Going to Germany? This website will help you to find out whether or not you need a visa and will guide you through the application process. It also allows you to download free of charge the relevant application forms.
US citizens in possession of a valid US passport (on the planned date of departure from Germany, your passport should have at least another three months validity) do not need a visa for airport transit, tourist or business trips (for stays up to 90 days).
According to the so-called Schengen agreement, tourist and business visas issued by a mission of one of the following countries are valid for travel to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. However, you always have to apply at the consulate of the country which is your main destination.
NEW: For some time now, fingerprints have been taken from all applicants applying for long-term visas (study, family reunification, commencement of employment, etc.). Now, starting Thursday, May 15, 2014, the visa sections at the German missions in the U.S. will begin collecting biometric data, that is, fingerprints, for Schengen visas as part of the Visa Information System (VIS).
In order to apply for a visa, your passport must have at least two empty pages.
Your passport must have been issued within the last ten years. A passport older than ten years that has been extended for a period exceeding ten years from the time of issuance cannot be accepted.
Declaration of Waiver and Hold Harmless
In case the applicant requests the Embassy or the Consulate General to mail the passport including the visa back to the applicant, the German foreign mission and its employees, as well as the German Foreign Ministry, is released and held harmless from any and all damage claims resulting from a possible loss or damage of the documents while in custody or during transport, except in cases of intent or gross negligence.