All you need to know about German Visa
By Olushola Samuel
Germany attracts numerous visitors annually, with many individuals aspiring for long-term residency. However, a crucial prerequisite for entry is holding a valid visa.
Who Requires a Visa for Germany?
For those embarking on a tourism venture in Germany, a short-stay visa is unnecessary if the traveler hails from one of the 62 visa-exempt countries. The German Tourist visa permits a stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day span, enabling travel not only within Germany but also across the other 27 Schengen countries.
Types of German Visas
Given the diverse purposes for entering Germany, the German Immigration Authorities have categorized visas accordingly. Various types include:
1. Germany Airport Transit visa – for transit through a German airport.
2. Germany Schengen visa – for family visits, tourism, medical treatment, official, cultural, or sports-related events.
3. Germany Business visa – for attendance at meetings and other business-related activities.
4. Germany Student Visa – for prospective or admitted students in German universities. This is a long-term visa if you have been accepted to a German university. Ensure you register with the Alien Registration Office in the German city you’re residing in within two weeks of your arrival so you can obtain your Residence Permit.
5. Germany Language Course Visa – for students required to attend a language course before full university admission.
6. Germany Student Internship Visa – for participation in training or internships exceeding 90 days.
7. Germany Researcher visa – for international scholars participating in scientific events.
8. Germany Employment Visa – for individuals with a job offer in Germany.
9. Germany Job Seeker Visa – for those exploring job opportunities without a current offer. If you are interested in finding work in Germany, you may go to Germany on a job seeker visa. The Germany job seeker visa allows individuals to remain in Germany for a specific period of time and search for employment. You can stay up to 6 months in Germany.
10. Germany Freelancer Visa – for foreign freelancers working in Germany.
11. Germany Family Reunion Visa – for spouses and children joining family members settled in Germany.
12. Medical Treatment Visa – for individuals seeking medical treatment in Germany.
Staying beyond 90 Days
For stays surpassing 90 days, individuals from non-exempt countries must apply for a German long-stay visa. Exceptions include nationals from EU/EEA/EFTA countries, Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United States. Upon visa approval, obtaining a German residence permit upon arrival is mandatory, with various types based on the visa's purpose.
• Residence Permit for Students in Germany: Granted to individuals enrolled in a training program or university course in Germany, this permit is valid for the duration of their academic program.
• Residence Permit for Employment in Germany: This permit is issued to individuals who secure a job offer in Germany after actively searching for employment under a Job Seeker visa.
• Residence Permit for Family Reunion in Germany: Designed for family members of German residents, this permit facilitates family reunification by allowing them to reside in Germany.
• EU Blue Card in Germany: This residence permit is specifically for highly skilled workers aiming to work in their specialized field within Germany.
• EU Residence Permit: Issued to individuals wishing to reside in Germany from other EU countries, this permit caters to various groups seeking habitation in Germany.
• Humanitarian Residence Permit in Germany: Provided to those who have fled dire circumstances in their home country, this permit is a means of offering humanitarian support and shelter in Germany.
• Permanent Residence Permit: Issued to individuals intending to settle permanently in Germany, this permit provides long-term residency rights.
How to Apply for a Germany Visa?
The first thing you need to do when applying for a German visa is to locate the nearest German mission in your country, and then you can proceed with the following steps:
• Fill out the online visa application form. If you are applying from Nigeria, then Visit this application website
• Prepare the required documents.
• Set up an interview date at the embassy/consulate.
• Attend the visa interview.
• Submit your fingerprints.
• Pay the visa application fee.
• Go to Germany.
Please note that the application process for a German visa may be different depending on which country you apply from since each local German mission works differently.
Where Can I Apply for a Germany Visa?
For a short-stay Germany visa, you have to apply at a German mission in your home country or near you. However, if you are applying for a long-stay visa you have to apply at two different institutions:
~ A German mission. For your entry visa (national D visa), you still have to apply in your home country at a German embassy or consulate so you can enter the country.
~ Foreigner’s Office. When you enter Germany, you have to register at the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner’s Office) to get your residence permit.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Visa to Germany?
It takes up to 15 business days to process your Germany visa application. If you are applying for a long-term visa, the processing time may take several months.
How Much Does a Germany Visa Cost?
A Germany short-stay visa costs €80 for the main applicant. But the fees change based on what type of German visa you are applying for and how old you are. For example, if you have a child under 6, they don't have to pay anything, but children between ages 6 and 12, the cost is reduced to €40.
You are usually required to pay the fee after you complete your interview; sometimes, you can complete the visa payment when you fill out the online visa application form- it depends from country to country.
It’s important to remember that the Germany visa fee is non-refundable, even if your visa application is denied. Also, please keep in mind that most foreign German missions do not accept payments from digital wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay; you are usually required to pay cash or by credit card (it must be your own card).
How Long Can You Stay in Germany With a Visa?
The duration of your stay varies based on the type of visa you applied for:
Visa type Validity
• Germany Airport Transit Visa - 24 hours
• Germany Schengen (Tourist) Visa - 90 days in a 180 day period
• Germany Business Visa - 90 days in a 180 day period
• Germany Student Applicant Visa - 3 months (in case you haven’t received a formal admission yet)
• Germany Student Visa - More than 3 months (depends on your study program)
• Germany Job Seeker Visa - 6 months
• Germany Research and Guest Scientist Visa - 3 months up to 6 months (may last longer depending on the research)
• Germany Freelancer Entry Visa - 3 months
• Germany Freelancer Long-Stay Visa - 1 year to 3 years
• Germany Language Course Visa - 3 months
• Germany Temporary Work Permit 1 up to 3 years (depends on the contract)
• Germany Family Reunion Visa - 1 year (initially)
• Germany EU Blue Card - 4 years (with possible extension)
Please keep in mind that when you apply for a long-stay visa in Germany, your initial entry visa (D visa) is valid for three to six months. After you enter the country, you can get your temporary permit for one year and even up to three, depending on your visa type. Afterwards, you can explore options for a permanent residence visa.
Germany uses the 90/180 rule for short stays, so you need to calculate your stay to avoid ovestaying consequences.
Germany Visa Extension
You can extend your German visa if you have very compelling reasons that include the following:
• Force majeure. This can be any type of event that is out of your control, such as an earthquake, a storm, or for some reason, you cannot enter your country.
• Personal reasons. Personal reasons include urgent business, which occurred unexpectedly, or family-related issues.
• Humanitarian reasons. Examples of humanitarian reasons include sudden illness, either you or a close family member.
• Late entry. You entered Germany later than when your visa was issued, and you did not use the entire visa period.
How Can I Extend a Germany Visa?
To extend your stay in Germany, you have to apply for your visa extension at the Foreigner’s Office in Berlin, Keplerstr (Ausländerbehörde). For the application process, you need the following documents:
Your valid passport.
Your valid visa.
Germany visa extension form.
Proof of income.
Any other type of documents related to your visa type.
Please note that you should make an appointment by email with the Foreigner’s Office for your extension. If your request for an extension is successful, your visa will be extended on the same day.
The cost of Germany Visa Extension?
You have to pay €30 for your Germany visa extension if your extension was due to personal reasons or late entry. However, if you have humanitarian reasons or force majeure, you don’t need to pay a visa extension fee.
It’s important to remember that if you need a second extension, the fee is €60 for adults while €30 for minors.