Every year, millions of foreigners are travelling to Germany to discover its unique culture, natural beauty, long-established history, and delicious cuisine.
There are plenty of reasons to travel to Germany. However, travelling to a foreign country may not be as easy as it sounds. Sometimes we may need to have a visa to travel to a country which we are not a citizen of.
Today, we are going to discuss if you need a visa to go to Germany and if you do, how to get your visa with ease!
Who needs a visa for Germany and why is it necessary to collect one?
There are specific factors that determine whether you need German visa or not. These mostly depend on the purpose of your stay, the duration of your stay and the country which you are a citizen of. According to the German airport visa regulations, you will not need to obtain a visa to go to Germany if you are a citizen of a country that is in the Schengen Area.
Do you need a visa to go to Germany?
If you are a citizen of the countries below, even though you would like to travel to Germany for a short period of time, you still need to get a visa for your travel.
Here’s the list of countries that Germany requires a visa from:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Sri Lanka
- South Sudan
Short-term / Temporary Visas for Germany:
If you are a citizen of the 12 countries listed above, a Germany visa will be required. You will need a short-term visa to stay in Germany for less than 90 days and also if you would like to use Germany territory as a transit land to fly to another country. There are a number of visa types for short-term visa applications in Germany. Those short-term visas are based on the purpose of your visit within the maximum time limit of 90 days.
Those purposes of your stay in Germany can be:
- A medical treatment / surgery
- Official, cultural visits or for sports exhibitions
- Tourism (visiting a friend or family member is covered by this one)
- Using German airport to transit
For the purposes above, all you need to do is to follow the steps of the Germany visa application and apply for the type of visa that covers the purpose of your visit.
Long-term / Extended Stay Visas for Germany:
Let’s say you have applied for the Germany tourist visa and you decided that you would like to stay longer than 90 days in Germany. Then, what you will need to do is going to be extending the period of your stay. However, if you can foresee the duration of your stay before travelling to Germany, you can apply for the long-term German visa with ease!
Nevertheless, if you are a citizen of the countries below, then you do not need to apply for German visa:
- EU/EEA/EFTA countries
- New Zealand
- Republic of South Korea
- United States of America
There are different circumstances that may require you to apply for a visa in Germany. Let’s say you are not a citizen of the listed countries above and you would like to work in Germany. Then, since your stay is going to be longer than 90 days, you are going to need to apply for German work visa. You should be aware that German visa application process and the required documents change according to the nationality of yours, the purpose of your stay and the type of visa you are applying to.
How can you apply for a visa for Germany?
The application for the German visa is not as hard as it may sound. There are some crucial steps which you need to follow for your visa application. Firstly, you need to fill in the German visa application form according to the desired visa type.
Here are the visa types you can apply for a period of longer than 90 days:
- German Student Visa
- German Internship Visa
- German Language Course Visa
- German Employment Visa
- German Researcher Visa
- German Freelancer Visa
- German Family Union Visa
- German Medical Treatment Visa
- German Job Seeker Visa
If you have got accepted by a German university or high school, then all you need to do is to apply for German Student Visa.
If you have received your acceptance letter by a German institution for you to work as an intern, then you should apply for the German Internship Visa.
If you are interested in learning the beautiful German language in Germany, then you should enrol yourself into a language course and apply for the German Language Course Visa.
If you would like to work in Germany, then you're going to need a German Employment Visa To conduct research in Germany, it’s best for you to apply for the German Researcher Visa. If you consider yourself as a freelancer and you'd like to live in Germany while you are freelancing, then it's best for you to apply for the German Freelance Visa. If you are going to have a medical operation in Germany or any sort of medical treatment in Germany than you need your visa to be longer than 90 days and you need to obtain German medical treatment visa. If you don't have a job in Germany yet but still you would like to live in Germany and find a job for yourself, then you should apply for the German Job Seeker Visa. Lastly, if you have recently got married to a German citizen, you will need the German Family Union Visa to move into Germany.
How to obtain the required documents for a German Visa?
