F A Q s - Discover Germany
December 20, 2012

F A Q s

Question: Bodies responsible for issuing German Visas?
Answer: Under German law (section 71 (2) of the Residence Act), responsibility for issuing visas lies with the missions of the Federal Republic of Germany, i.e. its embassies and consulates‑general. In principle, the Federal Foreign Office is not involved in decisions on individual visa applications , nor does it have any knowledge of the status of individual applications being processed by the missions.

Rationeloci competence (local responsibility) for issuing the visa lies with the mission responsible for the area in which the applicant has his/her ordinary residence or domicile.

Ratione materiae competence (subject‑matter responsibility) lies with the mission of the Schengen state in whose territory the sole or main destination is situated.

Question: How much is the Visa Fee for Germany?
Answer: Last updated on 12 June 2013. Since 14 May 2008, the fee for all types of visas has been a standar d EUR 60, to be paid upon submission of the application. However, both the Visa Code (Schengen visas ) and the Ordinance Governing Residence (national visas) provide for fee reduct ions or waivers in certain cases.

Fee waivers

a) For Schengen visas: Visa fees are waived by all Schengen states for the followi ng categories of person, regardless of their nationality: children under six years, school pupils, undergraduates, postgraduates and accompanying teaching st aff who undertake trips for the purpose of study or training, representatives of non-profit organisations aged 25 years or less part icipating in seminars, conferences or other sports, cultural or educational event s organised by non-profit organisations, researchers from third countries travelling within the European Community for the purpose of carrying out scientific research (see Recommendation 2005/761/ EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 September 2005).

b) For national visas:
Foreign nationals receiving a scholarship from public funds for their stay in Germany, as well as their spouse or partner and minor children as long as they are covered by the funding.

c) Visa fees are waived for the spouses, registered same-sex partners and minor single children of German nationals, parents of minor German nationals, as well as family members of EU/EEA nationals, provided they enjoy freedom of movement.

Fee reductions

a) The visa facilitation agreements with Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia envisage a fee of EUR 35 for a Schengen visa worldwide for nationals of these countries and various waivers of this visa fee (e.g. for visits to relatives). For those nationals of Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro,
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania who still require a visa (holders of non-biometric passports), visa facilitation agreements also envisage a fee of EUR 35.

b) A reduced fee of EUR 35 for granting a Schengen visa applies for children between the ages of 6 and 12.

c) For national visas, the fee for minors is half of the regular rate, i.e. EUR 30. The German missions abroad will also consider reducing or waiving the fees charged for visas in individual cases if the applicant is seeking to enter the country t o promote cultural interests, interests in the field of foreign policy, development policy or other areas of vital public interest or for humanitarian reasons. Enquiries regarding visa fees in individual cases should be directed to the German mission responsible for the application in question.[/item][item title=’Time required for Visa Process’]As a rule, missions require between two and ten working days to decide on an application for a short stay visa. Applications for visas entitling the holder to a longer stay or to take up gainful employment may take several months to process.

During the peak travel season there may be a waiting period for making an application to a German mission. Persons requiring a visa to enter Germany should therefore submit their applications in good time.[/item][item title=’What is Application procedure?’]As a rule, applicants must submit visa applications, together with all necessary documents, in person at the German mission responsible for their place of residence. In order to avoid time‑consuming requests for additional information or documentation, applicants should consult the website of the respective mission well in advance of their departure date to find out about the visa procedure and about the documentation which has to be submitted.

Visa application forms can be obtained from the mission free of charge (in the local language). The forms submitted must be original versions in the appropriate language of the mission in question. Application forms may also be downloaded free of charge from the website of the competent mission.

Question: What are the Requirements for the issue of short stay (Schengen) visas
Answer: Since 5 April 2010, Regulation (EC) No. 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) forms the statutory basis under European law in all Schengen states for the issuing of visas for transit through the Schengen area or for short‑term stays in the Schengen area not exceeding 90 days in any 180‑day period.

The Visa Code standardises the visa requirements which must be examined by the mission in the course of the visa procedure. The respective mission makes a decision on the visa application at its own discretion, taking into account all the circumstances in any given individual case.

There is no automatic entitlement to a Schengen visa.

The mission must ensure that the following requirements have been met in each individual case:

The purpose of the trip to Germany must be plausible and comprehensible.
The applicant must be in a position to finance his/her living and travel costs from his/her own funds or income.
The visa holder must be prepared to leave the Schengen area before the visa expires.
Documentary evidence must be provided of travelhealth insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros valid for the entire Schengen area.
Should an applicant be unable to prove that he/she can finance the journey and stay from his/her own funds, a third person may undertake to cover all costs associated with the trip in accordance with sections 66 and 68 of the Residence Act. This undertaking is normally to be made to the foreigners authority in the place of residence of the person making the undertaking.

Persons whose entry into the Schengen area would jeopardise security or public order in the Schengen states or who do not fulfil one or more of the above‑mentioned requirements, cannot be granted a visa.

Should a visa application be rejected, the applicant will be informed of the main reasons for the rejection. Every applicant is entitled to take legal recourse against the mission’s decision.

