Germany sees a number of visitors every year and plenty of people who want to live there long-term. However, most people need to have a valid visa in order to enter the country. In 2019, German consulates and embassies issued 1.959.401 short-term visas and 324.636 long-term visas to foreign nationals.
Who Needs a Visa for Germany?
If you are travelling to Germany for the purpose of tourism, then you will not need a short-stay visa to Germany if you are a national of the 62 visa-exempt countries. A German Tourist visa entitles its holder to stay in Germany for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. Holders are permitted to travel to Germany and the other 25 Schengen countries while the visa is valid.
Types of Visas for Germany
Due to the several purposes under which one might wish to enter Germany, the German Immigration Authorities have established a few types of visa.
Here are the types of German visas that you can apply for:
- Germany Airport Transit visa – to transit through a German airport.
- Germany Schengen visa – to visit family and friends or for tourism, for medical treatment, for official, cultural or sports visits.
- Germany Business visa – to attend meetings and other business related events.
- Germany Student Visa for prospective students in Germany or those that have already been admitted in a German university.
- Germany Language Course Visa for prospective students in Germany may need to attend a langue course before being fully admitted to a university.
- Germany Student Internship Visa for students who want to participate in a training program or internship in Germany that lasts longer than 90 days.
- Germany Researcher visa for international scholars and researchers who will participate in a scientific event in Germany.
- Germany Employment Visa for persons that have a job offer in Germany and can be used to work on a paid job.
- Germany Job Seeker Visa for those seeking attractive job opportunities in Germany but do not have a job offer yet.
- Germany Freelancer Visa for foreign freelancers of different fields to enter Germany and work there as a Freelancer.
- Germany Family Reunion Visa for bringing specifically spouses and children of those who have already settled in Germany
- Medical Treatment Visa for every international with health issues to seek medical treatment in Germany.
What Should I do if I Have to Stay in Germany for Longer Than 90 Days?
If you will stay in Germany for longer than 90 days and are not a national of one the countries mentioned above, you should apply for one of the German long stay visas. The Germany long stay visas, contrary to short stay visas are issued for stays that exceed 90 days and under completely different purpose of travel than the purpose of short stay visas. You will not need to apply for a German long stay visa only if you are a national of:
- EU/EEA/EFTA countries
- New Zealand
- Republic of South Korea
- the United States of America
Then, if your visa is granted, upon arrival in Germany you will have to get a German residence permit. Here are the types of German residence permits based on the purpose of the visa that has been issued:
- Germany Student Residence Permit – issued to a student who participates in a training program, study at a university and is issued for the length of the course.
- German Employment Residence Permit – issued to those who get a job offer in Germany after actively seeking work under a Job Seeker visa.
- German Family Reunion Residence Permit – issued to family members of German residents for the purpose of family reunification.
- Germany EU Blue Card – residence permit for highly skilled workers and want to work in their area of expertise in Germany.
- EU Residence Permit – issued for these groups of people who want to reside in Germany on another EU country.
- Germany Humanitarian Residence Permit – issued to those who have escaped a situation in their home country.
- Permanent Residence Permit – issued to settle in Germany
How to Apply for a Germany Visa?
The first thing you need to do when applying for a German visa is to find the nearest German mission in your country, and then you can proceed with the following steps:
- Fill out the online visa application form.
- Prepare the required documents.
- Set up an interview date at the embassy/consulate.
- Attend the visa interview.
- Submit your fingerprints.
- Pay the visa application fee.
- Go to Germany.
Keep in mind that the application process for a German visa may be different depending on which country you apply from since each local German mission works differently.
Where to Apply for a Germany Visa?
For a short-stay Germany visa, you have to apply at a German mission in your home country or near you. However, if you are applying for a long-stay visa you have to apply at two different institutions:
- A German mission. For your entry visa (national D visa), you still have to apply in your home country at a German embassy or consulate so you can enter the country.
- Foreigner’s Office. When you enter Germany, you have to register at the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner’s Office) to get your residence permit.
What If My Application Is Rejected?
