Schengen Visa / Short Stay Visa


If you intend to travel to Germany for business or tourism purposes for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days, you have to apply for a Schengen visa. You also have to apply for a Schengen visa in case you need to obtain an airport transit visa.

Visa© Bundesministerium des Innern

If you intend to stay in Germany for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days, you have to apply for a Schengen visa.

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, a Schengen visa allows you to stay in the following countries for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, 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 for a Schengen visa at the consulate of the Member State which is your main destination in terms of length or purpose of stay. If no main destination can be determined, the visa has to be applied for at the consulate of the Member State whose external border the applicant crosses first.

Visa applications must be submitted at the German Consular Mission that serves the applicant’s primary residence (for example an Indian citizen with an H1B visa residing in Portland/ Oregon must apply at the German Consulate in San Francisco; a Chinese citizen from Bejing visiting the U.S. on a B1/B2 Visa must apply at the German Embassy in Bejing). 

Please note that you cannot apply for a Schengen Visa more than six months before your planned date of travel.

The following countries are NOT part of the Schengen area: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom.

For general information on Schengen Visas and to find out whether or not you need to apply for a visa, please click here:
General Information on Schengen Visas PDF / 309 KB

Please note: All German Missions require that you schedule an appointment in order to apply for a visa. Appointments have to be booked via our free online appointment system. Scheduling an Appointment

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. Its validity must exceed the duration of stay in Germany by at least three months.

Visa applicants must have their biometric data taken, e.g. ten fingerprints and a digital photograph. Children unter the age of 12 are exempt from the requirement to give fingerprints. Fingerprint scans stored in the Visa Information System (VIS) can be reused for future visa applications within the following five years.

According to Art. 13 and 14 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (also known as: General Data Protection Regulation), information about the collection of personal information must be provided to visa applicants. To read more about this topic, please consult our Data Protection Information Sheet.

Declaration of Waiver and Hold Harmless

In case the applicant requests the German Mission 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.

Related content

Top of page