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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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

  • 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.

  • How can I file a complaint about the conduct of the consular staff or the visa application process?

    Applicants for a Schengen visa may submit a complaint regarding the conduct of the consular staff or the application process, by using the contact form on the Contact Us page of our website.

    In the drop down menu of the contact form, please choose the option “Complaints regarding the Schengen visa application process in …”. Please note that complaints can only be submitted in German or English. Complaints in a different language cannot be investigated.

    You may enter one of the two following options in the subject line:

    1. Complaint about the conduct of the consular staff
    2. Complaint about the process of the visa Application

    We will investigate your complaint.

    Important note:  Visa applicants cannot use the contact form to file an appeal (“Remonstration”) against decisions made in terms of refusal, annulment or cancelation of a visa.

  • How many more days can you stay in Schengen after usage of previous visas?

    Please check the number of days you can stay in the Schengen area after usage of previous visas to ensure you do not over stay, kindly use this calculator provided by European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/assets/home/visa-calculator/calculator.htm?lang=en