German Visas in 2024

Created: Jun 26, 2024 | Updated: Jun 26, 2024

Have you been thinking of moving to Germany and you’re not sure where to start? Fortunately, we know a thing or two about that and we’re happy to help! In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about applying for a German visa, whether you’re relocating for work, academic studies or just a family vacation. 


Table of Contents

Do I need a German visa?

Whether you need a German visa depends on your nationality. You don’t need a visa to enter Germany if your home country is in the European Union or the Schengen Area. Citizens from the 61 non-European Union countries with visa exemption agreements can also visit Germany for tourism or business for up to 90 days within a six-month period without a visa. Such countries include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Japan, and the United States. 

However, starting May 2025, visitors from these countries will require ETIAS ((European Travel Information and Authorization System) authorisation even for short stays. Moreover, even if you’re from a visa-exempt country, you must have a visa if you plan to stay in Germany longer than 90 days or for reasons other than tourism or business,
 

What are the types of German visas?

The type of German visa you will require depends on the purpose of your travel to Germany –  whether to visit, study, work or settle permanently. Here are the most common types of German visas:

  1. Airport Transit Visa: For citizens from non-exempt visa countries who must pass through a German airport on their way to another destination.
     
  2. Business Visa: For business people who need to stay in Germany for more than 90 days within six months for business purposes.
     
  3. Family Reunion Visa: For family members of German residents who wish to join them in Germany.
     
  4. Guest Scientist Visa: For scientists or researchers invited by a German institution to conduct studies or research.
     
  5. Job Seeker Visa: For people entering Germany to seek employment opportunities.
     
  6. Medical Treatment Visa: For individuals with health conditions seeking to enter Germany for medical treatment.
     
  7. Tourist & Visitor Visa: For travellers who want to visit Germany to see friends and family or to explore the country and its culture.
     
  8. Trade Fair & Exhibitions Visa: For those planning to participate in trade fairs or exhibitions in Germany.
     
  9. Training/Internship Visa: For individuals from third-world countries who want to attend training classes or internships in Germany.
     
  10. Study & Language Learning Visa:  A German study visa is for immigrants who wish to attend a language course or continue their academic studies in a German school.
     
  11. Working Visa: For individuals who have secured a job in Germany.
     
  12. Cultural, Film Crew, Sports, and Religious Visa: For people entering Germany to participate in cultural, sports, or religious events, or as part of a film crew.
     

German visa requirements

Getting a German visa may seem straightforward, but each country has its own set of requirements. Germany, in particular, has strict criteria, so it's crucial to meet every detail precisely. Generally speaking, these are the documents you’ll need to apply for a German visa:

  1. Visa Application Form: You can download this from the official website of the German embassy or consulate in your country. Ensure you provide correct and current information that matches the data in your other documents.
     
  2. Valid Travel Passport: Ensure your passport is valid for at least three months beyond your planned stay and has at least 2 blank pages for the visa.
     
  3. Two Passport Photographs: Provide two identical colour photographs taken within the last six months. They should measure 35mm by 45mm, with your head taking up 70-80% of the photo and a minimum resolution of 400 dpi.
     
  4. Health Insurance: Get travel health insurance covering illnesses, accidents, and repatriation with a minimum coverage of €30,000.
     
  5. Travel Schedule: Include proof of your round-trip flight or travel reservations and details of your planned activities in Germany during your stay.
     
  6. Proof of Sufficient Funds: Present evidence that you have enough funds to support yourself in Germany. This could be a recent bank statement showing a balance of at least €45 per day of your stay. Alternatively, you can provide a declaration from a willing sponsor, with proof of their financial means.

You may also need to submit additional documents required by the German embassy or consulate in your home country. These additional requirements depend on your visa type, country of residence, and nationality.
 

Do I need to translate any document in the process?

If your documents are not in German, you'll need to translate important documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, medical records, and educational qualifications. These translations must be certified, meaning they should be done by a professional translator or approved translation service recognised by German authorities. 

Accurate translations are crucial to avoid delays or rejections. Services like Translayte specialise in providing certified translations that meet German visa requirements. Our experienced sworn translators ensure your documents meet the necessary standards, giving you one less thing to worry about as you prepare for your journey.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Visit the Translayte website.
  2. Click on “ORDER YOUR TRANSLATION”.
  3. Choose "Certified Translation," then select the target and source languages and your preferred turnover time.
  4. Upload the document you want to translate, ensuring the file is named correctly.
  5. Select Standard, Specialist, or Professional translation services based on your needs and budget.
  6. Specify any other preferences for your document.
  7. Place your order and wait for your translation, which will be delivered by email or post by the stipulated time.
     

