The requirement of applying for a visa for entering Germany depends on your country of origin. In general, the German embassies and consulates in your home country are responsible for the issue. Please plan with a sufficient time frame as the period for processing from the submission of the application until the issue of the visa varies a lot and may take up to several months.
The following groups of persons are exempted from the visa obligation for entering Germany:
- EU-citizens according to Section 2 of the Freedom of Movement Act/ EU
- citizens from Island, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
- as well as citizens from the following countries, who are permitted to apply for a residence permit after having entered Germany: Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, San Marino, USA.
All citizens from other states are obliged to apply for a visa before entering Germany. For an overview of the visa regulations according to countries of origin, please click here.
There are two types of visa: on the one hand the so called "Schengen-Visa" ("C-Visa") which is only valid for a short stay up to three months, and on the other hand the German visa ("D-visa") for stays longer than three months and in the case that you would like to take up an employment in Germany.
You apply for a visa before your entry to Germany and as early as possible at a German Mission Abroad in your home country. Your visa application will then be filed from the German Mission Abroad to the responsible Immigration Authority in Germany which checks if the required prerequisites are fulfilled. If applicable, the opening of a so-called "Blocked Account" may be required. Solely in the case of a positive decision of the Immigration Authority, the respective German Mission Abroad is entitled to issue the visa.
The fees amount currently 60 Euro for a "Schengen-/ C-visa" (valid up to 3 months) and 75 Euro for a German visa (also called "D-visa"). The processing time for applications varies according to the intended duration of stay between a few days and several months. Further information as well as the application documents are provided for download on the homepage of the respective German Mission Abroad in your home country.
In the case that you are intending to stay longer than 90 days or that you would like to take up an employment at Germany, you have to apply in any event for the German visa ("D-visa") as this is the prerequirement for the issue of a residence permit in Germany. If you are entering Germany with a "Schengen visa" ("C-visa"), no residence permit can be issued, which means that you have to leave Germany after 90 days.
These indications should serve as first general orientation. With regard to the respective individual circumstances of each stay as a foreigner in Germany and the corresponding legal regulations, particularly when coming from a "third-party country", it is strongly recommended to get in touch with the responsible Immigration Authority as soon as possible in any case.