Due to its position as Europe’s most powerful economy, Germany is among the frequently visited nations not just in the entire European continent but also worldwide. To visit Germany or study in this nation, you have to get a German Visa first.
Since the country officially joined the EU in 1995, the nation automatically became one of the member states of the vast Schengen area. Visitors can enter the country with a valid Schengen Visa. Although EU nationals only require a valid identification document to enter Germany, non-EU visitors nevertheless need a German Visa to visit, work, or live in Germany temporarily.
If you are a foreigner who is seeking to travel or study in Germany, understanding the whole process behind getting a German Visa is imperative. This guide here will take you through the entire process of obtaining a German visa and also assist you in understanding what precisely it entails to get a German Visa.
Also known as the Schengen tourist visa, the German tourist visa is a visa that allows visitors to visit Germany and other Schengen member countries. The visa is a sticker that is attached to the visitor’s passport.
The German tourism visa restricts visitors to only sightseeing and traveling across the Schengen area. Nevertheless, this visa doesn’t permit you to study, live, or work in Germany or any other Schengen member countries.
Not all visitors/ tourists need this visa for visiting or sightseeing in Germany. There are some exemptions. For example, visitors who are nationals from the Schengen nations don’t need a Germany tourist visa for sightseeing or visiting family members and friends living in German. The other group of visitors that are exempted from this visa includes visitors from countries that have a visa-free policy with states from Schengen nations.
But visitors from 3rd world nations that don’t have a free-visa arrangement with member states from the Schengen area need a German tourist visa to visit Germany. Furthermore, visitors from the Schengen area who have been prohibited from entering Germany by border guards also need to apply for a German tourist visa.
Below are the documents you require while applying for a German tourist visa.
Applicants of the German tourist visa can apply for this visa at the German embassy, visa center, or at the German consulate.
Also read: Adventurous Things to Do in Germany
German visa is subject to several bureaucratic processes. As such, the visa can take a couple of weeks to be processed upon applying. Ideally, the time duration required to process a German visa is about 6-12 weeks. But it can take more time for your visa to be processed depending on the time you will take to navigate every visa application process. Below is the application process you need to go through before your visa is finally processed.
Before applying for a German visa, you need to check with the official application website the type of documents you will need while applying for your visa. Upon gathering all the visa application documents, you can proceed and fill the visa application form. Ensure the form is fully completed. More important, print and then sign the form as you wait for your visa application appointment. Kindly note that handwritten visa application forms aren’t acceptable.
Before heading to the visa application center where you will submit your visa application documents, first schedule an appointment with the visa center. The application center doesn’t accept application forms from applicants who haven’t made a prior appointment with the center.
Upon arriving at the visa application center, the officials will first verify your application letter. Thereafter, you will be given a token. Ensure you arrive at the center on time since the center might fail to honor your application if you arrive 10 minutes after the agreed time.
The process takes about 10 minutes. It entails verifying your visa application form along with other documents required for your visa application. Before this process, ensure you have all the relevant documents needed for the visa application. Also, confirm that your form is completed and signed accordingly. If you submit an incomplete form, you will have no choice but to get another token. The application center will hold your documents, and the application form temporarily just in case your application is complete. Visa applicants aren’t allowed to take their passport during the visa application process. If they decide to take their passport for any reason whatsoever, their visa application risk being canceled, and hence they will have to re-apply.
Once the visa application center has verified your application, they will then enter the information in your application form into their online system. This system is managed and monitored by the German consulate. After your details have been entered into the system, you will be issued with a printed document of your visa application. The process normally takes 10 to 15 minutes. Verify whether all the details in the printed documents are appropriate before signing the document. For minors applying for a German visa, the document will be signed by their parents. Once you have completed this step of the visa application, you will be required to pay for your visa. A receipt will be issued after paying for the visa. Keep the receipt since you will be required to submit it while collecting your processed visa application.
When your application is done, biometric data collection will be done using a process that involves using an online finger scanner. The process takes less than 10 minutes, and your German visa will be considered completed. Your application will then be handed over to the consulate for processing.