German visa fee

You must pay a fee before your visa can be processed. Here’s a simple breakdown of the updated German visa fees since June 2024:

  • Short-Stay Visas (less than 90 days):  the fee is €90, but exemptions may apply based on your nationality or status. Exempt categories include children under age six, certain family members of German or EU/EEA nationals, students, researchers, and participants in specific events.
  • Long-Stay Visas (longer than 90 days): these cost €75 with exemptions for scholarship recipients, certain family members, diplomats, and nationals of specific countries with agreements in place.

It's important to note that visa fees are non-refundable, even if your application is rejected or withdrawn. 
 

How to apply for a German visa 

How to apply for a German visa 

 

To apply for a Germany visa, follow these steps:

  1. Complete the visa application form online or download the PDF version.
  2. Gather the required documents including the completed application form, passport, proof of funds, etc.
  3. Book an appointment at the nearest German embassy or Visa Application Centre (VAC) responsible for processing visas in your country.
  4. Attend the visa interview, answer the questions about your trip and intentions in Germany, and provide your biometric data as required.
  5. Pay the visa application fee for your visa type (some embassies require you to pay before the interview).
  6. Wait for your application to be processed.
  7. If approved, receive your German visa and prepare for your trip. If rejected, follow the instructions in the rejection letter for further steps.
     

Where to apply for a German visa

You should apply for a German visa at the German representative body responsible for visa applications in your country. This could be:

  • The German Embassy or a German Consulate.
  • A Visa Application Centre.

If there is no German representative body in your country, you might need to apply at:

  • The German Embassy or Consulate in a neighbouring country.
  • The Embassy or Consulate of another country in your country that handles German visa applications.
     

How long does it take to get a German visa?

Most German embassies typically take ten to 15 working days for short-term visas and longer for long-term visas. However, delays can occur due to a high volume of applications or specific circumstances of the applicant. Always apply well ahead of your planned travel date to avoid unexpected delays.
 

How long can you stay in Germany with a visa?

The duration of your stay in Germany depends on your visa type:

  1. For short-stay visas, you can stay for up to 90 days in six months for tourism, business, or short visits.
  2. For a long-stay visa, the duration varies based on the purpose, such as work, study, or family reunion. Therefore, it is typically valid for the duration of your specific activity.
  3. For residence permits, the duration varies from temporary to permanent, depending on your specific circumstances.
     

Germany visa extension

If you need to stay in Germany longer than your visa permits, you may apply for an extension under specific circumstances. These include medical emergencies, humanitarian reasons, or late entry.

How do I extend a German visa?

To extend your visa:

  1. Submit a visa extension application at the Local Foreigners' Office (Ausländerbehörde).
  2. Provide a valid reason for the extension.
  3. Submit the required documents.
  4. Pay the extension fee.

All of this has to be done before your current visa expires. 
 

FAQs on German visas
 

Does Germany offer a visa on arrival?

No, Germany does not offer visa-on-arrival for most travellers. People who need a visa to enter Germany must obtain it from a German embassy or consulate in their home country. However, citizens of certain countries are allowed visa-free entry or can obtain a visa upon arrival for short stays, usually for tourism or business purposes.

How much bank balance is needed for a German visa?

The bank balance required for a German visa varies depending on the visa-type of visa and the duration of stay. Generally, you should have enough funds to cover your expenses during your stay (about €45 per day). However, the exact required amount may differ based on your visa type and individual circumstances.

What if my application is rejected?

If your visa application is rejected, you will receive a detailed explanation of the reasons for the rejection. You can appeal the decision if you believe it was incorrect or provide additional documentation to support your case in a new application.

Do I have to pay for a German visa extension?

Yes, there are fees associated with applying for a German visa extension. The cost varies depending on the type of extension and other factors. You should check relevant authorities for the exact fee structure and requirements.

Can a German visa be revoked?

A German visa can be revoked under certain circumstances, such as if you violate the visa conditions, engage in illegal activities, or pose a threat to public safety. Revocation decisions are made by the German authorities based on the specific situation.
 

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