Can I visit Germany?
Foreign citizens who want to travel to Germany need a visa, except for citizens of other EU and Schengen countries - and some other third countries whose citizens are allowed to travel to Germany visa-free. You can find out whether you need a visa for Germany at auswaertiges-amt.de.
Here you can find information about the visa for visiting Germany, i.e. the visa for a (short-term) trip to Germany, which is officially known as "Schengen Visa Type C", "tourist visa" or "visitor visa".
What do I need to know?
A so-called "Schengen Visa Type C" is the visa you need to visit Germany for a few days or weeks- it allows you to stay in Germany for up to 90 days within 6 months in total. This is the type of visa you need if, for instance, you are visiting family or friends in Germany, want to travel to Germany as a tourist or for a business trip.
A visa can be issued for a few days or for 4 years, for example. The diplomatic missions abroad decide whether to issue a visitor visa– the validity duration depends on your travel plans and the documents you submit. If you regularly visit your family or friends in a Schengen state or have to travel frequently to the Schengen area for professional reasons and can prove that, you can obtain an annual visa with multiple entries.
It is important to note: If your Schengen visa is valid for more than 6 months, you must ensure that you do not stay in Schengen countries for more than 90 days within 6 months (180 days). That means you need to watch out as not to exceed the permitted length of stay each time you visit.
Good to know: If you have a visitor visa valid longer than 90 days, you can divide your visit into 90-day slots within 6 months. You can calculate the remaining days of your visa using the Short-stay Visa Calculator on the European Union website.
To have a chance of obtaining a Schengen visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You have to offer an adequate, credible reason for your trip. You can read more about this in our chapter "Invitation Letter for a visitor visa".
- You must be able to secure your travel and living expenses during your stay. You can prove that, for example, by showing your bank statements from the previous three months, proof of your assets, etc. If you cannot prove that you have enough money, someone living in Germany can submit a so-called "declaration of commitment" for you. You can find out all about that in our chapter "Declaration of commitment for a visitor visa".
- You need to have travel health insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 for the Schengen area for the entire duration of your trip. Such travel insurance costs around €10 per week.
- The staff at the embassy/consulate must conclude that you will leave the country after your visa has expired. Possible evidence of your willingness to leave the country is, for instance, having a job or educational commitment in your home country, showing a purchase contract for a flat in your home country, having underage or dependent family members in your home country, etc. You need to submit relevant, convincing evidence when applying.
Please Note: You must meet ALL of the above requirements to obtain a visa. The decision on whether you should be issued a visa is up to the embassy/consulate. Unfortunately, it could be pretty hard to obtain a visa when numerous people from your home country flee to Germany.
You need to apply for a Schengen visa in person at the German embassy/consulate in your home country or a neighbouring country (if there is no German embassy or consulate in your home country) or the country where you reside. You can find the addresses of all German embassies and consulates on the website of the German Foreign Office. You have to make an appointment in advance to submit the application.
You can usually download and print out the form for the visa application on the website of the embassy/consulate. There you will also find a list of all the documents that you have to submit. If you cannot print out the form yourself, you can find it in your language free of charge on-site and fill it out.
Alternatively, you can fill out the form online at videx.diplo.de and then print it out. The website works in many languages.
Yes. When you apply for a Schengen visa, you must briefly describe the reason for your trip (e.g., attending a wedding, a holiday with friends, etc.) and your travel details and prove it, e.g., through hotel bookings or invitations.
- As a tourist, you must describe your travel plans in a detailed daily programme. You can do so by providing a clear schedule (e.g. a list of the museums or sights you want to visit), the destinations you want to see and preferably also present the reserved tickets for the cities you want to go to in Germany.
- If you are planning a business trip or a visit to a trade fair, you must be able to show an invitation or ticket for the event. It will also be checked whether your area of work has a meaningful connection with the planned visit.
