Schengen visa for Germany : how to apply and the requirements

NAME: Axel Strauss 
DATE: 04.01.2024 

With nearly 40 million visitors yearly, Germany ranks as the fifth most visited country in Europe. Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, and Oktoberfest are by far its top destinations for tourists. But from border to border, the vastness of Deutschland offers a rich history, a magical blend of old and new Europe, and a unique culture and character like no other. 

For example, it’s home to over 1,000 varieties of sausage but also over 90 billion trees. At roughly 25,000, it also boasts the most castles in the world. And — among many, many other things — it’s home to both the world’s largest cathedral (the Cologne Cathedral) and the European Central Bank. But before you experience Germany’s wonder first-hand, you might need a Schengen Visa. In which case — AXA can help.

Do I need a visa to visit Germany?

That depends. Because Germany is also both a founding member of the European Union and the Schengen Zone. And this means that most visitors from outside the Schengen zone must apply for a Schengen visa for Germany for stays of up to 90 days.

Which travelers don’t need a Schengen visa to come to Germany (for stays of less than 90 days)?

You don’t need a visa for Germany if you are:

  • A national of the Schengen area or one (or more) of the European Union member countries.
  • A citizen of one (or more) of roughly 60 non-EU countries and territories that have signed visa exemption agreements with the EU . This includes, for example, citizens of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, Mexico, Taiwan, the U.K.,* and the U.S

*NOTE: If you are a U.K BRP (i.e., biometric residence permit) and/or IRL (i.e., indefinite leave to remain) holder, then whether you need a Schengen visa for Germany or not depends on whether the country where you hold citizenship has signed a visa-free travel agreement with the Schengen Area. So to make sure you have all the latest info — we recommend you consult the UK Government’s Official Website’s Travel to the EU/Schengen section. You should also consult the Official Website of the EU and that of your home country too — just in case.

Which travelers are required to apply for a Schengen visa for Germany?

Meanwhile, citizens whose home countries do not have a visa waiver agreement with the EU will indeed need a Schengen Visa for Germany. This includes passport holders from nearly a hundred countries — including all of Africa, India, Russia, most countries in Asia and the Middle East, and so on. 

PRO-TIP: You can see the full lists of both countries that are exempt from and those that need a Schengen visa —and whether your home country made the cut — here (courtesy of the European Commission). 

PRO-TIP 2: AXA can help you figure out whether you need to apply for a Schengen visa for Germany or not in no time too.

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

First and foremost, you’ll need to figure out the type of Schengen visa that suits your needs best. And this will depend on the particular nature of your visit.

What are the different types of visas?

For example, do you want to check out Oktoberfest for a week or two? Are you planning a solo European adventure or a family reunion abroad? Are you going to Germany for work, school, and/or to start a new life? Or are you just passing through? 

The four basic types of Schengen Visa are business, work, student, and short-stay. And the latter — aka the Type C or “tourist” visa — is the most common. A Short-stay Schengen visa allows travel to Germany (and all 29 Schengen countries) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. 

But there are other options too. A Type A (aka airport transit) visa, for example, allows citizens of non-Schengen states to transit through or wait for a connecting flight in the airport of any Schengen country. 

If you’re planning more than one trip to Germany (and/or the Schengen Zone), you can also choose a multiple-entry visa. And if you happen to have a partner living, working, and/or studying in Germany, you also have a few different options

Meanwhile, if you wish to stay in Germany for more than 90 days, you’ll need to apply for a German National visa (aka a “long-term” or Type D visa).

How do I apply for a work and/or job seeker visa for Germany?

Germany also happens to be the world’s fourth-largest economy. As such, it is extremely welcoming to non-Germans hoping to find a job and settle in the country. And AXA can tell you all about applying for a German work visa too. 

And if you’re hoping to find work when in Germany, you can also opt for the “job seeker” visa. The German Mission in the U.K. and the German Mission in India, for example, have detailed info about how to apply for one of those.

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

No matter which German Schengen visa you choose, you’ll need the proper documentation. The specific paperwork may vary depending on your nationality, your country of origin, and the purpose of your trip. But, generally speaking, you should have:

  • Your passport (issued within the last 10 years, with a validity of more than 3 months after the planned date of exit from the Schengen area)
  • A German Schengen visa application form (duly completed and signed). 
  • Two recent passport photos 
  • Your itinerary 
  • Travel insurance 
    (NOTE: Travel insurance is mandatory and must meet several criteria in order to be accepted with your visa application — but more on that below) 
  • Proof of sufficient funds* (if applicable) 
  • Proof of the purpose of the trip such as a letter of invitation (if applicable) 
  • Your residence permit and/or resident card (if applicable) 
  • Proof of accommodation (if applicable) 
  • Proof of socio-economic and professional stability (if applicable) 
  • For minors — certified parental or guardian authorization 

And if you’re traveling for business, you might also need:

  • a schedule of your stay with your business contacts and/or a signed letter of invitation from a German company (if applicable) 
  • documentation linked to your business operations (if applicable)

 *When proving your means of subsistence for your Germany Schengen Visa, you’ll need to show that you have (at least) €45 per day to spend during your trip 

NOTE: AXA always strives to provide the most reliable and up-to-date information regarding travel to Germany and the Schengen Zone in general. However, Schengen embassies/consulates may modify their visa rules and regulations at any time. 

