getting German visa

Visa for Germany

A visa is necessary for many individuals moving to Germany to live, work, or study. There are several different types of visa in Germany, and it’s important to apply for the correct one, whether it’s a Student Visa, Language Student Visa, Au Pair Visa, Working Visa or Job Seeker Visa.

The following article will help you understand which visa you would need depending on the purpose of your stay in Germany, what documents are required, how the application process works and what is the processing time.

Do I need a visa for Germany?

Citizens from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland will not need a visa to travel to Germany, whatever the reason for their visit.

Those from other states may well need to gain a visa in order to work, look for work or study in Germany. Those visiting for less than three months (not to work or study) may need a tourist visa, although Germany has a visa-free agreement with 62 countries. There are numerous types of visas available for those staying in Germany for more than three months including a Student Visa, Job Seeker Visa, and Au Pair Visa.

Those who are not required to have a visa to work or study in Germany must remember that they are required to gain a Residency Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) for stays of more than three months.

How long does a German visa take?

German visas take around 6–12 weeks to be processed from the time of an interview with the German consulate. This means you need to start the process around 4–5 months ahead of travelling to Germany.

Is a German visa easy to get?

German visas are subject to various bureaucratic processes and will usually include a visit to the German consulate in your home country. Provided you have thoroughly researched every single document you need to have, it shouldn’t be too arduous, but one mistake can hold up the entire process.

How much does it cost for German visa?

The Germany visa fee is 75€ for all long-stay visas. Short-stay visas (under 3 months) cost 60€.

German consulate

It’s important to note that even after an interview at a German consulate and having provided all the requested documents, your visa permission is not guaranteed. If everything went well, it is highly likely that your application will be successful, but it is important that you wait for confirmation before being sure and making future plans.

Things you need for every type of visa

Health Insurance

Everyone who comes to Germany for work or studies needs to register for healthcare insurance.


You’ll need to prove you have the funds to cover living costs for one year or the duration of your stay.

Visa paperwork

You'll need: passport, biometric photo, certificate of enrollment, proof of: finances, health insurance, and residence; plus the visa application filled out.

Different Types of Visa

Student Visa

With the exception of EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens, foreign students need to obtain a Student Visa before they begin their studies. To gain this visa, individuals need already to have been accepted onto a course and will also need proof of healthcare insurance and proof of funds, ideally via a deposit in a blocked account (see our Blocked Account page). Those who have not yet had confirmation of acceptance or haven’t decided on a course can apply for a Student Applicant Visa, and then apply for a Student Visa after acceptance.

You can learn more about student visas and how we can help on our German Student Visa page.

Language Student Visa

Foreign (non-EU, EEA, or Swiss) students undertaking a language course that lasts between 3 and 12 months can apply for a Language Student Visa. Again, you will need your evidence of your course registration and proof of healthcare insurance. You will also need to show proof of funds in a blocked account that covers the duration of your course -- these funds should allow you 720 € euros a month to spend.

You can find out more about this visa on our German Visa for Language Students page.

Au-Pair Visa

Those moving to German to work as an Au-Pair can apply for a specialist visa. This does not apply to EU, EEA, or Swiss individuals who can work as an Au-Pair without a visa.

To apply for an Au-Pair Visa, you must be ages between 18 and 26, and you will need to have proof of healthcare insurance (this should be covered by your host family, but you will need to provide evidence of it), a contract with a host family, proof of basic German language skills, and, typically, a motivation letter as well.

You do not need to have proof of finances as most costs of living are largely covered by the host family, but you will need to prove you have enough money to get there and to pay for the visa.

You can find out more about this visa on our Visa for Au-Pair in Germany page.

Job Seeker Visa

Those seeking to move to Germany to work but have not yet found employment can apply for a Job Seeker Visa. Those who have not found employment after six months will need to return home. Those who do find work will then need to apply for a Working Visa.

The requirements for a Job Seeker Visa are quite strict and includes having a Bachelor Degree, five years work experience in your field, proof of funds to cover living costs, and either travel or healthcare insurance. Note that EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens do not need to apply for a Job Seeker visa to move to Germany to find work. You can find out more about this visa on our German Job Seeker Visa page.

Tourist Visa

Germany has an agreement with 62 countries, (including all EU states, the US, and Australia) which allows visitors from those states to come to Germany for up to 90 days without a visa. Those arriving from a country not on that list will need a tourist visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Working Visa

Those who have already found a job in Germany may need a Long Stay Working Visa. Individuals from the following countries do not need a visa to come and work in Germany (but may need to apply for a Residency Permit): EU, EEA, Switzerland, the US, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea.

Business Visa

Those who need to stay longer than 90 days in order to do business should apply for a Business Visa.

Guests Scientist Visa

Those taking up a role as a Guest Scientist or Researcher need to apply for a Guest Scientist Visa.

German Visa Requirements

Some requirements are specific to certain visas, many of which are included in the list of visa types above, but many requirements apply to all visa applications. This is likely to include the following:

  • Proof of Healthcare
  • Valid passport
  • Completed application form
  • Passport photos
  • Visa fee
  • Motivational letter (explaining your intentions whilst in Germany e.g. work, study)
  • Proof of either job offer or course acceptance (if applicable)
  • Proof of accommodation

How can I get a tourist visa for Germany?

Individuals from 62 counties, including EU & EEA countries, Switzerland, the US, and Australia, do not need a Tourist Visa for travelling to Germany for a period of up to three months. Those who do need a Tourist Visa for Germany should obtain one via the German consulate in their home country. Tourist Visas do not have the same requirements as the other main visas, but are as follows:

  • Proof of accommodation (e.g. hotel booking)
  • Travel insurance
  • Passport
  • Bank statement
  • Flight reservation
  • Passport photos
  • Completed application form

German Visa Application Process

The process for all German visa applications are similar, whether you’re applying for a Tourist Visa, a Student Visa, or an Au-Pair Visa. In all cases, you will need to make a visa appointment with the German consulate or embassy in your home country. You then need to fill out the form and complete all the necessary paperwork and bring this, as well as all other requested supporting documents, with you to the interview.

Although some documents differ for each visa, you will ALWAYS need proof of healthcare insurance, a completed form, passport photos, and a current, valid passport.

For more information on the visa application process for students, see our German Student Visa page.

For more information on the application process for language students, see our German Visa for Language Students page.

For more information on the visa application process for au-pairs, see our Visa for Au-Pairs in Germany page.

For more information on the application process for a Job Seeker Visa see our German Job Seeker Visa page.

Check out our Value Package

To make applying for a student visa easier, Expatrio can help you with the required paperwork for Health Insurance and a Blocked Account, which are needed as part of your visa application. With our Value Package it is easier than ever to apply!