Expats, Moving to Germany

German Visa Types – Check your Eligibility

German visa

Are you considering moving to Germany? Your complete guide to 3 different types of German visas, requirements and documents, the Brexit effect and much more.

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A German visa is a document that allows people outside Germany to legally enter and stay in the country. Whether you need a German visa or not will depend upon your nationality and the duration of your stay. For instance, European Union nationals and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Sweden do not require any visa to enter Germany regardless of the duration of their stay. On the other hand, third-country nationals and other non-exempted countries need to apply for visa for Germany.

Also read: Before Moving to Germany, What you need to know — The ultimate Guide.

Requirements to Enter Germany

Regardless of your country, you need to carry certain documents while entering Germany, including: 

  • A letter comprehensibly explaining the purpose of your trip.
  • A passport that should be valid for at least 6 months.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to finance living and travel costs.
  • Return flight or train ticket.
  • A valid travel health insurance.

German Visa Types

There are three different kinds of visas in Germany:

1. Schengen Visa 

If you are outside the Schengen area and want to enter Germany for a business trip, holidays, or visit relatives, then you need to apply for a short-stay or Schengen visa. It is also called a category C visa and is valid for up to 90 days within 180 days in Germany. Schengen visa has three different categories: single entry, double entry, and multiple entries. The cost of this visa type is Euros 60. 

If you visit Germany on a multiple-entry Schengen visa, you may have to calculate the number of days you’ve spent in the country to avoid going beyond the 90-day limit. Use this Schengen calculator to calculate the days. 

2. Airport Transit Visa

Airport transit is a category A visa and can be applied if you have a layover at a German airport, and your final destination is outside the Schengen area. It doesn’t permit you to leave the airport. The cost of a transit visa is Euros 60. Check if you require an airport transit visa. 

3. National Visa 

For a duration longer than 90 days, you can apply for a Category D visa, also known as a national visa. It allows you to enter the country as a potential resident, implying that your visa needs to be converted into a residence permit within three months of your arrival.

Read how to register your address in Germany

You can get a national visa for the following purposes: 

  • To join a spouse, partner, or family member in Germany.
  • To take up a full-time, freelancer job
  • For conducting academic or scientific research.
  • To seek a job, attend training, or study in Germany.
  • For working as an au pair.
  • To start a business
  • To seek refuge or asylum.

The cost of a national visa is Euros 75.

Documents Required For German Visa Application

  • Valid passport.
  • Fully completed and signed visa application form.
  • Latest passport photos (minimum of two).
  • Valid travel medical insurance, with a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros. 
    Proof of accommodation.
  • Flight tickets.
  • Proof of financial independence, such as bank statements or pay slips.

The Brexit Effect

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020, and from 1 February 2020 to 31 December 2020, there is a transition period to allow the EU and the UK governments to negotiate future arrangements. During the transition period, British citizens and holders of British Residence Cards for EU/EEA family members do not require visas for traveling to Germany. After the end of the transition period, British citizens and their non-EU family members have to apply for a German visa, and will not be exempted from the immigration rules applied to third-country nationals.

German visa after Brexit
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German Visa in the Time of Coronavirus

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people were forced to stay in Germany even after their visas expired. Due to the forced lockdown, the German authority allowed people to stay in the country and were asked to submit an application to the Foreigners Authority responsible for their country to get more information about the status of their visas.

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