So make sure you double-check with Germany’s Federal Foreign Office’s official website as to the latest requirements. As well as with the German embassy/consulate in your home country (PRO-TIP 3: Germany’s Federal Foreign Office can help you find said embassy/consulate here).

Where and when should I apply for my Schengen visa to Germany?

No matter where you are in the world, you can apply for your Schengen Visa via your nearest German Embassy or Consulate. And, again, the link(s) above will help you find yours in no time.

For example, a Chinese national might apply at the German Embassy or Consulate in Beijing or Shanghai. You can apply for your German Schengen visa from India in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and so on. Those in the U.K. can apply in London or Edinburgh. Whereas those applying for a visa to Germany from the U.S. can book an appointment via the official U.S. German Embassy website

But note that Germany also outsources the Schengen visa application process in the above (and other) countries via the company VFS Global — which definitely helps speed things up a little. So click around, find the VFS center, embassy, or consulate nearest to you, book that appointment,* and start gathering that paperwork. 

As far as timing — your German Schengen visa application should be submitted no earlier than six months and no later than 15 days before your departure date to Germany. But, again, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to sort out all the paperwork beforehand too. 

*IMPORTANT NOTE: Once your application is received, you’ll also need to come in for an in-person interview (with the above paperwork, and for biometrics collection). So take that into consideration as you time your trip too.

How much does a Schengen visa for Germany cost?

A Schengen visa for Germany will cost one adult €80 (as the standard Schengen visa fee is universal). The fee is €40 for children between the ages of six and twelve. And children under the age of six can get a Schengen visa for free.* 

*In certain cases, the visa fee may also be waived for: -participants in certain seminars, conferences, sporting, cultural, and/or educational events (25yo or under); 

  • students/teachers on study and/or training trips; 
  • certain professionals traveling for the purpose of scientific research. 

NOTE: You will also likely have to pay some extra administrative and/or service fees associated with your visa center and/or the respective officials. And visa fees are not reimbursed if your visa is refused.

What about ETIAS?

If you’ve been following the latest developments regarding travel to Europe, you may have already heard of ETIAS. The European Travel Information and Authorization System (or ETIAS, for short) is set to be a new system of requirements for entering Europe, and it’s something the European Union has been working on since 2016. 

According to the official source above, “mid-2025” is when ETIAS should go into effect. However, since its inception, it has already been postponed several times. So while it’s still in the works, AXA can gladly tell you more about it here.

How can AXA help you obtain a Schengen visa for Germany?

If you’re applying for a Schengen Visa — for Germany or any of its 28 Schengen neighbors — having the proper travel insurance is mandatory. And that’s where AXA comes in. 

The necessary travel insurance requirements for being granted a Germany Schengen Visa are that your plan has a minimum coverage of €30,000 (in case of medical care, hospitalization, and/or medical repatriation), that it is accepted by all 29 countries within the Schengen zone (not just Germany), and that it is valid for the entire duration of your trip/stay. 

All three AXA plans (Low-Cost, starting at as little as €22/week, Europe Travel, and Multi-Trip), meanwhile, meet the requirements above. 

But there are plenty of other reasons to choose AXA too.
 For example, AXA’s plans also have no age restrictions. And getting an AXA plan is a lot more straightforward than getting the Schengen visa itself. In fact, it’s quick, easy, and can all be done online in a matter of minutes. Once you have your plan, your AXA travel insurance certificate can be downloaded (and printed) online instantly too. And all our certificates are accepted by all Schengen embassies and consulates — including the German ones — around the world. 

Another one of our countless benefits is that if your Schengen visa for Germany is denied, AXA’s plans are refundable in most cases — so long as you provide the appropriate documentation (i.e., an official explanation as to why your visa was refused by the relevant embassy, consulate, or visa application center). So learn more about and compare our 3 comprehensive plans here

With AXA, not only will you be one big step closer to getting your German Schengen Visa. But, most importantly, you and your family are also guaranteed to be in good hands — with 24/7 support and all sorts of other benefits — during your trip to Deutschland itself.

How to apply for a Schengen visa for other countries

And, finally, if you’re looking to apply for a visa for any of Germany’s 28 Schengen neighbors, AXA also happens to have comprehensive guides on each one — in alphabetical order — below:

Austria visaBelgium visaCzech Republic visaDenmark visa
Estonia visaFinland visaFrance visaGermany visa
Greece visaHungary visaIceland visaItaly Visa
Latvia visaLiechtenstein visaLithuania visaLuxembourg visa
Malta visaNetherlands visaNorway visaPoland visa
Portugal visaSlovakia visaSlovenia visaSpain Visa
Sweden visaSwitzerland visaCroatia visa 


Can I travel to all European countries on a German Schengen visa?

Technically, no. Because all of Europe is home to roughly 50 countries. And while your Schengen Visa will allow travel to all 29 Schengen countries and most of the European Union countries (yep, they’re similar but not the same) — a handful of European nations will still have their own particular visa requirements.

Can I work or study in Germany with a tourist visa?

No. The tourist (or TypeC) allows visitors to enter Germany for a short business trip, a holiday, or to visit family members. However, it cannot be converted into a work or study permit (AXA can tell you more about that here).

Can my German visa be extended?

Yes, but only in exceptional cases. You can learn more on the official Berlin Service Portal website. (AXA can tell you more about extending your visa too, here).