Question: What are the Requirements for the issue of German Visas for longer stays?
Answer: As a rule, all foreigners require visas for stays of more than three months or stays leading to gainful employment. Exemptions apply to EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and Swiss nationals.

Furthermore, citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan,New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and the United States of America may obtain any residence permit that may be required after entering Germany. Citizens of all other countries planning a longer stay in Germany must apply for visas at the competent mission before arriving in the country. Such visa applications must be approved by the relevant foreigners authority in Germany, i.e. the foreigners authority in the place where the applicant intends to take up residence. If the approval of the foreigners authority is necessary before a visa can be issued, the procedure can take up to three months, in some cases longer, since the foreigners authority will often consult other authorities (e.g. the Federal Employment Agency). Missions may only issue visas once they have obtained the approval of the foreigners authority.

Visas entitling holders to take up gainful employment often do not require the approval of the foreigners authority, which speeds up the application process.

Visa application forms for a long‑term stay (longer than three months) can be obtained from the relevant mission free of charge. They can also be downloaded here (German, English, French, Italian). The forms submitted must be original versions (at least two sets) in the appropriate language of the mission in question. Please contact the mission beforehand to find out exactly which forms are required.

The foreigners authorities are also responsible for measures and decisions pertaining to residence law for foreigners already residing in Germany. Foreigners authorities are not subordinate agencies of the Federal Foreign Office, and the Federal Foreign Office cannot influence their decisions. They are in fact accountable to and operate under the supervision of the respective interior ministries and senators of the Länder (federal states).

As a result of Regulation 265/2010 it is now possible for anyone in possession of a national visa (D visa) and a valid travel document to move freely in the Schengen area up to three months in any six‑month period.[/item][item title=’What is the procedure for applying for Schengen visas?’]

The possibility of downloading and filling in visa application forms online, and then taking the completed and printed out form to the interview at the visa section where they can be scanned in electronically via a barcode has done much to reduce the time required to process the application at the visa counter. In addition, many German missions have introduced an electronic appointments system to help manage the number of visitors to the mission and thus shorten waiting times.

The increasing number of visas issued which entitle holders to multiple short stays in the Schengen area over a long period of time means it is no longer necessary to submit visa applications repeatedly. This option is of particular benefit to persons who have to travel frequently for professional or private reasons and have proven their reliability by using previous visa legally.

In future all missions will electronically scan in applicants’ fingerprints when accepting visa applications. This biometric procedure will be introduced gradually region by region, probably by the end of 2014. Once a person’s fingerprints have been scanned in, an interview at the mission will only be necessary in exceptional cases when submitting a visa application. A renewed biometric procedure is envisaged after five years.

Question: What is the procedure for applying for a German Student Visa?
Answer: If you plan to study in Germany, you have to submit an application for a student visa to the respective German mission abroad. Documents have to be presented proving that the applicant has been accepted for studies by the university. The German mission abroad will then forward the visa application for an opinion to the foreigners authority in the town housing the university.

The German mission abroad can only issue the visa for entry once the foreigners authority has given its approval. Details on the documents to be presented with your visa application are often available on the webpage of the competent German mission abroad or directly from the mission itself.[/item][item title=’how can I prove (for a Student Visa) that my financing is secure?’]Financing can be proved by presenting the income and financial circumstances of parents, by a declaration of commitment in line with Article 66-68 Aufenthaltsgesetz (German Foreigners Act) made by a person with sufficient assets or income, by paying a security into a blocked account in Germany, or by depositing an annually renewable bank guarantee at a bank in Germany.

Proof of sufficient funds is also taken as satisfied if the stay is being financed by a scholarship from public funds or a scholarship from an organization recognized in Germany or a scholarship financed by public funds in the country of origin, if the Federal Foreign Office, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) or another German organization granting scholarships has been responsible for providing the link to a German higher education institution.

Question: I want to study in Germany. Where can I apply for a German Scholarship?
Answer: The Federal Foreign Office itself does not offer anyscholarships or travel grants directly, rather has passed this task to independent intermediary organizations which it provides with funding from the federal budget to implement various programmes.
You should contact the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The DAAD offers scholarship programmes and can give advice on study opportunities in Germany. The DAAD’s branch office also exists in Islamabad. For more details, please use the web link: http://ic.daad.de/islamabad/en/

Question: Is that possible to bring my wife/husband and children to Germany during my studies?
Answer: The reunification of families of foreign students is usually only considered if the student is in possession of a residence permit, if the marriage existed at the time of said permit being granted and if the duration of the foreigner’s stay in the Federal territory is expected to exceed one year.

Furthermore, the student has to be able to support himself/herself and his/her family without assistance of public funds. For families to join students in Germany they would have to apply for a visa for family reunification from the competent Germany mission abroad. Details on the documents to be presented with the visa application are often available on the webpage of the competent German mission abroad or directly from the mission itself.

Question: Can I work in Germany to fund my studies there?
Answer: During your studies in Germany you are generally allowed to do 120 full days or 240 half-days of paid work and take small student jobs. In exceptional circumstances your local foreigners office may impose further restrictions.