In 2019, a total of 2,563,240 visa applications for Germany were processed. This includes Schengen Visa Type C as well as national visas for Germany. Find out how to apply for a visa for Germany here.
The C visa is issued for short stays of up to 90 days, the national visa for long stays . Depending on the purpose of entry, different long-term visas are required. Would you like to know which visa you need to apply for when entering Germany, where you can get the application forms and which documents you need? Then please read on.
What is a Germany Visa?
As a foreigner who requires a visa, a visa allows you to enter, transit or stay in Germany. Depending on the type of visa, you can apply for a residence permit for Germany at your local immigration authority. Which Germany visa is the right one for you depends on the duration and purpose of your trip (e.g. visiting relatives, studying or getting married).
Basically, you can apply for two types of visas:
- a Schengen type C visa for short stays of up to 90 days within 6 months
- a national type D visa for long-term stays
Who needs a visa for Germany?
EU citizens as well as citizens of Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are exempt from the visa requirement. After their arrival and settlement in Germany, these citizens only have to register with the responsible residents’ registration offices.
For short-term visas of up to 90 days (Schengen visas), around 60 third countries are exempt from the visa requirement. Find out in our list of countries which citizens need a visa for short stays in Germany and which do not.
For long-term visas over 90 days (national visas), all third-country nationals generally need a visa. However, there are a few exceptions. Citizens from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the USA can also obtain the required residence permit for Germany after entering the country. The same applies to citizens of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino, provided they do not want to take up gainful employment.
All other third-country nationals must apply for a visa for Germany before entering the country .
Where can I find the form for a visa application for Germany?
Do you want to apply for a visa for Germany? The form for the visa application and an overview of the documents required for the visa application are available free of charge from your German diplomatic mission in the local language. The application forms for the national visa can also be downloaded online.
You can apply for a visa for Germany at the responsible German diplomatic mission in your home country. You can find a list of all German missions abroad on the website of the Foreign Office. Make an appointment there to apply for the visa for Germany.
Which forms do you need for a Germany visa?
If you want to apply for a visa for Germany, in addition to the form for the visa application, you will need other documents, which vary depending on the type of visa and your home country.
In principle, the following are always required:
- a completed and signed visa application form,
- a valid passport,
- current biometric passport photos,
- the fee for applying for a visa
1. Documents for a Schengen visa Germany
The Schengen visa is a type C visa for third-country nationals who require a visa and who want to enter the country for a short stay of a maximum of 90 days within 6 months for professional or tourist reasons.
When applying for the Schengen visa, you are obliged to provide a credible explanation of the reason for your trip and the conditions under which you are traveling. The Schengen visa is also known as a tourist or visitor visa.
The following documents are required if you want to apply for a Schengen visa for Germany:
- A letter with your reason for entry
- Travel data based on an entry and return ticket
- Proof of on-site accommodation
- if necessary, letter of invitation when visiting relatives or acquaintances
- Proof of financial means
- Completion of a Schengen visa travel insurance
Note: The invitation letter for the Schengen visa application will be issued by your host in Germany. With the letter, the sender affirms to vouch for your stay in Germany and to cover any costs for the duration of your trip. The host can be a relative, acquaintance or a company or institution that has sufficient income or assets of its own.
2. Documents for a work visa in Germany
The work visa type D is a prerequisite if you want to work as visa requirements foreigners in Germany. You can only apply for a residence permit to take up qualified employment in Germany at the responsible immigration authorities if you have a work visa.
Checklist of documents for a work visa for Germany:
- Proof of residence
- Health insurance: valid from the date of entry into Germany
- Travel insurance from arrival in Germany to the start of work, if not included in health insurance
- Employment contract or binding job offer stating your gross annual salary and a detailed description of the job you will be doing in Germany
- Approval from the Federal Employment Agency (if applicable)
- Proof of qualification: diplomas, certificates, etc.
- Personal cover letter with precise information on the purpose and duration of the stay
- Proof of a clean criminal record
- Proof of paid visa fee
- Declaration on the correctness of the information
3. Documents for a training visa in Germany
As a foreigner who requires a visa, you need a training visa to begin training in Germany. Only with a valid training visa can you apply for a residence permit for the purpose of company or school vocational training at your responsible immigration office in Germany after your entry.
