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Germany Visa and Entry Requirements

What kinds of documents and papers one needs for the entry to Germany depends mainly on where he or she comes from and on how long he or she wants to stay in Germany. It is important to get the necessary information and to put together all the papers quite early and in time before the studies abroad.

In general there are the following rules: For citizens from the EU or from the countries Island, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein it is only necessary to have an identity card to entry Germany. It is not necessary to have a visa. Citizens from other countries instead need a visa if they stay in Germany for more than 90 days. There are some more rules for the visa application as well. Citizens from the countries Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the USA can apply for their visa even after they arrived in Germany. For citizens from other countries it is necessary to apply for the visa before coming to Germany.

When you apply for a Germany VISA (Schengen visa for Germany), there are certain documents you have to complete before making an appointment.  If you are travelling to more than one Schengen country, you will apply in the German Embassy/Consulate in your country if Germany is the country you will stay the longest. If there is no significant difference in days in-between the Schengen countries you will be visiting, you will apply for a Schengen visa in the Germany Embassy/Consulate if Germany is the first port of entry in the Schengen Area. The list of documents required in order for applying for a Schengen visa in a German Embassy/Consulate depends on the type of visa you are applying for.

Application form

Generally, you start with filling the application form which you can download here in our website.  Detailed and accurate information about yourself and the purpose of your travel are required in the application form so make sure you are honest. Capital letters are recommendable so handwriting doesn’t become an issue.

If the applicant has never had a Schengen visa before, he/she must hand the application form and other required documents in person, after making an appointment in the Embassy. In other cases, the applicant can hand the documentation scanned via mail.

Passport Requirements

Your passport has to be valid for a minimum of 6 months before the due date in order to be eligible to apply for a Schengen Visa for Germany.

Please follow our guide and make sure you have a passport that meets these requirements before applying for a German visa.

  • Its validity has to extend the duration of the visa you are applying for by at least 3 months
  • It has to contain at least two blank pages;
  • It must have been issued within the previous 10 years. If it has been issued before that, your passport can not be accepted. That even applies in cases where the validity has been extended by the authorities of your home country.

If staying less than 90 days in Germany there are even more regulations. Citizens from certain countries can entry Germany for this time without a visa. These are Venezuela, Vatican City, Uruguay, Singapore, Seychelles, Paraguay, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Mauritius, Malaysia, Macau, Croatia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Chile, Brunei, Brazil, Bolivia, Bermuda, Barbados, Bahamas and Argentina.

More detailed information and lists of the certain countries can also be found on the webpage of SchengenVisaInfo or by going to the consulate or the German embassy in one’s home country. For those who just want to go to Germany for one semester there are also information councilors at the home university.

When applying for the visa there are different ones for what one has to apply. What kind of visa is necessary depends on the application to the German university. If the university place is already secure and confirmed one can apply for a visa for the stay for study purposes. If the application is not yet confirmed or one has to apply for a visa to visit the German university or to do a test one has to apply for a visa for the purpose of university application.
But careful, the visa doesn’t cover the whole stay in Germany. Those visas normally just last for three months. Afterwards, one has to apply for an additional residence permit in Germany. This can be done at the Aliens Department after changing one’s residence at the Registration Office.
Those who are still confused or who have further questions can go to the International Office at the German university. The councilor can answer all the important questions and remember the deadlines.

To get a visa and later the residence permit one need certain document.
For the visa it is necessary to show the health insurance in Germany (you can choose: ReiseCare or Allianz) and a proof of financing. The German Embassy or the Consulate can say what else is required, for example German knowledge, the confirmation of the university place in Germany, etc.
For the residence permit it takes the confirmation of the Registration Office, health insurance, certificate of enrollment, identity document and visa. It is also important to know that the residence permit is not for ever but just lasts for two years. Those who study longer can extend the permission.

All those formalities are quite confusing and it can also last a long time till all documents are applied and confirmed. Therefore, it is really important to get the information in time. Especially for those who study the total time in Germany and organize their stay alone. When doing a semester abroad there is a lot of help from the home university as well but it is also good to start planning early.

