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Germany - Visas

Short stay visas (Schengen)

European Union nationals do not require a visa to enter Germany though you will require a passport that is valid for the duration of your visit. For all other nationalities, you will need to check the specific rules depending on your country of origin as the European Community has abolished the visa requirement for certain nations. This means that some nationalities do not require a visa for stays up to 90 days within a 180 day period, whereas other nationalities will always require a visa to enter Germany. You can find a list of the specific requirements for each nationality here.

The fee for all short stay visas is 60 Euros. Fee exemptions may be possible but you should consult your local German embassy for more information on this or the German Federal Foreign office website.

A short stay visa will take approximately 2 to 10 days to be processed, but could be longer in busy tourist seasons. It’s always a good idea to leave plenty of time for your visa application to be processed.

To apply for a short stay visa you may need to visit your local German embassy. You can download all the relevant application forms from the German Federal Foreign Office website.

In order to be granted a short stay visa you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have a plausible and comprehensible reason for entering Germany.
  • You must have sufficient income to be able to finance your living and travel costs within Germany. (This can be guaranteed by a third party if necessary).
  • You must be prepared to leave Germany before the visa expires.
  • You must provide evidence of travel health insurance with a minimum value of 30,000 euros.
  • An application for a visa may be rejected if your presence within Germany is deemed to jeopardise security or public order. In any case where a visa application is rejected, you will be informed of the specific reason for the rejection and you will be entitled to take legal recourse against the decision made.

    Long stay visas or stays entitling the holder to take up gainful employment

    A long stay visa can take several months to be processed. European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals do not require a visa for long stay periods or to take up gainful employment in Germany. However, you will need to register at the nearest registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt or Kreisverwaltungsreferat or Bürgerbüro) within 7 days of arriving in Germany, and you will normally need to be able to speak German in order to register. If you don’t speak German yourself you should make sure that you’re accompanied by someone who does who can help you. Different registration offices will ask you to provide different documents, but this may include your passport, proof of address and marriage or divorce certificates. You may also be asked to pay a fee. It is worth checking the exact requirements with your local registration office before you attend. If you are then moving house within Germany you will need to re-register at the closest registration office to your new home, and you must de-register if you leave Germany.

    Most other non-EU foreign nationals will need to apply for a long stay visa from their own country of origin, however nationals from the following countries are able to enter Germany first and then apply for their long stay visa: Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United States of America, Israel and Australia.

    In order to apply for a long stay visa you should contact your local Germany embassy in order to collect the relevant application forms and receive more information on specific requirements and fees. Final responsibility for issuing visas is given to individual missions of the Federal Republic of Germany, meaning its embassies and consulates-general that are based in each foreign country. Each of these missions will have its own website with detailed information on applying for a visa. However for general information on all types of visa to enter Germany you can contact the German Federal Foreign Office:

    Federal Foreign Office
    The official body representing Germany’s interests to the rest of the world.
    Tel: +49 3018 170

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