National Visa Germany (Long Term)

A National visa is a critical piece of documentation that will enable you to become a resident in Germany and will mean you can freely travel within the Schengen area. However, you will need to transform it into a residence permit to be able to remain in Germany for longer than 90 days.

To learn more about how to apply for a National visa in Germany and get help with your application, please contact Total Law at (+44)333 305 9375 or visit us online to find out about the services we offer.

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    What is a National (Long Stay) Visa in Germany?

    A National (Long Stay) visa opens options for you to work, study, or join a family member in Germany as a resident, giving you far more options for starting a new life in the country than the short-term Schengen visa. The National visa also gives you full travel rights amongst the Schengen area member states.

    However, like the Schengen visa, this visa is only valid for 90 days in the Schengen area within a 180-day period of validity. To remain in Germany, you will need a residence permit.

    To find out more about the different types of Germany visas and the application process, please read this article.

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    Types of National Visa


    There are multiple types of National visas because there are multiple different pathways to becoming a resident in Germany. You will need to make sure that you apply for the right one, depending on your circumstances.

    The section below breaks down each type of National visa and helps you to understand the requirements for each one.

    EU Blue Card

    One of the most sought-after and hardest-to-obtain types of visas is the EU Blue Card. This scheme is aimed at academic professionals who have been offered a position in Germany earning a minimum of 58,400 euros from their academic work to apply. However, academics in the following fields have to earn a lower threshold of 45,552 euros per year:

    • Mathematics.
    • IT.
    • Natural sciences.
    • Technology.
    • Medicine.

    The main further requirement for a Blue Card is that your academic qualifications must be of equivalent quality to those obtained in Germany, and the institutions you studied at must be classified as H+. If this is not the case, you will need to have the qualifications assessed by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB).

    Employment Visa (Qualified Professionals)

    Germany allows qualified professionals to access a National visa to work in the country. This National visa option has a range of requirements, including the following:

    • You are qualified for employment and have the necessary licenses recognised in Germany.
    • You have a specific job offer that you are qualified for.

    The visa also has further requirements if you are over 45 years old and are working in Germany for the first time.

    • You earn at least 48,180 euros (at the time of writing in November 2023).
    • You can prove you have adequate pension provisions to support yourself after you retire.

    Study Visa

    A Study visa is a type of National visa that will give you the ability to study in Germany. This can be for a preparatory college or language school in advance of your studies, a language course, or a university. The visa can also be used for a year abroad from your domestic university.

    To be eligible, you generally need to have been offered a place on a course already. However, you can also apply for a study applicant visa, limited to nine months, if you are applying to German universities.

    You will also usually be allowed to work part-time while holding a Study visa and residence permit. There is a limit of 240 half-days or 120 half-days each year so that you can keep up with your academic commitments.

    Once you have graduated, you will be eligible for an 18-month residence permit to help you find work in Germany.

    Au Pair Visa

    An Au Pair visa allows you to stay with a host family in Germany for more than six months but less than 12 months. It is intended to give young people the chance to travel in Germany to improve their language skills and broaden their horizons.

    There are a range of requirements for this type of visa, including the following:

    • You haven’t had an au pair stay before.
    • German is the host family’s native tongue.
    • The host family doesn’t originate from the same country as you.
    • Your German language skills are A1 standard or better as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR).
    • You are older than 18 but younger than 26.

    Family Reunion Visa

    The Family Reunion visa is your chance to join your spouse, fiancé, or child in Germany.

    The primary requirement is that you will need to prove your relationship. You will need to provide the original version of a marriage certificate, birth certificate, or proof that you have filed a notice of intended marriage at a German Registrar’s Office.

    The other requirement is that you will need to have completed a German language course classified as A1 standard or above according to the CEFR.

    Applying for a National Visa for Germany


    Regardless of the type of National visa you are applying for, you will need to follow the same standard procedure. This process is detailed below:

    1. Complete your application form online, print it out, and sign it.
    2. Collect supporting documents. Standard documentation is covered in the section below.
    3. Submit your application to a German embassy or an embassy in your neighbouring country if your home country doesn’t have one by attending an appointment in person.

    When submitting your application in person, you will need to hand in your documents, pay the application fee, answer any questions about your application, and agree to have biometric information such as your fingerprints taken.

    Please note that at the interview, your passport will be returned to you, but not your supporting documents. These will be returned after your application has been processed.


    When you make your application, you will need to supply a range of documentation to substantiate your suitability for the visa. Each type of visa will have slightly different documentation requirements, but the standard documents required include the following:

    • A completed and signed application form.
    • A signed declaration of accuracy of information.
    • A valid passport. It must also have two blank pages for the visa.
    • Two passport-style photographs in line with photo guidelines.
    • Proof of finances or a Declaration of Commitment for a National Visa.
    • Proof of statutory or private health insurance for your entire stay in Germany.