Checklist of the documents for a training visa for Germany:
- Proof of your qualifications (certificates, school leaving certificate, etc.)
- Proof of the apprenticeship position (e.g. apprenticeship contract)
- Proof of German language skills (language level B1)
Note: Additional documents and forms are required to apply for a residence permit at the responsible immigration authorities. If you want to know more about this, you will find interesting information in our article about applying for a training visa for Germany.
4. Documents for a language visa in Germany
If you want to complete a language course in Germany for more than 90 days, you need a language visa. You apply for a language visa if you want to take the German course for professional or private reasons. A preparatory language visa is required if you are taking the course to prepare for studying at a university in Germany.
Checklist of the documents for a language visa for Germany:
- Proof of an intensive language course (certificate or contract from the language school)
Confirmation of the down payment of the course fee
- Health insurance for the duration of the language course
- Proof of secure livelihood in Germany
- Proof of main residence in Germany
- Letter of motivation for attending the language course
- Proof of the fee paid for the visa
5. Documents for a student visa in Germany
If you want to study in Germany as a foreigner who requires a visa, you need a national student visa to enter Germany – provided that your studies last longer than 3 months. After arriving in Germany, apply for a residence permit to study in Germany at your local immigration office. There are two types of student visas you can apply for:
- Study visa
- Visa for university application: This visa does not allow you to study in Germany, it is only valid for personal presence with regard to the university application process
The following documents are required if you want to apply for a student visa for Germany:
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof of funding
- Proof of previous academic achievements
- Proof of existing knowledge of German or a planned language course in Germany
- for a visa for a study application: a university entrance qualification recognized in Germany
- for a visa for study purposes: letter of admission from the university
- possibly a health certificate
6. Documents for a marriage visa in Germany
The marriage visa is also known as the marriage visa. The foreign unmarried partner can enter Germany with this visa in order to get married here or to enter into a civil partnership.
Checklist of the documents for a marriage visa for Germany:
- Registration for marriage
- Proof of German language skills at level A1
- Copy of the passport of the fiancé in Germany
- Copy of the rental contract for the apartment in Germany
- if applicable, declaration of commitment by the fiancé in Germany (for the period from entry to Germany and the date of marriage)
- Proof of travel health insurance : for the first few weeks of your stay in Germany
Note: Registration for marriage takes place before applying for a marriage visa at the registry office in Germany. The marriage visa cannot be applied for without registering for the marriage.
7. Documents for a family reunification visa
The reunification of family members to a person who is already in Germany serves to protect the family. Foreigners who require a visa need a family reunification visa .
Checklist of the documents for a visa for family reunification for Germany:
- Identity card copy of the spouse
- Marriage certificate or proof of same-sex partnership
- Proof of German language skills (A1)
When children follow suit:
- Child’s birth certificate
- Proof of sole custody if the child is only to move in with one parent
Note: This list may not be complete. Ask your German diplomatic mission abroad which documents are required in each individual case.
What does a visa for Germany cost?
A visa for Germany is always subject to a fee . The costs for the visa are to be paid when applying to the responsible German diplomatic mission abroad.
- a Schengen visa costs € 80 and € 40 for children aged 6-12, children under 6 are exempt from the fees
- the fees for a national visa are € 75 and € 37.50 for minors
How long does the visa process for Germany take?
- National visa
Depending on the purpose of your stay, your personal situation and the waiting time that can result from a large number of applications, the processing time for a D visa is one to three months from the date of application.
- Schengen visa
As a rule, the diplomatic missions abroad need up to 14 working days to decide on an application. During the main travel times there may be waiting times until the application can be submitted to the diplomatic mission abroad.
Frequently asked questions about the Germany visa
What visas are there in Germany?
There are different types of visas for Germany depending on the duration and purpose of entry into Germany. Essentially, a distinction is made between the Schengen type C visa for short-term stays and the national type D visa for long-term stays in Germany.
How much does a visa cost in Germany?
A visa for Germany is always subject to a fee. A Schengen visa costs € 80 and € 40 for children. Children under 6 years are exempt from the fee. A national visa € 75 and € 37.50 for minors.
How do I get a visa?
You can apply for a visa at your German diplomatic mission in your home country. To do this, make an appointment to present the completed application forms and the necessary documents.