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Visas to Germany: types of visas, conditions for obtaining a visa and the issuing procedure, necessary documents and the cost

On this page you will find detailed information about visas to Germany, what types of visas exist, what the conditions for registration and obtaining a permit to enter the country are, as well as the cost of the German visas. Find out who can come to Germany without a visa.

§ Types, categories of visas for entry to Germany

A German visa is a document that grants the right or permission to enter and stay for a short time in the country to citizens of other states; it is usually issued by the Consulate or Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and pasted into a person's international passport.

First of all, you can enter and stay in Germany for a short time under the following two main types of visas:
(1) the Schengen visa, (2) the national visa of Germany.
National visas of the Schengen area countries may also allow entry into Germany. If a person needs a temporary stay in Germany, s/he can get a Schengen visa of the appropriate category from one of the Schengen area countries. However, if a longer stay in Germany is necessary or the visa holder wishes to obtain certain permits (for example, for the opportunity to study or work), s/he has to obtain a German national visa of the category that s/he needs.

Which category of a German national visa should be obtained depends on many factors: purpose of staying in the country, possibilities offered to the visa holder, length of stay, etc.; in addition, each visa type has its own conditions. Usually a national visa is issued for 3 months with the possibility of subsequent extension or obtaining a permit for a long-term stay in the country. The types or categories of German visas can be found in the list below.

Categories of the German national visas

At the German Embassy or Consulate General, you will be able to build a complete picture as to each type of the national visa, as well as information on the conditions under which you can obtain the required type of visa.

§ Schengen visa to Germany

The legislation of the European Union includes the so-called Schengen acquis - which is a set of rules regulating control at the borders of a number of countries (26 countries as of 2019). The countries that have adopted this legislation, the Schengen agreement, form the Schengen zone; within this zone, there is practically no border control between the Schengen acquis countries, however, at the outer borders of the Schengen zone there is an enhanced border control. The name “Schengen” itself comes from the name of the locality of Schengen (Luxembourg), which witnessed signing the original agreement on control at the borders of a number of states.

The Schengen visa - is a document allowing you to travel and stay in the countries that are the Schengen zone members. The validity of this visa is limited to 90 days for a period of 180 days. The Schengen visa can be obtained at the representative office of any country within the Schengen area; usually it is necessary to contact the representative office of the country that is the main purpose of a trip abroad. Upon receipt of a Schengen visa, the recipient who has reached the age of 12 has to have their fingerprints taken.

A Schengen visa can be obtained for several years all at once, if you need regular trips to the countries of the Schengen area.

To obtain a Schengen visa, the following prerequisites and conditions have to be met:

The Schengen visa is available in 4 categories: A, B, C, D. The table below gives a description of the said categories.

Категории Шенгенских виз

A - category Transit airport visa allows to stay in the international airport zone of the Schengen area.
B - category Transit visa allows to travel through the countries of the Schengen area, is limited to a few days.
C - category Short-term visa - for a short-term residence/ stay in the Schengen area countries, is usually valid for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days.
D - category National visa for a long-term stay in one of the countries of the Schengen area.

§ Entry to Germany without a visa, Visa-free entry to Germany: for whom and how

The citizens of the European Union member states have the right to enter and stay in Germany without obtaining a visa. Citizens of other countries have to obtain a visa to enter the territory of Germany.

However, an exception has been made for some countries, so these countries citizens can come to Germany and stay there for 90 days (within a period of 180 days) without any visa. Below on the page there is a list of these countries.

List of major countries as of 2019 whose citizens do not need a visa for a short-term visit to Germany

Some of these countries have special conditions for a visa-free entry into Germany. A complete list of the countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter Germany can be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office of the country, a link to the page can be found below on this page.

§ Prices, cost of visas to Germany

Prices for visas to Germany are set in the German Residency Decree (in German: Aufenthaltsverordnung), the link can be found below on the page. As of 2019, according to the the German Residency Decree and the EU Visa Code, the following visa prices shall apply:

Table 1. Prices for visas in Germany.

Type of visa Category of recipient Price, in euros
Schengen visa Adults 60,00
Schengen visa Children of 6-12 years old 35,00
Schengen visa Children under 6 years old 0,00
National Visa Adults 75,00
National Visa Children 37,50
National Visa Extension of a visa 25,00

Visa regulations provide for various discounts, benefits, exemptions from paying a visa fee for a number of countries and categories of people; they have to be found out on a case-by-case basis.

§ Conditions and procedure for obtaining a visa to Germany (registration and visa issuing procedure)

In foreign countries, embassies and consulates general are responsible for issuing visas to Germany.

The authorities responsible for issuing visas are the embassies and consulates general of Germany

To obtain a visa, a person has to submit an application to the Embassy or Consulate General responsible for the territory of their residence, providing all the necessary documents. On the websites of embassies, it is possible find information about what documents have to be provided, and download the application form as well. The application has to be completed accurately and truthfully.

In an ordinary case, the decision to grant a visa for a short-term stay in the country takes from 2 to 10 working days; however, it may take several months to approve an application for a long-term stay visa.

§ Documents for getting a visa to Germany

Depending on the type and category of the visa to be obtained, the package of the documents required may vary; to get a list of the relevant documents, contact the Embassy or Consulate General of Germany. The list of the documents may also depend on the country in which the visa is being received. Below, as an example, we provide a list of the documents that are usually required to obtain a tourist visa at the German Embassy in one country.

If a person wants to come to Germany to visit relatives or friends, s/he may be required to provide an Invitation (in German: Einladung), which has to be sent to him/her by an inviting person from Germany. The invitation indicates what purpose the invitee will come for and where they will live; if the invitee does not have enough money to finance their stay in the country, the invitee shall fill out a Formal Obligation for Foreign Visitors (in German: Verpflichtungserklärung). This Declaration obliges the inviting party to pay all the expenses for the stay of the invited foreigner, including medical treatment and travel back. The said Declaration shall be filled out at the Foreigners Registration Office (in German: Ausländerbehörden).

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