    Make sure that all documentation you provide is valid and corroborates with your other documentation. If there are discrepancies, you may have your application refused.

    Furthermore, this list of documentation is not exhaustive. You may be asked to provide further documents depending on the visa you are applying for and your circumstances.

    Fees and Processing Times for a National Visa

    Having submitted your application it will be processed by the embassy you attended in person. Once it has been approved, it will then be sent to the Aliens’ Authority in the area you will be living in, who will assess if they are happy welcoming you into their community.

    This two-stage process means it takes longer for this visa to be processed than a standard German visa. You will usually have to wait up to three months for an answer. You might also be asked by the local Alien’s Authority to submit further documentation or provide additional information, which will further extend the amount of time that you will need to wait.

    At the time of writing in November 2023, the application fee was £75 for adults and £37.50 for those who are 17 or below. Meanwhile, a reduced application fee applies for nations included in European Union visa facilitation agreements. This includes the following:

    • Albania.
    • Armenia.
    • Azerbaijan.
    • Belarus.
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    • Cape Verde.
    • North Macedonia.
    • Georgia.
    • Moldova.
    • Montenegro.
    • Serbia.
    • Ukraine.
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      Transforming your National Visa Into a Residence Permit


      A National (Long Stay) visa is valid for up to 90 days and isn’t sufficient to start living in the country. Instead, you need to obtain a German residence permit, which gives you the right to remain in the country for substantially longer. While the residence permit was attached to a passport page, it is now a plastic card with your data attached that you should keep on your person.

      To apply for a residence permit you must fulfil the following requirements:

      • You have a valid passport.
      • You have no criminal record.
      • You have German language proficiency to a B1 level.
      • You are financially stable to support yourself and any dependents.
      • You have proof of your purpose of being in Germany, such as a letter from your employer if you will be working.

      Having ensured that you fit the requirements, you will be ready to start the application process. Please note that German immigration authorities are often overloaded, so you should start your application as soon as possible so your visa doesn’t run out before your application is processed. You must follow the steps listed below:

      1. Register your German address with the authorities.
      2. Open a German bank account and transfer enough money into it to sustain yourself and your family.
      3. Arrange health insurance if you haven’t already.
      4. Pick up an application form from your local immigration office and fill it in.
      5. Submit your application and attend an appointment at the immigration office. Your interview should last around 10 minutes.

      Make sure to bring all your documents to the appointment. If you have any missing documents, you will have to attend another appointment, which will delay your application. Once your application is completed, you will usually have to wait two to three weeks for an answer.

      Types of Residence Permit

      To start with, National visa holders apply for a temporary residence permit, which gives you the right to remain in Germany for a year. So long as your circumstances don’t change, you can extend it at the end of the year. Meanwhile, if your circumstances do change, you have to apply for a fresh residence permit.

      Meanwhile, a permanent residence permit, sometimes called a settlement permit, will allow you to remain in Germany indefinitely. Your children and spouse can also join you in the country. Due to the increased privileges associated with a permanent permit, you will need to fulfil additional requirements as listed below:

      • You have held a temporary residence permit for multiple years or have an EU Blue Card.
      • You have worked consistently for five years in a Federal Employment Agency-approved job.
      • You have paid all required taxes during this time.

      How Can Total Law Help?

      Getting hold of a National (Long Stay) visa is the critical first step to starting a new life in Germany, followed by obtaining a residence permit. There are multiple types of long-stay visas in Germany, and each has a slightly different application process.

      Getting help from an immigration lawyer and adviser is the best way to make sure that your application has the highest chance of success. The expert team at Total Law has years of experience helping applicants get German visas and can help you to pull together your documents and guide you through the interview process.

      To find out more about how Total Law can help, please visit us online or call our team at (+44)333 305 9375.

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                National visa and residence permit holders will be delighted to learn that these documents can be a pathway to citizenship by naturalisation. The following criteria apply to be considered for German citizenship.

                • You have lived in Germany with a valid residence permit for eight years or seven years if you attend an integration course.
                • You have passed a citizenship test.
                • You are prepared to renounce your previous citizenship.
                • You have been law-abiding while in Germany.
                • You will be able to continue financially supporting yourself and your family without state assistance.

                Please note that you will not be required to give up your previous citizenship if that is in a country where it is impossible to do so. This applies if your country does not allow it and sometimes if the country is at war.

                The National visa is not the only cost you will need to account for when you come to Germany. You will also need to pay for your Permanent Residence permit. The exact fee depends on your circumstances, with the most common instances including the following:

                • Skilled workers: 113 euros.
                • Freelancers and self-employed workers: 124 euros.
                • Highly qualified professionals: 147 euros.
                • Turkish citizens: 28.80 euros.

                No, this documentation only gives you the right to work in Germany, although you will be free to visit other Schengen area member states. Instead, you will need to get the relevant visas or permits to work and live in a different country.