If the German embassy rejects your visa application, you will receive the reason behind this decision. If you think this decision is unjust, you can always appeal by writing an appeal letter for visa refusal.
Here you can read about the 9 most common reasons for Germany visa denial.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Visa to Germany?
It takes up to 15 business days to process your Germany visa application. If you are applying for a long-term visa, your application’s processing time may take several months.
However, keep in mind that the time it takes to process your visa application is dependent on several factors such as the staff available at the visa office, the time when you apply for the visa (off-season or in-season), and whether you submit a completed application or not.
How Much Does a Germany Visa Cost?
A Germany short-stay visa costs €80 for the main applicant. However, the fees change based on what type of German visa you are applying for and how old you are. For example, if you have a child under 6, their visa application is free of charge, while for children between ages 6 and 12, the cost is reduced to €40.
You are usually required to pay the fee after you complete your interview; sometimes, you can complete the visa payment when you fill out the online visa application form- it depends from country to country.
It’s important to remember that the Germany visa fee is non-refundable, even if your visa application is denied. Also, please keep in mind that most foreign German missions do not accept payments from digital wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay; you are usually required to pay cash or by credit card (you must be the cardholder).
How Long Can You Stay in Germany With a Visa?
The validity of your german visa changes based on the type of visa you applied for:
|Germany Airport Transit Visa||24 hours|
|Germany Schengen (Tourist) Visa||90 days in a 180 day period|
|Germany Business Visa||90 days in a 180 day period|
|Germany Student Applicant Visa||3 months (in case you haven’t received a formal admission yet)|
|Germany Student Visa||More than 3 months (depends on your study program)|
|Germany Job Seeker Visa||6 months|
|Germany Research and Guest Scientist Visa||3 months up to 6 months (may last longer depending on the research)|
|Germany Freelancer Entry Visa||3 months|
|Germany Freelancer Long-Stay Visa||1 up to 3 years|
|Germany Language Course Visa||3 months|
|Germany Temporary Work Permit||1 up to 3 years (depends on the contract)|
|Germany Family Reunion Visa||1 year (initially)|
|Germany EU Blue Card||4 years (with possible extension)|
Please keep in mind that when you apply for a long-stay visa in Germany, your initial entry visa (D visa) is valid for three to six months. After you enter the country, you can get your temporary permit for one year up to three, depending on your visa type. Afterwards, you can explore options for a permanent residence visa.
Germany Visa Extension
You can extend your German visa if you have very compelling reasons that include the following:
- Force majeure. This can be any type of event that is out of your control, such as an earthquake, a storm, or for some reason, you cannot enter your country.
- Personal reasons. Personal reasons include urgent business, which occurred unexpectedly, or family-related issues.
- Humanitarian reasons. Examples of humanitarian reasons include sudden illness, either you or a close family member.
- Late entry. You entered Germany later than when your visa was issued, and you did not use the entire visa period.
How Do I Extend a Germany Visa?
To extend your stay in Germany, you have to apply for your visa extension at the Foreigner’s Office in Berlin, Keplerstr (Ausländerbehörde). For the application process, you need the following documents:
- Your valid passport.
- Your valid visa.
- Germany visa extension form.
- Proof of income.
- Health insurance.
- Any other type of documents related to your visa type.
Please note that you should make an appointment by email with the Foreigner’s Office for your extension. If your request for an extension is successful, your visa will be extended on the same day.
Do I Have to Pay for a Germany Visa Extension?
You have to pay €30 for your Germany visa extension if your extension was due to personal reasons or late entry. However, if you have humanitarian reasons or force majeure, you don’t need to pay a visa extension fee.
It’s important to remember that if you need a second extension, the fee is €60 for adults while €30 for minors.
Can a Germany Visa Be Revoked?
Yes, your Germany visa can be revoked if the conditions under which it was granted are no longer valid. Your Germany visa can also be cancelled if one of the following occurs:
- You provided false information when you applied for the visa.
- You committed a crime, and are seen as dangerous to Germany and its values.
You can always re-apply for another German visa. Still, getting another German visa may be more challenging because your visa was revoked once because of false information or a crime you committed.