The processing time of your German visa application will be determined by how long you will be able to take in each application step. If you take long, therefore, your visa will take plenty of time to be processed. As such, take as little time as possible at every application stage to ensure your visa is processed fast.
Applying for a German visa entails plenty of things. Although you can download your visa application online, you still have to schedule an appointment with the visa application center for you to submit the relevant documents together with your application form.
Foreigners can schedule their appointment according to their country of origin. They can either book an appointment by calling their local German consulate, or they can choose to schedule their appointment via phone. Before booking your appointment, it is worth understanding these important things below about booking your German visa appointment.
You must have lived in the country whereby you are booking your appointment for not less than a year. Applicants must schedule an appointment 3 months before commencing their German visa application process.
All foreigners who are applying for a German visa should book their appointment in advance via the website of their nearest German visa application center or German embassy. But frequent visitors to Germany have been exempted from this restriction.
The visa application center only issues a single appointment for a single applicant. That means even if you are traveling to Germany with your family, you will need to book an appointment for every individual member of your family. Children need their appointment as well.
To be granted access to your nearest German embassy for your visa appointment, your passport number and name ought to be registered with the embassy’s electronic booking system. Applicants whose details aren’t in the booking system won’t be allowed to access their home country’s German embassy for their appointment.
Group appointments are accorded to a group of 10 individuals or more who are traveling together to Germany. However, group appointments aren’t accorded on short notices. Instead, every member of the specific group that is traveling to Germany must complete and submit their visa application.
The German government discourages visa applicants from booking their appointments through third parties or other unscrupulous agencies. The government holds applicants that are booking an appointment via third parties accountable for any possible misuse in their name. Instead of booking appointments via third parties, the government encourages prospective visa applicants to apply via the German embassy, visa application center, or German consulate.
Booking a German visa appointment is easy for applicants who are conversant with the booking process. Below is an easy guide on booking your German visa appointment.
Below are mistakes you should avoid while booking your German visa appointment
Booking a visa appointment is an important step in the German visa application process. Ensure you get everything right while booking your appointment
Want to visit friends, family members or travel to Germany for sightseeing? Of course, you need to have a German tourist visa. Nevertheless, you will have to pay a certain fee so that your visa can be processed. As of 2020, the fee for German’s tourist visa was 80 euro pounds.
German tourist visa fees are mainly determined by the type of German tourist visa a traveler is applying for. For instance, an airport transit visa fee is 80 euro pounds, while the short-stay visa fee for nationals from Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan is 35 euro pounds. Children under the age of 6-12 years are normally charged 40 euro pounds for a short-stay visa. Nevertheless, kids below the age of 6 are exempted from paying any fee.
Not all foreigners applying for German tourist visas are required to pay a fee. Some foreigners have been exempted from paying any fee. These foreigners include-
Apart from these exemptions, the German government also waives or reduces fees for persons seeking to come to the country for reasons of promoting cultural interests, humanitarian causes, and development policy.
Since September 2017, the fee for Germany tourist visa for long stay has been 75 euro ponds. Nevertheless, some travelers have been exempted from paying this fee. Some of the foreign nationals who are subject to paying Germany Tourist visa fees for long-stay include-
In most cases, this fee is paid via debit or credit card. Visitors can also pay this fee via cash. Due to rising cases of fraud involving credit cards, the German government might prohibit applicants of German tourist visas from paying via credit card.
The fee includes the costs of application plus the visa fee that an applicant pays at the relevant German embassy or Germany consulate when they are applying for the German tourist visa.
No, the German government doesn’t reimburse any visa fees, including Germany tourist visa fees. Once your visa is declined, you can’t be reimbursed. Again, applicants who decide to withdraw their German tourist visa application for whatever reason aren’t entitled to a reimbursement. Once a traveler has paid their fee, they can’t request a refund regardless of the reason they could be having to request a refund.
Yes, this fee is subject to change. The government may either decide to increase it or reduce it without giving aspiring applicants any notice.
