you intend to stay in the country longer than 90 days and you are not an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen. 

How do I get a visa for Germany?

Get a Germany tourist visa or another type of travel document for Germany (visa) by submitting an application to your local German embassy/consulate/visa application center, meeting the visa requirements, and paying your visa fee.

How much bank balance is required for Schengen visa?

The amount of money you need depends on the Schengen country you are visiting. You will likely need to show several months proof of salary/bank statements in order to meet the Schengen proof of funds requirement.

How do you decide which of the many types of Germany visa you need to apply for?

Choose from among the various types of Germany visa you need to apply for by considering your reason for travel and how long you want to stay in the country. These factors will determine the type of visa you need. In addition to visa type, you should also determine how many entries you need i.e. whether you need a multiple entry visa for Germany or a single entry visa for Germany.

What if my Schengen visa is rejected?

Rejected Schengen visa applicants can appeal the decision, reapply, or apply for another travel document for Germany (different German visa, such as a Germany Working visa).

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