- If you wish to apply for a visitor visa for a short stay (up to 90 days in total within 6 months) for medical treatments in Germany, you will need an invitation from the clinic where the treatment will take place, confirmation of funding for the treatment, confirmation of accommodation for you and your accompanying person, medical documents and a medical certificate as well as other documents proving your travel plans. Further information can be found on the website of the German diplomatic mission or consulate where you wish to apply for your visa. You can find a list of German diplomatic missions abroad on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.
For a Schengen visa, you usually need at least the following documents:
- A valid passport
- Current biometric passport photos
- A completed visa application
- Proof of your accommodation
- (If you want to visit someone) an invitation from relatives or acquaintances or an institution or company. You can learn more in our chapter "Invitation Letter".
- Your travel dates according to your tickets
- Proof of your financial resources or a letter of commitment. You can learn more in our chapter "Declaration of commitment for a Visitor Visa".
- Schengen visa travel insurance
Important: The documents must always be complete, i.e. you must bring all documents with you to the appointment. In individual cases, it may be possible to submit documents later within a certain period of time but only by prior arrangement! Otherwise, the embassy will reject your application directly (without informing you beforehand).
The processing fee for a Schengen visa is €80, and you have to pay the money when you apply. Important: You will not get this money back even if your visa application is rejected.
Please note: There are exceptions to the costs for certain groups of people. Please note: There are exceptions to the costs for certain groups of people. For example, depending on their age, children pay less or nothing at all. You can find out more (in German) in the German Foreign Office's leaflet.
In principle, the application procedure takes up to 14 work days until the embassy/consulate decides on your visa application.
Please note, however, that this deadline is not always met. So book your appointment at least 2 weeks to a month before your planned trip. You can apply for the visa up to 6 months before the planned trip, and you can make an appointment for the application in advance.
If your application is rejected, you will receive written notification with the reason behind the rejection. You can object to the decision within a month. To find out where and how to file your objection, check the notice of rejection (usually at the end).
To object the rejection of your application, you must prove that the reasons for the rejection are not valid. When filing an objection, you have the opportunity to submit all the documents that were previously missing.
For example, it could be said that you have not provided enough proof of funds. However, if you are sure that you have enough money for your trip, clarify it in a letter and prove it with bank documents and other financial proof.
If you stay in Germany after your visa has expired, your stay will be considered illegal. The authorities will demand that you leave the country - and if you don't, you could get deported. In such a case, you would also receive an entry ban of several months.
A Schengen visa can only be extended in exceptional cases. For example, if you are ill and unable to travel. However, for you to be considered “unable to travel”, significant requirements must be met. Even an illness that is proven by a medical certificate is often not considered sufficient ground if the person concerned is still able to travel or be transported by plane. The local Immigration Office where you are staying will decide whether your visa should be extended.
You can enter Germany with a Schengen visa and then apply for asylum as you always have the right to apply for asylum. But whether your asylum application will be approved depends on the circumstances in your home country. In principle, people who have a chance of asylum usually are not issued a visa at all. You can learn more about the asylum procedure in Germany in our chapters "Asylum Procedure" and "Residence Permit for Refugees".
Please note: Until a decision has been made on your asylum application, you or the person who has made a declaration of commitment for you must cover all upcoming costs (accommodation, food, medicine, etc.)- including expenses of possible deportation. You can learn more in our chapter "Declaration of commitment for a Visitor Visa".
If you enter Germany with a Schengen visa and find a job that meets the considerable requirements of the EU Blue Card after entering the country, you can apply for the EU Blue Card under the new regulations. Please note, however, that the employment contract may only be signed after you have entered the country.
Important: Since the law is new, it is also possible that the Immigration Office initially rejects your application for an EU Blue Card because there is not yet much practical experience with the new regulation. But in principle, if you meet the requirements, you should be able to obtain an EU Blue Card.
At videx.diplo.de, you can fill out the form for the visa application online and then print it out and bring it with you to your appointment at the embassy. The website is available in many languages.