Although there are some exceptions, nearly everyone planning to visit Germany will have to pay a visa application fee for their German visa to be processed. Ideally, the visa fee is dictated by the kind of visa a foreign traveler to Germany is applying for. Some of the factors that have a direct impact on the visa fee include age, the purpose of entry and nationality. Below is an outline of the amount of fee an applicant is supposed to pay to have their visa processed.
German business visa is regarded as a short-stay German visa that allows its holders to come to Germany and remain in the country for 3-6 months. The visa is given to people coming to Germany for business-related reasons. Applicants of German business visa pay a fee of 80 euro pounds to have this visa processed. This fee is payable in various local currencies depending on the prevailing exchange rates that have been approved by the German embassy at the applicant’s home of origin.
The German employment visa is issued to persons coming to Germany in pursuit of employment. Holders of employment visas are allowed to live and work in Germany for up to 2 years. It is mandatory for foreigners, apart from nationals from EU nations, to apply for this visa to be permitted to work in Germany. The fee for this visa is 75 euro ponds. However, applicants are advised to confirm the actual fee with the German embassy in their countries since they might end up paying a lower fee depending on their country of origin and circumstances.
The German job seeker visa is regarded as a residency permit that allows applicants to stay in Germany for up to six months as they hunt for jobs. The processing fee for this visa is 60 euro pounds. The short-stay visa is processed within 10 to 15 days after application. But holders of this might pay more or forced to apply for a long-stay visit if they reside in Germany for over 6 months.
Also read: Is It Easy To Get A Job In Germany?
This German visa allows persons to come to Germany purposely to seek and receive medical treatment. The visa helps foreigners to benefits from Germany’s superb medical service. The visa is valid for three months, and its processing fee is 60 euro pounds. Nevertheless, applicants who remain in Germany for over 3 months are required to pay a long-stay visa fee of up to 75 euro pounds. Foreign applicants under 12 years of age are exempted from paying the full fee like their adult counterparts. Instead, they pay just 35 euro pounds to have their medical treatment visa processed.
The German freelance visa is given to freelancers seeking to freelance in Germany. The fee for applying and processing this visa is 60 euro ponds. This visa is, however, applicable to national hailing outside the EU. Nationals from EU countries don’t have to pay this fee for them to freelance in Germany.
The visa allows nationals from some countries, especially foreigners from non-EU nations to change their planes and remain in any German airport for up to 12 hours while they are on air transit. As of early 2020, the free for airport transit visa was 80 euro pounds.
Applying for a German visa requires an applicant to meet some requirements, just like applying for a visa is any other country. If you intend to visit any Schengen nation, including Germany, you will have to apply for a visa from the German consulate/ embassy in your country. This detailed German visa application process below will be vital in assisting you to apply for a German visa.
There are various types of German visas that foreign national can apply to depend on their reason for traveling to Germany. Irrespective of whether a foreigner intends to visit, work, or study in Germany, there is a suitable German visa that matches their needs.
If you have landed a job with any German employer, then you should be striving to apply for a working visa. On the other hand, consider applying for a job seeker visa if you want to travel to Germany in pursuit of better employment opportunities, just like you would apply for a business visa if you want to travel to Germany for business-related reasons. Whatever purposes you want to achieve by traveling to Germany, choose a German visa that allows you to achieve that purpose.
Also read: Requirements For Studying In Germany
The requirements for getting a German visa are different from one nation to the other. Different applicants from different countries will be required to fulfill different requirements. As such, check with your country’s German embassy for the requirements you need to fulfill for you to be issued with the type of visa you need. But generally, there are some basic documents visa applicants are supposed to have. Below are a couple of them-
German visa application entails a series of processes that applicants must follow to the letter. Here is a guide on the application process that applicants should follow while applying for a German visa
Upon submitting your application to a German embassy/ consulate, wait for the embassy to review your application within 15 working days. Although there are some inevitable delays brought about by the volume of applications that the embassy is handling, your visa should be ready in a matter of weeks. Keep checking with the embassy or check online whether your visa has been processed.
The first step to traveling to Germany is getting a German visa. This visa isn’t difficult to obtain, as long as an applicant is committed to following the due process. As such, commence your visa application journey today, and you will ultimately be a step closer to moving to Germany.