Located in the heart of Europe, Germany is one of the top destinations for many world travelers. Its old-fashioned architecture, infrastructure and rich history have made the country a top destination for travel. Moreover, the country is known for its many types of beer, fantastic bread and sausages.
In addition, it has one of the strongest economies in the world and a very low unemployment rate. As such, it is also a country of possibilities for investors and employees. With low university tuition fees and some of the best world universities, many students dream to study here.
What is a German Tourist Visa?
A German Tourist Visa is a short-stay Schengen Visa for Germany. It permits its holder to travel to Germany for tourism purposes, as sightseeing and experiencing the country. It can be granted with a maximum validity of 90 days within a 180 days period.
Do I Need a Schengen Visa for Germany?
You will need a Germany Tourist Visa if your country has not reached a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen Countries.
Currently, 62 countries are exempt from the Germany Tourist Visa requirement. If you are a national of any of these 62 countries, you do not need a visa to Germany for tourism purposes.
Germany Schengen Visa Requirements for Tourists and Visitors
The required documents to apply for a Germany Tourist Visa are as follows:
- Germany tourist visa Application Form.
- Your passport that is valid for at least six months.
- Two photographs in line with the Schengen guidelines.
- Proof of accommodation in Germany.
- No-objection certificate. If you are a student, your school or university should issue this certificate to you. If you are an employee, your employer or the company where you work at should issue this letter to you. However, if you are not a student and you do not work either, this certificate is not required.
- A Cover Letter. This personal cover letter should explain the reason why you wish to visit Germany, how long you intend to remain and what you will be doing there, amongst others.
- Your driver’s license and/or utility bill in your name. This is required as proof of residence in the country where you plan to apply for a visa.
- Travel Health Insurance for Germany. It must be valid for the entire period of your visit, and should be available amongst entire Schengen Area countries.
- Proof of a Booked Round-Trip Ticket Reservation(if applicable). It must show the entire program of the tour and the related dates of the visits you plan to make.
- Reserved Tour Package (if applicable).
- Proof of sufficient financial means.
If you are visiting a family member or friend in Germany, you should also submit the following:
- Formal Obligation Declaration. The document is obtained at the Aliens’ Authority in Germany by the hosting family member in Germany. By this letter the host has to undertake the costs of living and accommodation during your visit.
- Identity card of the host person. Or otherwise, a registration card of the host.
- Letter of Invitation by the host. The letter has to show the reason for inviting you, their relationship with you, the period of your stay, and their home address in Germany.
- Evidence of your relationship with the host.
How to Apply for a Germany Tourist Visa?
To get a Germany Tourist Visa you need to go through the following steps:
- Complete the Germany Schengen Visa application form. You can find the Germany tourist visa application form online.
- Gather the required documents. A very important part of the application process for a Germany tourist visa, is gathering the required documents. According to these documents, the German visa officers will take a decision on your application.
- Make an appointment for a visa interview. The application for a German Tourist Visa has to be lodged at the Embassy or Consulate of Germany in the country where you live.
- Pay the visa fee. The fee of applying for a German Tourist Visa is 80€, while for children of age 6-12 you have to pay 40€, while it is free for those aged 0-6 of age. But, according to your nationality, you may need to pay a lower fee.
- Wait for processing. It takes up to 15 days for a German Tourist visa application to be processed by the relevant authorities. This period can be extended further, up to 30 days, if additional examination of the application is required.
Where Should I Submit my German Schengen Visa Application?
In some countries, Germany has outsourced visa admission to private visa application centers. Moreover, if you are planning to visit other Schengen countries during your trip, apply at the German authorities, only if Germany is your main destination. This means:
- You will spend more days in Germany than in other countries.
- You will spend an equal amount of days in every country, but you will enter the Schengen Area through Germany.
When is the Best Time to Apply for a Germany Tourist Visa?
The best time to apply for a German tourist visa is about a month before the date you plan to travel to Germany. However, the earliest you can apply is six months before and the latest is two weeks before your intended trip.
What Should I Do In Case of Visa Application Rejection?
If your application for a Germany tourist visa is rejected, you will receive a reason for that when you collect your passport. If you think that the embassy has rejected your application wrongfully, you can always appeal this decision.
Do so by writing a visa refusal appeal letter and submitting it to the embassy. Usually, the embassy gives you a valid period to appeal the visa rejection. If you do not appeal the decision within this period, you can no longer do so after it ends.
How Many Times Can I Enter Germany With a Schengen Visa?
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.
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 Tourists 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:
Can I Establish a Business in Germany with a Tourist Visa?
The German tourist visa does not entitle you to perform establish a business in Germany. To do so, you should instead get a German long-stay visa for self-employed.