As the fifth largest economy in the world and one of the wealthiest and largest countries in the European Union, Germany remains an attraction to travelers with its beautiful landmarks and tourist attractions.
Moreover, Germany has a very low rate of unemployment and a very financially stable economy. Thus, it has lured many qualified and skilled workers from abroad to come and work here. With its free educational system and developed health system, it has also attracted many to come to study or for medical purposes.
However, many will need a visa in order to be permitted to enter Germany. The German visa application process requires attention and energy from the visa applicant. The application process includes collecting the documents required for the visa and attending an interview.
Germany Visa Application Process Steps
The exact steps for a Germany visa application, no matter the purpose of entry, are as follows:
- Check if you need a visa
- Figure out what visa type you need
- Fulfill the application form
- Collect the required documents
- Check when you need to apply
- Schedule a visa appointment
- Attend the visa interview
- Pay the visa fee
- Wait for a response on your application
Below in this article find each of these steps elaborated and explained in details.
Do I Need a Visa to Germany?
Whether you need a visa to visit Germany or not, it all depends in several factors, which are:
- your nationality
- the purpose of entry
- the period you wish to remain in Germany
Check here if you need to apply for a visa to Germany according to these factors, or not.
Check Out What Type of Germany Visa You Need
Due to the several purposes under which one might wish to enter Germany, the German Immigration Authorities have established a few types of visa. You should check all types of Germany visas and figure out which visa type fits your situation, before you start your Germany visa application.
Fill-in the German Visa Application Form
The application form that you need to fill depends a lot on the visa type you are applying for. There are two types of application forms:
- Visa application form for short visits to Germany
- Visa application form for long-stay visits in Germany
Choose the right form and enter you information with computer. Give correct information and try to avoid any typos of mistakes. If any of the information you have given in the application form does not comply with the information in the other required documents then your application might get rejected. Print the form and then sign it at the end.
Collect the Required Documents for a Germany Visa
Depending on your nationality and the purpose of visit, the embassy or consulate will ask you to submit some certain documents. The required documents for a Germany visa helps the consular officer decide whether you should be issued a visa or not.
Collect all of these documents according to their instructions and submit official translations for documents that are issued in a language other than English or German. Keep in mind that depending on your country of residence the embassy/consulate might ask you for extra or fewer documents.
Check when you need to apply
There is a given time within which you need to submit your application for a visa to Germany.
- If you are applying to visit Germany for a period up to three months, then you should submit your application three months prior to your trip the earliest, and two weeks in advance the latest.
- On the other hand, If you are applying to remain in Germany for a period longer than three months, then you ought to submit your application six months prior to your trip the earliest and six weeks in advance the latest.
Schedule a Germany Visa Appointment
Booking a German visa interview is mandatory. The German embassies and consulates around the world do not accept walk-in applications.
In most of the countries, you will be able to schedule an appointment online, through the website of the German consulate, or through the website of the visa service company to which Germany has outsourced visa processing. However, in some others you will need to make an appointment in person at the facilities of the German embassy/consulate.
Attend the visa interview
Make sure to be on time at the application center since they may not accept your application if you arrive later than ten minutes. After the verification of your appointment letter, you will be issued a token. Keep it because you will need it later!
The interview takes around 10 minutes. During which, the official person at the application center will check and verify your documents. She/he will ask you several questions regarding your trip.
Once the interview is over, your biometrics will be collected, if this is your first trip to Germany. This is a quick process that captures a 10-digit fingerprint scan with a digital finger scanner, which usually takes 7-8 minutes per applicant.
After all these steps, the applying procedure has been completed. The Embassy or consulate where you have applied will process your application, and may also ask for additional documents in the meantime. Take care to provide anything extra they ask for.
Pay the Germany Visa Fee
At many German consulates, you will pay the Germany visa application fee at the beginning of your interview. Whereas, in others you will have to pay the fee online through the visa application website.
You need to pay €60 for a short stay visa and €75 for a long stay visa. However, there are some categories that will have to pay a reduced fee, or that are exempt from paying the fee.
Wait for a response on your application
The processing time of your Germany visa application really depends on how many applications the embassy or consulate where you have applied is handing at the moment. All applicants are required to submit their application as soon as possible.
The standard time that the processing of a Germany short stay visa takes is two to four weeks. Whereas, the processing of a Germany long-stay visa takes from six to 12 weeks.
Germany Visa Application Processing Time
The processing time of your Germany visa application really depends on how many applications the embassy or consulate where you have applied is handing at the moment. A German Schengen visa will be issued within around two to ten working days.
Whereas, a long-term visa application processing might take up to a few months, that is why the applicants are requested to apply as soon as possible. However, the earliest you can apply is three months prior to your planned travel to Germany.
Germany Visa Extension
Visa extension is possible in Germany, however, one must have a very strong reason to do so as for example, humanitarian reasons. When the German Schengen visa is extended because of force majeure or for humanitarian reasons, there is no fee the applicant should pay for. Whereas, when the Schengen visa is extended for important personal reasons or due to late entry, the applicant has to pay a fee of 30.00 Euro.
On the other hand, German long-term visas can also be extended based on strong reasons such as:
German Internship visa
If the company where you are working as an intern wants you to continue your internship for a longer period than planned, but your visa does not cover that amount of time, then you can extend your Germany Internship visa.
German Researcher Visa
You must make an appointment with the foreigners’ registration office of the city you are staying in Germany, at least two months before your visa expiration. On the day of the appointment, bring all the documents you have with you. A cover letter why you wish to extend your stay, and a letter from the research university / institution stating that they would like you to carry on for a few more months with your research would a huge plus. The renewal fee is about 80 euro.
Germany Medical visa
If your health has not improved and you need to receive medical treatment for a longer period than foreseen, then you can apply for German Medical Treatment Visa extension. The hospital you are receiving treatment at, can help you a lot in this aspect.