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Visas for Germany

Schengen Visa - Germany

The state of play with German Visas is relatively simple and straightforward: thanks to the Schengen Agreement that includes most EU member states, the citizens of the following countries can travel visa-free among the Schengen territories for three months, but not undertake paid work during this time. Visitors from non-Schengen countries can enter the whole Schengen territory with one unified document - the Schengen Visa – for a limited period. For longer-term moves to Germany, other visas are available.

Schengen Territories are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein


Schengen Visa

Application rules for Schengen Visas vary depending on which country you wish to enter first (or solely), so beware that Germany’s rules are among the stricter ones, and every item in your application pack must be presented if you want your application to progress swiftly. First-time applicants will need to submit their application in person, but frequent business travellers may be able to do this through a travel agency.

Required Documents
  • Completed application form in English and German
  • Valid Passport
  • 2 x photographs
  • 3 months’ bank statements
  • Reference letter from your employer
  • Proof of hotel and airline bookings
  • Health insurance cover of at least 30,000 EUR
  • Driving license and/or utility bill in your name
  • Photocopies of all these documents
Fee 60 EUR by bank transfer – cheques and credit cards are not accepted. Fees cannot be refunded if your application is rejected. The fee for children between 6 and 12 years of age is 35 EUR
Processing Time 3 weeks


Aside from the Schengen Visa, the following visas are available for those wishing to spend a more prolonged period of time in Germany:

  • Student visa
  • Business visa
  • Transit visa
  • Work visa

Student Visa

If you are planning to study for more than three months in Germany, you will need a Student Visa regardless of whether you come from a Schengen state or not. Aim to apply for your visa at least three months before your course starts, and after you have been accepted onto the program – not before. Documents – listed below – should be sent to your home country’s German Embassy and if approved you will be issued a residence permit (or visa). On arrival in Germany you will need to register.

Required Documents
  • Completed application form
  • Valid Passport
  • 2 x photographs
  • Letter of Admission to German University
  • Transcript of academic record
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Declaration of authenticity of documents submitted
  • Photocopies of all these documents
  • Insurance
Fee 60 EUR by bank transfer – cheques and credit cards are not accepted. Fees cannot be refunded if your application is rejected
Processing Time 25 days



Business Visa

If you need to visit Germany for a business trip, you may need to apply for a Business Visa unless you belong to a Schengen state and want to stay in Germany for less than 90 days. For nationals of states outside the Schengen Agreement, and for those otherwise needing to stay in Germany on business for over 90 days, you should apply for your Business Visa at your local German Embassy. First-time applicants will need to submit their application in person, but frequent business travellers may be able to do this through a travel agency.

Required Documents
  • Completed application form
  • Valid Passport
  • 2 x photographs
  • 3 months' bank statements
  • Business references
  • Proof of hotel and airline bookings
  • Health insurance cover of at least 30,000 EUR
  • Driving license and/or utility bill in your name
  • Photocopies of all these documents
Fee 60 EUR by bank transfer – cheques and credit cards are not accepted. Fees cannot be refunded if your application is rejected. The fee for children between 6 and 12 years of age is 35 EUR
Processing Time 3 weeks



Transit Visa

Most travellers won’t need a visa to travel through a German airport in transit, except for nationals of: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri-Lanka, Sudan, Syria and Turkey. If a national of any of the aforementioned countries has a valid visa for the UK, Ireland, Japan, Canada, USA, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Lichtenstein, they are exempt from requiring a Transit Visa. Likewise, if they are a partner of an EU national or hold a Diplomatic Passport or have a valid visa for an EU member state, Canada, Japan or the United States of America, or if they need to transit in Germany on their way home from using a visa in one of these countries.

You can also stay at the International Transit Area without a visa at any of these German airports:

  • Cologne/Bonn
  • Düsseldorf
  • Frankfurt/Main
  • Hamburg
  • Munich

Required Documents
  • Completed application form in English or German
  • Valid Passport
  • 2 x photographs
  • Confirmed airline booking to final destination
  • Visa for final destination if required
  • Driving license and/or utility bill in your name
  • Photocopies of all these documents
Fee 60 EUR by bank transfer – cheques and credit cards are not accepted. Fees cannot be refunded if your application is rejected. The fee for children between 6 and 12 years of age is 35 EUR
Processing Time 3 weeks



Work Visa

Citizens of the EU, as well as those of the US, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the Republic of Korea can apply for their Work Visa after entering Germany. Everyone else must apply for and obtain their visa first.

Required Documents
  • Completed application forms (there are two)
  • Valid Passport
  • 2 x photographs
  • Employment contract or a letter of intent from your future employer in Germany
  • Driving license and/or utility bill in your name
  • Photocopies of all these documents

Specialist Professionals

  • Proof of your professional knowledge /experience
  • Detailed plan of your proposed venture
  • Proof that you possess the necessary funds to launch or maintain your business
  • Over 45s will need to prove they have an adequate pension plan
Fee 60 EUR by bank transfer – cheques and credit cards are not accepted. Fees cannot be refunded if your application is rejected. The fee for children between 6 and 12 years of age is 35 EUR
Processing Time 3 weeks


Work falls into three categories when applying for visas in Germany: general employment, specialist professional employment and self-employment. The rules for obtaining a visa for each sector are different from one another.


General employment

If you want to work in Germany under this form of employment, there are two key conditions you must meet.

  • A relevant, vocational qualification
  • A firm offer of an employment contract

Specialist professional

Germany is committed to attracting specialist professionals to come here and live and work, especially:

  • Graduates with specialist professional knowledge and experience
  • University lecturers with outstanding career profiles
  • Experienced managers with a job offer for a position commanding an annual salary of more than 86,400 EUR

Applicants need to prove:

  • Ability and willingness to integrate into German society
  • Sufficient funds to support themselves
  • A firm offer of / contract of employment

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Self-employed

To work in Germany on a self-employed basis your proposed business must:

  • Meet a gap in the German market and offer an all over positive economic impact on the country (if your business is worth more than 1 million EUR and creates ten new jobs locally)
  • Be fully covered by the applicant’s own finances

To ensure the sustainability of your proposal, the following must also be proven:

  • Viable business plan
  • Relevant business experience
  • Amount of money to be invested
  • Impact your business will have on local employment
  • How your project contributes to innovation and research

A visa for self-employed business purposes is valid for up to three years, and can be extended indefinitely if your project proves successful. For more information on German Visas, visit this useful site where you can also download all the necessary forms.