Germany visa requirements: what are they?

Do I need a visa to visit Germany?

Germany is part of the Schengen area, consequently many travelers wishing to visit this country need a Schengen visa. However depending on your citizenship, this visa is not always required.
If you are a US, Canadian, Australian, Brazilian or Mexican citizen and your stay in Germany will not exceed 90 days, you do not need a Schengen visa Germany, as these countries have visa-free travel arrangements with the European Union. But beware ! Starting 2023, you will need an ETIAS visa waiver which can be obtained on line and will cost 7€ ($7.82).
Other countries have similar visa arrangements, check if this applies to your situation. If it does, you may not need a Schengen visa to visit Germany.
Citizens of other countries which do not have visa waiver deals, including China, India, and all African nations, will need a Schengen visa to travel to Germany, even if they are permanent residents of a country with visa-free travel arrangements. This covers travel in all countries within the Schengen Area of Europe (countries which have abolished border controls between each other).

How do I apply for a visa to go to Germany?

Wherever you are in the world, you can apply for a Schengen Visa via your nearest German Embassy or Consulate. For example, a Chinese national living in Oregon must apply at the German Consulate in San Francisco, while one living in Beijing would apply in that city as a German Embassy is located there.
You will need to schedule a Germany Schengen Visa appointment and provide your passport or travel document, an itinerary explaining the reasons for your trip, proof of accommodation and reason for travel, evidence you can financially support yourself during your stay, a recent photo, and a travel and health insurance certificate proving you are covered for your trip.
Those applying for a visa to Germany from the USA should book an appointment via the German Embassy’s free online appointment system. To find out exactly where to apply from and for more information, you can visit the official German Embassy website.

How do I apply for a work visa to go to Germany?

As the world’s fourth-largest economy, Germany is extremely welcoming to non-Germans to find a job and settle in the country. Find out in our article about how to apply for a German work visa.

What documents are required to obtain a Schengen visa for Germany ?

To apply for a Schengen visa for Germany you will be asked to provide different documents (original and copy). 
Depending on the purpose of your stay, you may be asked for additional information.
Hereinafter a list of the basic mandatory documents:

  • an German visa application form, signed and completed online with your personal information, 
  • a valid passport: it must have been delivered within the last 10 years and its expiration date should be minimum 3 months beyond the date when you will leave the Schengen area. It must also contain 2 blank pages.
  • for US residents : Original of valid US alien registration card or valid US resident visa (type A, E, F plus endorsed I-20, G, H, I, J plus J1 document, L, O, R) and one copy
  • two recent and identical passport-sized photos, meeting the criteria required for official documents
  • recent proof of your current residence status if you are not a citizen of the country from which you are applying (for US residents : utility bill)
  • A health & travel insurance certificate: your insurance must cover accidents and illnesses for costs up to a minimum of €30,000 and be valid in all countries of the Schengen area even if you have no plans to visit them during your stay.
  • your confirmed flight (roundtrip)/travel reservations and full itinerary (if several Schengen states will be visited) with the name of the passenger.
  • Proof of  accommodation: according to the purpose of your stay, you will need to provide:
    • for a Tourist visa : proof of hotel bookings for every night of your stay in the country. Confirmed hotel reservations stating name, address and telephone of the hotel, a confirmation number as well as your name and personal information (+one copy).
    • for cruise ship travellers: booking confirmation with detailed itinerary and the address of the first port of entry (+one copy)
    • for a Visitor visa: an informal, recent and signed invitation letter from your host in Germany, their passport copy and a photocopy of their residence permit if applicable or a formal sponsorship letter (Verpflichtungserklärung), issued by an aliens authority in Germany (Ausländerbehörde) (+one copy).

-    proof of sufficient means of subsistence: recent bank statements (not older than 3 months) or letter of sponsorship
-    Proof of your status: letter of employment/proof of self-employment and tax return/student status/unemployment document/retirement statement

Is there anything else I need to know about getting a Germany Schengen Visa?

When proving your means of subsistence for your Germany Schengen Visa, you need to show that you have €45 per day to spend during your trip to the country.

What do I need from my travel and health insurance?

To obtain your Germany Schengen Visa, your travel and medical insurance must be valid for all 27 countries in the Schengen Area, even those you have no plans to visit, and cover accidents and illnesses, covering costs up to a minimum of €30,000 ($26,855).

I am a US resident but not a US citizen, what documents must I provide with my application ?

The same as mentioned above plus a U.S. alien registration card (a residence permit, otherwise known as a Green Card) or a valid US residence visa. The permit and the visa must both be valid 3 months beyond the intended date of departure from the Schengen area. Your Schengen visa application must be registered 90 days or less before your scheduled date of arrival in Germany.

I am a UK resident but not a UK citizen, do I need to apply for a Schengen visa to visit Germany ?

UK citizens are not required to hold a Schengen visa if their stay in Germany doesn’t exceed 90 days within a 180 days period. However UK residents who are not UK citizens need a Schengen visa to travel to Germany, depending on their nationality. Additionally to the documents mentioned above, they must also provide a UK residence permit valid for at least another 3 months beyond the date they plan to leave Germany or the Schengen area.

How long will it take to obtain my German visa ?

The application process can take from 5 to 14 working days. To avoid processing delays, it is strongly advised that you apply for your visa 3 to 6 weeks prior to your date of departure.

How much does a Schengen visa for Germany cost ?

The fee for a Schengen visa is 80€ for visitors aged 12 and over, 40€ for children ages 6 to 12. The Schengen visa is free for children younger than 6 years old.

Other Schengen countries you might be interested in

Austria visa

Belgium visa

Czech Republic visa

Denmark visa

Estonia visa

Finland visa

France visa

Germany visa

Greece visa

Hungary visa

Iceland visa

Italy Visa

Latvia visa

Liechtenstein visa

Lithuania visa

Luxembourg visa

Malta visa

Netherlands visa

Norway visa

Poland visa

Portugal visa

Slovakia visa

Slovenia visa

Spain Visa

Sweden visa

Switzerland visa

Croatia visa

Related topics :

Why choose AXA Schengen Insurance

AXA’s Low Cost Travel Insurance only costs €22 ($23.82) per week of your trip and will meet your Germany visa requirements, as well as ensuring you’re covered for any mishaps and accidents you or your loved ones might have.
The AXA Schengen Europe Travel Insurance offers extended coverage wherever you travel in France, the Schengen Area or the wider EU region. It also provides the mandatory insurance certificate needed for a Schengen Visa. The countries covered include the Schengen Area and all European Union countries (Ireland included), as well as Liechtenstein, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, and Vatican City.
Those seeking a multiple-entry visa can purchase our Multi Trip insurance from €328 per year, which again covers you for expenses up to €100,000.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about obtaining a Schengen Visa to travel to Germany

My visa has been issued by the German consulate- can I use this visa to travel to other countries?

Yes you can. Holders of a German Visa can visit all 27 countries in the Schengen Area.

Can I change my visa type or my residence status once in Germany?

You cannot make any changes to your Germany Schengen Visa type or residence status after you arrive - so make sure you apply for the right visa or residency permit type.

As a Germany short-stay Schengen Visa holder- can I extend my visa while in Germany?

Yes. You can extend your Germany Schengen Visa but only in exceptional cases where new facts and special reasons arise after entry.