EXPLAINED: What you need to know about getting a visa for Germany


Do i need a visa to visit Germany?

It depends on where you are visiting the country and for how long. EU nationals do not need a visa or permit to enter Germany, but will need to carry documents identifying them as members of an EU state, such as a passport or card. ‘identity. Third country nationals will universally need a visa to stay in Germany, but may not need a visa to enter the country.

Citizens of the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Korea – and many more – do not need a tourist visa to enter Germany, but will need a visa from the German consulate to stay longer than 90 days. These visas are most often issued to students with a foreign exchange grant or to people who have already obtained a job in Germany.

A full list of countries from which a tourist visa is not required to enter Germany is available here.

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If you belong to a country that has not concluded a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen states, you will need to acquire a Schengen visa to enter any member country of the Schengen area, including Germany. . This includes Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, and more. A full list of countries to which this applies is available here. Schengen visas usually expire after 90 days.

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Which visa is right for me?

There are many types of German visas that you may need to review to determine what is right for you. The most common types are tourist and visitor visa, job seeker visa (which gives you the option to look for a job in Germany), work visa (if you have already found a job in Germany) and the study and language learning visa. (for foreigners wishing to study at an educational institution in Germany).

You can also obtain visas for business, medical care and visiting family members who are already resident in Germany.

READ ALSO: How Third Country Nationals Can Apply for a Job Search Visa in Germany

Do I need to speak German to get a visa?

The short answer to this question is: no. You don’t need to speak German to get a start-up visa, but you may need to show some intention to learn German.

For example, although obtaining a work visa does not come with any requirement to be fluent in German, it is likely that the German company offering you to hire you expects you to try at least learn the language; likewise, if you have a study visa, the university of your choice will probably expect you to speak some German.

If you want to progress beyond short-stay or entry visas, expect to be challenged if you haven’t learned the language at all. For permanent residence in Germany (meaning your residence only needs to be renewed when your passport expires) a minimum language level B1 is required and must be proven by a certified language school.

An Aufenthaltstitel – residence permit – for Germany. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Daniel Karmann

However, you are only eligible for permanent residence when you have spent years in Germany and earned sufficient income in the country, so you are unlikely to reach this stage without any knowledge of the language anyway.

To go even further, if you want to obtain German nationality, you will also need a minimum B1 level of language proficiency. As a German citizen you will no longer need a visa for Germany and you will have an official German passport.

Depending on where you are going, it may be unwise to move to Germany without having a basic understanding of German. In many cities, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conduct their business exclusively in German, so you will need at least some dedicated friends who are ready to translate for you in meetings with them. You will also have difficulty securing accommodation, using public transport, settling contracts, etc. if you have not acquired any knowledge of the German language.

How long will it take me to get my visa?

For a short-stay visa, processing can take up to ten working days, but processing for long-stay visas can take months.

READ ALSO: Reader’s Question: Can I get a retirement visa for Germany?

How will I know how long my visa will take?

Visa application status tracking is not available and you are not allowed to send questions regarding the status of your application while it is in progress. You will receive an indication of how long it might take when you submit the relevant documentation, and you will be contacted when a decision has been made.

Can I travel to Germany on a visa issued by another Schengen state?

It depends on your goal in Germany (work, travel, study, etc.). You can always to have in Germany using a Schengen visa from another country, but this only allows you to stay for up to 90 days (which is already allowed for tourists from the UK and US). If you want to work or study in Germany, you will need to apply for a visa even if you already have a visa issued by another Schengen state.

Can I travel to other Schengen States with a German visa?

Yes, if you are traveling for tourism.

What do I need to apply for my visa?

You need different documents to apply for different types of German visa. For any type of visa, you will need health insurance issued by an approved insurer. For almost every application process, regardless of visa type, you will need a visa application form, a statement that you have provided correct and complete details for German authorities to review, passport photos or your physical passport and copies of previous visas.

You may also need proof of your planned trip (with a return ticket if applicable), proof of accommodation, and proof that you have the financial means to travel. The authorities can also request a cover letter and proof of civil status.

You will be notified of other required documents when you start the application process, but this will vary depending on your purpose in the visa application. Those applying for a study visa will need proof of enrollment, while those employed by a German company will need an employment contract, bank statements, and tax returns.


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