So far, we have figured out which visa type you are going to need for Germany. Now, let’s take a look at what else you will need to have. After filling your visa application form, you need to know that you should schedule a meeting for your visa application appointment. It’s better to pay for the application fee before your appointment. After your visa application appointment, you are going to wait for a response from the German consulate for your application.
Bear in mind that you are going to need health insurance for your stay in Germany. Applications without health insurance will not be accepted. It’s always good to be secure and healthy when you are in foreign lands. So, always ask your insurance company what your health insurance covers in Germany.
Some of us get too excited and apply for the German visa way early, and some of us leave it at the last moment. You should be avoiding both cases. The earliest date you can apply to German visa is 6 months before your departure and the latest date you can apply for the German visa is 2 weeks before your departure.
What should you do for the German visa application appointment?
As punctuality is important for German people, you better be on time at the visa application center because if you are late to your appointment you may not be accepted at all! After the verification process for your appointment, you will be issued a token. Make sure you keep your token because you will see that you are going to need it later on!
The German visa application interview takes around 10 minutes. During this time the officer in the visa application center will check and verify your documents that are stated and required in the form which you have previously filled. Be ready to be questioned about your trip as well. Don’t be nervous. Those questions are there to be sure that your stay in Germany will be legal.
Also, don’t be surprised if you are asked to leave your biometric fingerprints for security reasons. If officers in the visa center think they need an additional document to process your application, you should be providing them what they are asking for.
Lastly, the officers are going to ask you for the receipt of your payment for the German visa. You should be providing them your visa fee receipt during the appointment.
Does my visa mean that I have the right to enter German territory without an issue?
Unfortunately, no! Your documents and your visa proves that you are worthy to enter the German territory. However, it is on the border police’s initiative to give you the permission and landing permit to enter Germany. You should bear in mind that if your visa states that your visa has a feature of a single-entry, then you cannot re-enter the country once you leave it. However, if your Schengen visa states that you have the right to enter Schengen territory multiple times, then leaving the country and re-entering will not be a problem for you!
How long does it take to get your German Visa?
Usually it takes a week or two to get a German visa. However, circumstances may change and additional time may be required for your visa. You should expect a waiting period of minimum a week and maximum a month. Even so, these time periods are not certain and it may take longer depending on the complexity of your situation.
How much does a German Visa cost?
The German visa fees depend on the purpose of your stay, duration of your stay and your age. Here’s a list of fees for the German visa:
- German Airport Transit Visa - €80
- Children between 6-12 years of age applying for a Germany Visa €40
- Children younger than 6 years of age applying for a German Visa - Free
- Citizens of Georgia, Kosovo, Russia and Ukraine applying for a German Visa - €40
- Germany Long Stay Visas - €75
- Applicants younger than 18 applying for Germany Long Stay Visas - €37.5
What if your application gets rejected?
In some rare cases, your application may be rejected by the German authorities. If this happens to you, don’t worry. When your visa application is rejected, the reason for your denial is stated at the end of the letter you receive. What you are going to do is to understand why your application is rejected and reapply with a letter of appeal. As long as you provide the necessary documentation which Germany asks from you, your appeal letter will be considered and your reapplication will be accepted.
Can you travel to other European countries?
Yes, you can! German visa allows you to travel within the Schengen Area. Schengen area consists of many European countries which you would like to visit. So, if you have received your passport with your visa in it, travelling to another EU country will not be a problem for you!
Can you apply for the German visa online?
Yes! In many countries, you can apply to German visa online. However, the visa application appointment may require you to have you in the visa application center in person! So, you should be ready for such a request and be there on time as requested. You should also keep in mind that due to Covid-19 the application process may change. It’s better to keep up with the updates of the German Embassy in your country.
Can you work in Europe with your German Visa?
If you have the employment, job seeker, and freelancer visa for Germany, then yes, you can work in Germany! However, you need to keep in mind that this German employment visa allows you to work in Germany only. So, even though you can travel to other European countries, you can only work in Germany with your visa. Last but not least, if you only withhold the right of tourist visa, you cannot work in Germany or in any other European countries. You have to reapply for the German employment visa.