German Visa and The Schengen Area

Taking a trip to Germany either for a vacation, school or work has never been more stress-free and more organized. All citizens of the Schengen member states are able to freely travel from one Schengen Country to another without having the need to obtain a visa. Germany happens to be one of the Schengen member countries.

But what if you are not a citizen of one of these countries? You will be required to obtain a Schengen Visa. With this Schengen Visa, you can be able to freely travel the entire Schengen territory just like a citizen of any Schengen member country.

The main reason the Schengen agreement was reached was to eliminate all border controls between member states. This led to free and equal access to all citizens of all the Schengen member countries.

As a German citizen, you are free to travel to any of the countries in the Schengen Zone.

Schengen Member Countries

  • 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

But there are exceptions depending on your nationality. In order to enter a Schengen zone and Germany at the same time, you may or may not need a Schengen visa.

Short-stay Schengen Visas let the bearer to be able to enter and stay in Germany but only for a maximum period of 90 days. This is usually within a 180 days period. It is also good to know that during this period of your stay, you are not allowed to engage in paid activities.

In this guide, you are going to figure out if you need a visa to enter Germany, how to apply and actually obtain a German Visa.

Why Do I need a German Visa?

This question usually comes up to everyone’s mind when they decide to travel to Germany. As of the time of this writing, only citizens of 62 countries can get into Germany without actually needing a visa. But this is only when they are going for short-stay visits. This can be either for tourism, business, and visiting some family members. They can only stay a maximum of 90 days.

You will need to obtain a visa to Germany if you are not a citizen of any of the 62 countries that can enter Germany visa-free. Also, even if you are a citizen of any of the 62 countries that can enter Germany for free without a visa, you will need to obtain a visa if your purpose is out of tourism and business and also if you will be staying for more than 90 days within a 180 days period.

Types Of German Visas

There are different types of German Visas depending on what you are traveling to Germany for. Be it that your plans are for studies, work or even settling permanently in Germany, you will have to apply for different types of Visas (Schengen Visa) accordingly.

The different types of German Visa are:

  • Tourist and Visitor Visa: This type of visa is mainly for people who wish to travel to Germany for the purpose of visiting friends and relatives. Also, it is for people who wish to visit all the touristic destinations in Germany and to experience its culture.
  • Family Reunion Visa: This visa type is usually given to relatives or partners of German citizens or German permanent residents who wish to travel and join them in Germany.
  • Job Seeker Visa: This type of German Visa gives the bearer the opportunity to travel and seek for jobs in Germany.
  • Study or Language Learning Visa: This Visa is usually given only to people who intend to enter Germany for the sole purpose of studying in a German Educational institution or attending a language course.
  • Work Visa: This visa is usually given to people who have gotten a job in Germany and want to move over there to work.
  • Business Visa: People who obtain this visa type are people who visit Germany for the sole purpose of business and need to remain there for over a period of 90 days within a 6-month period.
  • Visa for Cultural Events, Religious Events, Film crew or Sports purposes: This type of German visa is for people who are traveling to Germany for the sole purpose of doing one thing and one thing only. Either for participating in a cultural event, Sports (Players going for a match), religious event or if they are part of a film crew.
  • Guest Scientist Visa: This type of visa is only given to a scientist who has been invited by an Institution in Germany for research or study purposes.
  • Transit Visa: This visa type is mostly needed by third-world nationals who need to pass through any German airports before reaching their final destination country.
  • Training or Internship Visa: This visa is also awarded to third-world nationals giving them the opportunity to attend an internship or training.
  • Visa for Medical Treatment: This German visa type was created in order to let foreigners with different medical conditions to travel and seek for medical treatment in Germany.
  • Trade Fair & Exhibitions Visa: This type is for individuals who want to part take in an exhibition or trade fair.

What are the Requirements for German Visa?

This section covers all German Visa requirements. When it comes to obtaining a Schengen visa, Germany is quite demanding if you are traveling there. It is advisable to follow all these requirements and fulfill them carefully to the very last detail. Germany’s embassy in every country has an up to date list of German Visa requirements for the different types of Visa.

Listed below are Required Documents for a German Visa Application.

  • German Visa Application Form: This form should be filled and completed carefully with accurate and honest answers. All the answers should comply with the information provided in the required documents. To fill the German Visa Application form, visit this link.
  • Passport: Of course how can you travel without a passport? you need one. The German embassy requires that your passport must have a validity of more than three months after the time you plan to stay in the Schengen region.
  • Photo: Passport sized photographs of you which must have been taken within the last three months. Also, it should follow the photo standards stipulated by the German embassy.
  • Health Insurance: You Should provide a health insurance document that shows you are covered in case of accidents or illnesses and in case of death you can be repatriated(let’s not hope). For the whole Schengen area you should provide a minimum of 30,000 Euros.
  • Travel Itinerary: This shows proof of your round trip flight to Germany and back to your home country including reservations. Also, you will have to provide proof of what you are going to do in Germany within the time of your planned stay there.
  • Financial or Bank Statement: This is one of the most important documents among the requirements for a German Visa. This document should prove that you have sufficient funds to look after your self during your stay in Germany. This financial proof should be able to show that you have enough money to spend at least 45 Euros a day in Germany. If you cannot prove to have sufficient funds, a third person willing to fund your trip and stay in Germany can provide a bank statement which will also be enough.

Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, or sometimes depending on your country of residence, there may be extra Germany visa requirements that you will need to submit as demanded by the embassy from your country.

How is the German Visa Application Process?

When you are applying for a Schengen visa, there is going to be a series of events between you and the embassy. In this case, these events will be between you and the German Embassy in your country. Below are the steps involved in the German Visa Application process.

  1. Ask the German Embassy in your country for a list of all the required documents needed for the type of visa you are applying for.
  2. Make sure to fill the German Visa Application form with accurate information and include all required documents for the type of visa you are applying for.
  3. Book an appointment for a German Visa at the embassy in your country of residence. You have to book an appointment for a German Visa 3 months before your trip.
  4. Next, you will have to pay the German visa fees. Make sure you save the receipt, as you will have to show this at the German embassy during the interview.
  5. Being punctual is very important. Make sure you are on time for your meeting with the consular officer. Also, don’t forget to carry along all the required documents with you. Your documents should be arranged in a given order. Your meeting with the consular officer will last just a few minutes. During this time the consular officer goes through your documents to see if they are all there. Also, he asks questions about your purpose of traveling to Germany and your background.

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