Applying for Your Visa

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Entry Visa for Germany

Here you will find general information on how to apply for a visa to enter Germany.

For individual questions or for further binding information, please contact the responsible German representative body in your country.



Do I need a visa to enter Germany?

As a rule, you need an entry visa if you are a non-EU citizen. Individuals who are citizens of EU countries, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland as well as other countries that have a special agreement with Germany are exempt from the visa requirement. You can check if you need a visa to enter Germany or if you are allowed to enter without a visa at the German Foreign Office website.

Important: Even people who are non-EU citizens of a country that has a visa-free entry agreement with Germany must apply for a residence permit if they are staying in Germany for more than 90 days.

How can I apply for an entry visa?

To apply for an entry visa, contact the German representative body (embassy or consulate general) in the official district of your main place of residence. Check the list of German representative bodies abroad provided by the German Foreign Office.

What kind of visa do I need?

It is imperative that you apply for the visa for the correct purpose because the reason for your stay usually cannot be changed afterward and an incorrect visa (for example, for tourist purposes) will force you to leave the country. If you are unsure of the correct visa to apply for, the Visa Navigator can help you.

If you want to study at a university in Germany (degree or exchange), write a Bachelor's or Master's thesis, or participate in a research project or internship as part of your studies, you usually need a national visa to stay for study purposes. Detailed information on how to apply for a visa for international students is available on the German Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) Study in Germany website.

For doctoral candidates, postdocs, and visiting scholars, a visa for research purposes is usually the most suitable type of visa. However, other types of visas may also be considered. Further information is available at the German Government's website for specialists coming to work in Germany and in the document German Residence Law for Scientists From Non-EU Countries.

What documents do I need to apply for a visa for study purposes?

You can obtain the visa application form in the local language version from the website of the relevant representative body, for example, the embassy or consulate-general. This body will request further documents from you, which primarily prove the purpose and financing of your stay, usually among other things:

  • Your passport – make sure that it is valid for a long period of time!
  • Proof of health insurance for entry
  • Proof of financing of approximately 11,208 euros per year or 934 euros per month (as of January 1, 2023), for example, a scholarship approval, proof of a blocked account at a German bank, or a statement of commitment from your parents or another person in conjunction with proof of income or assets
  • Letter of admission from the university or, if applicable, registration for a language course that prepares you for university studies
  • Proof of your language skills
  • Proof of previous academic achievements and/or university entrance qualification

When should I apply for my visa?

The visa process can take several months. For this reason, it is advisable to take care of the application and the appointment with the German representative body as early as possible.

Make sure you submit all documents completely and correctly to avoid losing time due to subsequent requests for documents.

I have a valid visa (for study or research purposes) for another European country. Do I need a new visa for Germany?

Students and researchers from non-European countries who already hold a valid residence permit in another EU country for study or research purposes may be exempted from visa requirements under the REST procedure if they wish to spend a short period abroad at a German university via a mobility program (such as ERASMUS+).

For further information on the facilitated mobility regulations within the EU within the framework of the REST Directive, please refer to the BAMF's FAQ page on the topic of REST.

For longer-term stays (six months or more), you must apply for a national visa for Germany. The application can be made in your current country of residence or your home country.

Can my family join me in Germany?

For family members of citizens of the EU, the EEA, Switzerland, or non-EU countries who have a valid German residence permit, it is generally possible to enter Germany for family reunification. Please enquire at your German representative body or check the BAMF page on family reunification regarding whether and which visa your family members have to apply for.

Can I travel to other countries on my German entry visa?

If you have a visa with the label "valid for Schengen countries" (National Visa Type D), you can move around the Schengen Area freely for up to 90 days.