What Is a German Schengen Visa?
A German Schengen visa is a permit to enter Germany for short-stays. It entitles its holder to stay in Germany for a maximum of 90 days within a 6-month period. A Germany Schengen visa holder is permitted to travel to the other 25 Schengen countries while the visa is valid.*
*Unless when the Germany Schengen visa holder has an LTV Visa (Limited Territorial Validity), which means they cannot travel to the other Schengen countries.
German Schengen Visa Types
The German Schengen Visas are grouped based on the number of times they entitle you to enter Germany and the number of Schengen countries you may visit with it:
- German Schengen Uniform Visa. This visa permits you visit Germany and any other Schengen states for up to 90 days within any 180 day period. Depending on the number of entries you can perform within your visa validity period, these are two Schengen Uniform Visas for Germany:
- German Schengen “Single-Entry” Visa. You can enter Germany and move across the Schengen states, for no more than one time during the entire visa validity period. Once you leave the Schengen territory, returning to it is not possible with the same visa.
- German Schengen “Multiple-Entry” Visa. If you get this visa, you can enter and leave the Schengen territory for as many times as you need to, as long as you do not violate the 90/180 days rule.
- German Schengen Limited Territorial Validity Visa (LTV). When this visa is granted to you, this means that you are not entitled to move across other Schengen states. You should only remain in Germany.
Who Needs a Germany Schengen Visa?
Whether you need a Germany Schengen visa or not, it all depends on three factors:
- Your nationality.
- The purpose of traveling to Germany.
- The intended period of stay.
According to Your Nationality
Firstly, note that there are 62 world countries exempt from the Germany Schengen Visa requirement. If you are a national of one of these countries, you will not need a short-stay visa to Germany.
According to Your Purpose of Entry
If you are not a national of one of the Germany Schengen visa-exempt countries then you will need a visa, to enter the country.
You will need a Germany Schengen visa if you are traveling to Germany for purposes similar to the ones listed below:
- Sightseeing/ experiencing Germany.
- To visit family members or friends.
- To get married to a German citizen.
- To visit your spouse who is a German Citizen.
- To participate in business related events as meetings, exhibitions or trade fairs.
- To take part at a cultural, sports, film-shooting, religious, political/official, scientific event.
- To complete a short-term study course.
- To participate at a short-term internship (practicum).
- To receive medical care.
If you wish to travel to Germany for other purposes, as working, studying or joining a family member, you should instead apply for a Germany Long Stay Visa.
According to Your Intended Period of Stay
Note that you should apply for a Germany Schengen Visa only if you intend to remain in Germany for a maximum of 90 days within a 6-month period. If you need to stay longer, you will need to apply for a Germany Long Stay Visa.
How to Apply for a Germany Schengen Visa?
The application process for a Germany Schengen visa consists of several procedures. You need to follow these procedures step by step in order to make sure you get your visa.
The main steps to apply for a German Schengen Visa are as follows:
- Fill-in the application form for a Germany Schengen Visa.
- Make a visa appointment with the German authorities in your country.
- Collect the required documents for a Germany Schengen Visa.
- Attend the visa interview.
- Pay the visa fee.
Required Documents for German Schengen Visa Application
To apply for a German short-stay visa you will need to gather and submit several documents. Based on these documents and the visa interview, the consular officers will take a decision on your case.
The required documents to apply for a German Schengen visa are as below:
- Germany Schengen Visa Form. Duly completed and signed by you. If you are a minor, your parents are entitled to sign the form on your behalf.
- Declaration Form “Provision of True Data”. It must be completed in English or German, signed and dated by you.
- Your valid passport. It should be issued no earlier than 10 years before and have at least two blank pages. The passport should also have remaining validity for another three months beyond your intended stay in Germany.
- Copies of Your Passport. Passport data page and the pages containing stamps and stickers.
- Two Passport-Size Photographs. Taken according to the Schengen visa photo requirements.
- Travel Itinerary. It must confirm that you have a round-trip ticket reservation.
- Proof of Accommodation. Hotel/hostel reservation or a prepaid apartment rent. On the other hand, if you will be staying over at a family member or friend you need to submit a Letter of Guarantee.
- Germany Schengen Visa Insurance. It must cover the medical treatment costs in a minimum amount of €30,000 and should be valid for the entire period of your visit, for all the Schengen states.
Note that these are only the standard documents required for a Germany Schengen Visa. Check our full list of the required documents for every Germany Schengen visa type if you need more information in this regard.
Where to Apply for a Germany Schengen Visa?
Every person that needs a Germany Schengen Visa should apply in his or her country of residence, at the responsible German mission. This could be:
- The German embassy.
- The German consulate.
- A visa service center, to which the German embassy has outsourced visa admission.
If you will be visiting other Schengen countries as well, make sure Germany is your main destination, before applying.
By “the main destination”, we mean:
- You will be spending more days in Germany, than in other countries.
- You will be spending an equal amount of days in each country, but you will step first in Germany.
German Schengen Visa Interview
All Germany Schengen visa applicants over the age of 12 will have to attend a visa interview. The interview is carried at the German consular service premises, or a visa application center. The interview should be booked previously.
Be on time on the interview day. Any delay may lead to the interview appointment cancelation. On the same day, you should submit the documents required for a Germany Schengen visa application. The visa fee payment should be completed on the same day as well.
The interview lasts about 10 minutes. During this period, you need to answer questions asked by the visa interview regarding your trip. You will also need to submit your biometric data. Biometric data are not required if you traveled before in the Schengen Area.
Germany Schengen Visa Fee
The fee for a Germany Schengen Visa is €60. Yet, children under the age of 12 need to pay a lower fee of €35. Whereas those under the age of six, are exempt from the payment.
Depending on the purpose of application and the applicant’s nationality, some other categories also need to pay a lower fee. Some others are exempt from paying the visa fee at all.
Check the German visa fees for more information in this regard!
German Schengen Visa Processing Time
The processing time for a German Schengen Visa application is about two to three weeks. In some cases, this period may be extended for up to 60 calendar days.
What If My Application Is Rejected?
If the German embassy rejects your Germany Schengen 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.
How Long Can I Stay in Germany with a Schengen Visa?
The maximum number of days you can stay in Germany and the whole territory of Schengen is 90 days within a period of 180 days.
Please note that this is the maximum of days of stay that you may be granted. The German embassy in your country of residence may grant you with a visa that is valid for a shorter period, i.e. 15 days.
Can a German Schengen Visa Be Extended?
As a rule, a German Schengen Visa cannot be extended. The rule, however, disregards the cases when there are serious grounds upon which you cannot leave Germany, as follows:
- Force Majeure. When there are strong reasons beyond your control, which prevent your return in the home country. I.e. natural disasters, no air traffic due to bad weather, etc.
- Humanitarian Reasons. When you are incapable of traveling due to a disastrous event of a family member living in Germany, and similar.
- Serious Personal Reasons. In case of an unforeseen crucial business or professional event that cannot wait.
- Late Entry in the Schengen Area. When you have been late in entering Germany and you did not fully use your visa period.
Even in the aforementioned cases, the extension will not be granted if you fail to apply for an extension within your 90 days of stay.
Can I Work in Germany with a Schengen Visa?
No, you cannot work in Germany with a Schengen Visa. A Schengen Visa does not entitle its holder to work anywhere in the 26 Schengen countries. If you want to work in Germany, you should instead apply for one of the following visas: