Visa and Passport Requirements for Germany

Do You Need a Visa for Germany?

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Passport and Visa Requirements for Germany

EU and EEA Citizens: In general, you don't need a visa if you're a citizen of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA; EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland to visit, study or work in Germany.

US citizens: You do not need a visa to travel to Germany for vacation or a business for up to 90 days, only a valid US passport. Make sure that your passport does not expire for at least three months before the end of your visit in Germany.

If you are not an EU, EEA or US citizen: See this list of the Federal Foreign Office and check if you need to apply for a visa to travel to Germany.

Passport and Visa Requirements for Studying in Germany

You have to apply for a study visa before entering Germany. Tourist and language course visas cannot be converted into a student visa.

The "residence permit for purposes of study" depends on where you come from, how long you plan to stay and if you have received your notification of admission from a German university.

Student Applicant Visa (Visum zur Studienbewerbung)

If you haven't yet received notification of admission to a university, you must apply for a student applicant visa. This is a three-month visa (with the chance to extend up to a maximum of six months). If you are admitted to the university within this period, you may apply for a student visa.

Student visa (Visum zu Studienzwecken)

If you have received your notification of admission to university, you can apply for a student visa. Student visas are usually valid for three months. Within these three months, you will have to apply for an extended residence permit at the Alien Registration Office in your German university town.

Requirements vary, but you will need:

  • Valid passport
  • Confirmation of application from the university (applicant visa) or the notice of admission from the university (student visa)
  • Proof of financial resources (Expect to provide proof of around 7,908 euros of income or support per month or 659 euros per month. Note that evidence of higher amounts may be required.)
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Biometric passport photos 
  • Fee

The Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) is an excellent resource for students wishing to study in Germany.

Passport and Visa Requirements for Working in Germany

If you're a national from a country in the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you are free to work in Germany without restriction. If you are from outside of these zones, you will need a residence permit.

Generally, you will need to have a vocational qualification and a firm job offer in Germany. English language can be an asset, but there are many foreigners here with that skill set. A residence permit often limits you to a job a German can't do.

The permit is usually granted for one year and can be extended. After five years, you can apply for a settlement permit.

Requirements:

  • Application
  • Valid passport
  • Vocational qualification (college degree preferred)
  • Firm offer of a job in Germany
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Confirmation of registration from the Residents’ Registration Office (Anmeldung)
  • Biometric passport photos 
  • Fee

Be­com­ing a Ger­man cit­i­zen by Nat­u­ral­iza­tion

To be eligible for naturalization, a person has to have lived legally in Germany for at least eight years. Foreigners who have successfully completed an integration course are eligible for naturalization after seven years. Spouses or registered same-sex partners of German citizens are eligible for naturalization after three years of legal residence in Germany.

Requirements:

  • Unrestricted right of residence at the time of being naturalized
  • Pass naturalization test (knowledge of the legal and social system, as well as living conditions in Germany)
  • Residence in Germany for eight years 
  • Proof of income
  • Adequate German-language skills (at least B1)
  • No criminal convictions 
  • Willing to commit to free democratic constitutional order of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany

Visa Fees for Germany

The standard visa fee is 60 euros, although there are exceptions and waivers. The fee for naturalization is 255 euros.

This guide offers an overview, but for current information particular to your situation contact the German embassy in your home country.