Photo Requirements

Two photos are required per application form.

High quality photos are essential for use in biometric documents. It is essential to comply with these requirements presented here so you can prepare you photo for the visa as accurately as possible and avoid unnecessary delays.


When taking the photo for a visa make sure that your face takes 70 to 80 percent of the whole photo. This corresponds to a height of 32 – 36mm. If your face measures less than 27mm or more than 40mm on the photo than it will be rejected.

Don’t pose to close, too far or not in a centered position when taking a photo. The photo must show only one person, no other persons or objects are acceptable. Avoid shadows on the background of your photo as well.

If your passport does not meet all of these requirements, you will need to obtain a new passport before applying for a visa.


Your photo must also have a sharp focus, be clear and have proper contrast. Make sure the photo is not blurred, is too light or without enough contrast.


Take your photo with even lightning, it should not be too dark or too light. Shadows across face, flash reflections or red eyes should be avoided.


Take your photo against a neutral gray color. If your face and hair are light-colored take the picture against a medium-gray background. Take your photo against a light-gray background if you have a darker face and hair.


The photo must be printed on high-quality paper with a print resolution of at least 600dpi, especially when taken with a digital camera. Your photo must be clean, with natural colors, not pixelated or damaged in any way. Photos can be in black and white or color.


When taking the photo look directly at the camera and keep your eyes open. Be careful not to cover your eyes with hair or glass frames. If you wear eyeglasses make sure not to have flash reflections off the lenses on your photo and don’t wear tinted glasses or sunglasses.

Hats or head covering are not permitted generally, but exception can be made in particular for religious reasons. If a head covering is allowed than your face must be visible from the chin to the forehead.


For children aged 9 and under, you should follow these requirements:

The face should take up 50 – 80% of the photo. This means that the face from the bottom of the chin to the crown (the top of the head, not the top of the hair) should measure between 22 and 36mm.

You photos can be rejected only if the face measures less than 17mm or more than 40mm.


For children aged 5 and under, the same facial measurements apply as for children aged 9 and under. Children aged 5 and under do not need to have a neutral expression or look directly at the camera, and their heads do not have to be centered in the photo. For babies under one year is not required to have their eyes open.


Proof of booked and paid accommodation in Germany is to be sent to the Embassy/Consulate together with all the other documentation. If you are staying with friends/relatives, a copy of their ID and Passport as well as proof that they can support your stay is mandatory.


Purchased return ticket within the planned duration of your trip is required, plane or otherwise.

Health Insurance

Valid health insurance covering the total number of days you will be staying in Germany is mandatory. Read more about Health Insurance


If the purpose of the travel is tourism/leisure you must also send a copy of your detailed itinerary.

Bank Statement

A formal statement of your financial situation from the bank for the last 3 months is mandatory.


  • If you are a student, you have to hand in proof of being enrolled in a tertiary educational institution as well as a formal letter from the designated authorities that gives you permission to travel during that period.
  • If you are employed, a copy of your contract is mandatory as well as a letter which stated that you are permitted by the employer to take the annual leave during that period.
  • If self-employed you have to hand in official documents confirming your own business (e.g. copy of CK1 registration papers/VAT Registration including name and proof of business activities.


  • Minors have to hand in the original birth certificate among others.
  • If they are travelling alone the consent of both parents represented by a signature in the application form and a formal letter is requested.
  • If they are travelling with one of the parents, the consent of both parents is still required.

Depending on the purpose of your trip to Germany, there are slight differences in the typo of documentation required.

  • For a tourist visa, you will not be required to have any formal invitation letter of any sort.
  • For a student’s visa however, in addition to all the documentation above, you have to hand in the letter of acceptance at the educational institution you are planning to study in, as well as proof of financial sustainability for the time being in Germany, among others.
  • For a business trip, you will have to hand in a formal invitation letter by the parties residing in Germany, fully explaining the nature of your visit.
  • For employment in Germany, you have to hand in your employer’s formal letter stating the positing you’ve been accepted for, period of employment, nature of the job, and the exact dates of when you are expected to enter and leave the country.

References and useful information:

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