Visa : Frequently Asked Questions


Going to Germany? Take a moment to have a look at our FAQs before you call or send an e-mail.

My visa has been issued by the German Consulate, could I use this visa to make a sidetrip to other European countries (for example to France or Austria)?

Yes , you can. According to the Schengen agreement, visas are also valid for Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Please note, however, that you always have to apply at the consulate of the country which is your primary destination.
If you intend to visit several of the above-mentioned countries but do not have a primary destination, you should apply at the consulate of the country which is your first point of entry.

I have already made a trip to Germany with a visa (“Schengener Staaten” is mentioned on the visa sticker) issued by the German Consulate. I think the visa is still valid and I am planning now a business trip to Italy for example. Can I use this visa?

Yes, you can. Please check your visa's validity, its number of entries and the maximum duration of stay (both are mentioned on your visa sticker) carefully.

My flight itinerary requires an overnight stay at a German airport. Do I have to apply for an airport transit visa or a regular visa?

Airport transit visa are only good for short stopovers while you are waiting a few hours for your onward flight in the airport's international transit area. However, hotel accommodation is only available outside the transit area. Please apply for a regular tourist visa if you want to stay at the airport overnight.

My flight itinerary requires airport transit in Germany, however I do not have a confirmed onward flight (e.g. Buddy Pass) from Germany. Do I have to apply for an airport transit visa or a regular visa?

If you do not have a confirmed onward flight from Germany you have to apply for a regular tourist visa.

I am planning to apply for a visa at the German Consulate, how long should my passport be valid?

Your passport should be valid for at least 3 months upon conclusion of your trip.

This website tells me that I have to show my bank statement when applying for a visa. I do not have a bank account / my balance is low and the trip will be paid by my friends/relatives in Germany. What do I have to submit?

Ask your friends/relatives to sign an official affidavit of support (called “Verpflichtungserklärung” in German).

I cannot get a national passport from my country of origin but I do hold a U.S. “Permit to Re-Enter”. Can I use this permit to travel to Germany?

We expect you to submit your national passport. However, in rare instances, a U.S. “Permit to Re-Enter” can be accepted if it is evident that you cannot get a national passport from your country of origin. Please be informed that visa applications of “Permit to Re-Enter”-holders may take up to two weeks to be processed.

I cannot get a national passport from my country of origin but I do hold a “Travel Document for Refugees”. Can I use this document to travel to Germany?

Holders of the “Refugee Travel Document” (Form I-571) which is issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are not required to obtain a visa to enter the Federal Republic of Germany for purposes of business, tourism, or to visit friends if they stay no longer than 90 days. The Travel Document must be valid for at least four months after entering Germany.

Please be advised that this regulation applies to Germany only. If you plan to transit or travel to other Schengen countries you have to contact the responsible consular mission of the respective countries to find out about their visa regulations. Please also note that holders of the very similar document called “Permit to Re-Enter” (Form I-327) do not fall under this rule. Holders of a “Permit to Re-Enter” must apply for a visa.

If you are in doubt whether you are a holder of a “Permit to Re-Enter” or a “Refugee Travel Document” please refer to the data page of the document in your possession issued by DHS. More information on the type of document issued to you can be found above and below the photo in your document.

How can my friends/relatives in Germany get an official affidavit of support (so-called “Verpflichtungserklärung”)?

Your friends can get this document at the local Aliens' office at their place of residence in Germany. Please bring the original of this affidavit when applying for your visa.

I want to visit my friends/relatives. My own funds are sufficient so I am paying for the trip myself. What kind of invitation should I submit?

Just ask your friends/relatives to send you an informal invitation. Name, address and a copy of the friend's/relative's passport. A copy of the residence permit is an additional requirement if your friend/relative in Germany is not a German national. If your friends/relatives pay for your travel expenses you will need to submit an official affidavit of support.

I have my own business and therefore cannot bring an employment letter. What documents should I submit?

Please include your business registration, your tax returns and your latest bank statement to complete your application.

Why am I required to have a health insurance coverage for Germany?

Imagine you have an accident during your stay in Germany. Please check carefully whether your medical insurance will also cover costs for medical treatment abroad. If yours does not, you need to submit a health insurance covering your stay in Europe when applying for the visa.
In general all major US medical insurance companies cover costs for emergency medical treatment abroad.

My U.S. Resident Alien Card/U.S. visa has expired and has to be renewed/extended. How can I apply for a visa to Germany?

We can only accept applicants holding a vaild U.S. Resident Alien Card/U.S. visa. If yours has expired, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service first for renewal/extension.

US Immigration and Naturalization Service

I am planning to move to Germany with my German wife and have to apply for a residence permit. The application process requires me to show my US marriage certificate and an apostille. What is an apostille good for and where can I get one?

Your application for a residence permit has to be approved by the Aliens' Office at your intended place of residence in Germany. The Aliens' Office will check whether your U.S. marriage certificate is a proper American public document. An apostille is needed as a confirmation.

My spouse is a German national. We both plan to establish a joint residence in Germany. Do I get a German work permit immediately after we move to Germany?

Yes, you do. The residence permit will be issued by the Aliens' Office after your arrival in Germany. It will include a permit to work.

I have heard that Germany has a shortage of IT specialists. I am an IT-expert and would be interested to work in Germany. How can I find an employer and how can I apply for a residence and work permit?

The Federal Employment Agency has set up an online job fair where you can introduce yourself and present your curriculum vitae. Companies also post job openings in this online fair. Of course, you may also apply directly to a company in Germany. As soon as you have a written formal notice that a work permit will be issued, you can apply for an entrance visa at the German Embassy or Consulate which has jurisdiction for your place of residence.

My US employer is sending me to work in Germany for a few years in its office. May my wife and children accompany me?

Yes, in general they may. Aliens eligible to obtain a residence and work permit may be accompanied by members of their family. Please submit your marriage certificate and your children's birth certificates when applying for their residence permit.

I am a legal resident alien in the US and would like to work in Germany for a few years. However, I do not have any contact with an employer in Germany yet. How can I apply for a residence and work permit?

First things first: It is essential to find an employer in Germany who is willing to make you a job offer. Once you got a job offer, please apply for a residence and work permit.

I am a member of the US Armed Forces and will be stationed in Germany. Do I need to apply for a visa?

Under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement, members of the US Armed Forces and their dependents are exempt from German laws and regulations relating to aliens. When entering Germany, they must be in possession of a copy of their orders and a military identification card. Dependents should have a military identification card and a valid passport containing certification or a stamp by the military authorities indicating their dependent status. Private household staff is subject to the regular visa requirements and has to apply for a residence and work permit.

We want our child under the age of 18 to travel to Germany. How do we apply for a visa?

Please apply for a regular visa to visit friends/relatives in Germany or a regular tourist visa. A birth certificate of your child is an additional requirement. Children under 18 are considered minors by EU law. Therefore, the visa application needs to be signed by the persons exercising permanent or temporary parental authority or legal guardianship - usually both parents. Please make sure that you include a family court order if only one parent has full custody. The application form has to be signed by the legal guardian(s) during the visa interview. Alternatively, their signature can be certified by a notary public.

I am a visitor to the US with a B1/B2 visa and would like to spend two weeks in Germany after my trip to the US. Where do I apply for a visa?

We can only accept visa applicants of legal resident aliens in the US. If you are only visiting you need to apply at the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

How long will I have to wait for my visa?

The processing time for visa applications (short stay) takes up to 15 days. If long-term residence permits or visa for employment in Germany are applied for, the processing time will be up to several months.

Please Note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with utmost care, we can not accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein.

Related content

Top of page