C-Visa or D-Visa Germany: Which type of visa do I have to apply for?


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Are you planning a trip or a long-term stay in the Federal Republic of Germany and are wondering who needs a visa for Germany? Third-country nationals from 104 countries must apply for a visa to enter the Schengen area and thus also to Germany. Which type of visa should they get?

Find out in advance whether the visa requirement applies to you! In addition, there are different types of visas for Germany, depending on the purpose of the trip and the length of your stay. In this article you will find out which Germany visa applies to your case.

type of visa

Type of visa for Germany: How many are there?

There are 2 main types of visa for Germany. First of all, a distinction must be made between two major types of visa  for Germany. 

The main difference between the two types of Germany visa lies in the purpose of the trip and the length of stay .

  • C-Visa Germany (also known as Schengen Visa)
  • D-Visa Germany (also known as national visa) 

1. C-Visa Germany: Visa for short-term stays

The C-Visa Germany is a short-term visa , which makes it possible to stay in the Schengen area and in the Federal Republic of Germany for up to 90 days. It is suitable for short stays such as visiting family and friends, a business trip or tourist stays. The C visa is therefore the most widespread among the Schengen visas.

2. D-Visa Germany: Visa for long-term stays

If you are planning a long-term stay or taking up work , you must apply for the D visa for Germany. The D visa is also known as a national visa and enables a stay of more than 90 days in Germany. The national visa Germany is therefore suitable for study visits, taking up a job, completing an apprenticeship and family reunification, but also marriage with a partner from the non-Schengen area.

C-Visa for Germany: which visa do I have to apply for?

Furthermore, the Schengen Visa C differs in the purpose of travel. Are you coming to Germany as a visitor, business traveler or tourist? You must have separate documents for each purpose.

1. The C-Visa as a tourist visa for Germany

If you only come to Germany as a tourist for a short stay, then the tourist visa Germany in the form of the Schengen visa C is sufficient. With this type of visa for Germany, you can stay in the Federal Republic of Germany for up to 90 days and explore the southern German castles and mountains as far as the northern German coast and the lake district. 

You can also move freely around the Schengen area with a Schengen tourist visa (unless otherwise stated on the visa label).

2. The C-Visa as a visitor visa for Germany

If you would like to visit friends or family in Germany, you should clearly state the visit as the reason for your trip when applying for your Schengen short-term visa. In this case, an invitation letter is required, which your host can prepare for you. 

Your host can also sponsor the trip if you cannot finance your stay on your own. In such a case, a declaration of commitment is also required, which your host can submit to the immigration authorities at his place of residence. Even with a Schengen visitor visa, you can move freely in the Schengen area (unless otherwise stated on the visa label).

type of visa

D-Visa Germany: which visa do I have to apply for?

The national D visa is also divided into different visa types based on the purpose of the trip. Depending on what you intend to do with a D visa application, you will need to submit separate documents.

1. The D-Visa for family reunification in Germany

If you are staying in the Federal Republic of Germany for a longer period of time and would like to have your family close by, then you will certainly want family members to join you. A D visa for family reunification is suitable for this. 

In the event of family reunification, spouses and minor children may join them. You can apply for family reunification if you are a citizen of an EU country and are permanently in Germany or if you, as a foreigner, have a residence or settlement permit for Germany.

2. The D-Visa as a marriage visa for Germany

If you are a German citizen and would like to marry a foreign partner, you need a marriage visa. In order to be able to marry a foreign partner in Germany, you should first consult the registry office at your place of residence

For international marriages, foreign documents and certificates often have to be translated and notarized! If your registry office has all the necessary documents, your future spouse can apply for a marriage visa at the responsible German diplomatic mission abroad. 

Only with a national D visa for Germany do you have the opportunity to obtain a residence permit after the marriage. If you apply for a C visa and get married in Germany, you will have to travel to your country again after the visa has expired.

3. The D-Visa as a student visa for Germany

Do you come from a non-Schengen country and would like to study or study abroad in Germany ? In this case, you would come to Germany for more than three months and apply for the D-Visa Germany. Find out everything you need to know about the requirements and application documents for your student visa Germany in our other articles .

4. The D-Visa as a language visa for Germany

Would you like to take part in a German language course that lasts more than 90 days so that you can immerse yourself even deeper in German culture? Then in this case you have to apply for a language visa for Germany. 

If the language course lasts less than 90 days, the C-Visa is sufficient. If your language course lasts longer than three months, you need the language course visa in the form of the national D visa.

5. The D visa as a work visa for Germany

If you come to Germany to work in the land of inventions and innovations, you need a German work visa. In principle, you need a national visa for Germany for any form of work. With this visa you can only work in Germany. You have the option of extending your visa and converting it into a residence permit. For applying for a work visa for more relevant information.

6. The D-Visa as a training visa for Germany

Would you like to complete an apprenticeship in the fourth largest economy in the world so that you can gain a foothold in the home of world-famous companies and corporations and be optimally prepared for the German world of work? Then the training visa Germany in the form of a D visa is the right Germany visa. 

You can read more information and specifics in our article about applying for a training visa for Germany.

type of visa

What travel insurance do I need for Germany Visa?

Travelers who require a visa and want to apply for a Germany visa need travel health insurance for the visa application that offers sufficient insurance cover in the Schengen area. With the help of a Schengen visa health insurance, the destination countries protect themselves against costs that can arise in the event of a medical emergency.

Most of the best Schengen visa insurance providers offer insurance policies that meet the legal requirements of the Schengen countries and are recognized by the foreign missions of the Schengen countries. The following three critical Schengen travel health insurance policy types that cater to the different needs of travelers:

  1. Low-cost health insurance coverage: This travel insurance offers the required minimum protection for as little as 99 cents per day of travel and includes coverage of 30,000 euros in the event of medical emergencies. With this Schengen travel insurance, you can get insurance for the Schengen area for up to 6 months (or 180 days).
  2. Extended European health insurance coverage: This variant offers you not only the basic services but also extended insurance cover up to 100,000 euros. The insured countries include all Schengen countries and all countries of the European Union (including Ireland, Bulgaria and Romania) as well as the micro-states Liechtenstein, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City. With this Schengen travel insurance, you can be insured in the Schengen area for up to 6 months (or 180 days).
  3. Schengen “Multi Trip” annual insurance coverage: This insurance cover is ideal for you if you are a frequent traveler and come to the Schengen area more than twice a year. However, the individual trips may not exceed 90 days!

FAQ: Visa types Germany

What types of visas are there in Germany?

There are different types of visas in Germany, depending on the purpose of your trip and the length of your stay. For a short stay as a tourist or business traveler or for a visit, apply for the C-Visa Germany. If you are staying for a long time to study, work or get married, you need the national D visa.

What is a D Visa?

With the D visa, in contrast to the C visa, you can stay in Germany for longer than 3 months. You have to apply for this national visa directly at the diplomatic mission of the Schengen state where you will be staying for a longer period of time.

How expensive is a visa to Germany?

For a national visa D you pay 75 euros. If you come to Germany with a category C short-term Schengen visa, the visa fee is 80 euros.

Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany


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