Tourist/Visitor Visa Germany

Germany is the sixth most visited country in Europe, with some 28.46 million visitors every year. When a tourist wants to visit Germany but is not a citizen of an EU or EEA member state, they must apply for a Schengen visa to permit their stay.

Looking to vacation in Germany? Total Law can help you through the application, and, if needed, the appeal process. Call our specialist immigration legal team on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to talk through your circumstances and start your journey to the hub of Europe.

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    What is Tourist/Visitor Visa Germany?

    Citizens of ‘third countries’; that is those not the EU or EEA or a country with a visa waiver; need to apply for a tourist visa to visit Germany on holiday. This allows the holder entry to Germany for a period of up to 90 days, providing they’re not working in the country while there.

    Countries who have a waiver in place with Germany and so offer visa-free entry for their citizens include (but are not limited to) the following:

    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Israel
    • New Zealand
    • South Korea
    • USA.
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    What is the Schengen Area?

    As a Schengen State (“Schengen staaten”), the German tourist visa is actually a Schengen Visa.

    The Schengen area is a collective of countries who have negotiated visa-free travel amongst each other’s territories with three additional states included on a technicality as they offer visa-free travel to their neighbours, who are within the Schengen area.

    These countries and territories are:

    Austria Belgium Croatia
    Czechia Denmark Estonia
    Finland France Germany
    Greece Hungary Iceland
    Italy Latvia Liechtenstein
    Lithuania Luxembourg Malta
    Monaco Netherlands Norway
    Poland Portugal San Marino
    Slovakia Slovenia Spain
    Sweden Switzerland Vatican City

    Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania all have plans in place to join in the future but are currently not member states as of December 2023.

    Who Needs a Tourist/Visitor Visa for Germany?

    Anyone who wants to travel to Germany for recreational and leisure purposes who is not a citizen of an EU, EEA, Schengen or waived country must apply for a Schengen visa to enter the country.

    If you fit this criteria but are looking to travel to Germany for recreational purposes lasting longer than 90 days, or for more than 90 days in a 180-day period, you will need to apply for a long-term visa rather than a short-stay Schengen visa.

    Woman with small backpack, taking pictures on a phone

    Eligibility Requirements for Germany Tourist/Visitor Visa

    Those eligible to apply for and successfully receive a German tourist visa must meet the following criteria:

    • The purpose for the leisure trip to Germany must be plausible and believed to be genuine by German immigration authorities
    • The applicant must be able to finance their living and travel expenses while in Germany without any reliance on the state
    • The applicant must hold a valid travel insurance policy with a cover limit of at least €30,000 valid in all Schengen states
    • The applicant must be able to demonstrate a travel reservation to prove that they will leave the Schengen zone before the expiry date of the visa

    Medical Health Insurance for Tourist/Visitor Visa

    As a Schengen visa is valid for travel across all Schengen zone member states, the usual health insurance that an applicant must hold must be too. Most mainstream travel insurance service provider companies will offer a specific Schengen policy.

    All parties named in visa applications must be covered by such insurance, with the minimum cover level of €30,000 being a ‘per person’ requirement. This is to negate any requirement on the German state healthcare system or any German medical service provider being utilised in case of emergencies.

    Do you need help applying for a tourist visa to Germany? Speak with our immigration team today. Contact Us

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      Which documents are required for Tourist/Visitor Visa applications?

      The following supporting documents are required for submission as part of the visa application process:

      • A printed and signed visa application form, completed in either German or English
      • Three identical passport photos, taken recently of the applicant
      • A valid passport, issued no longer than 10 years ago and with at least one blank page
      • Proof of valid travel insurance covering the Schengen area
      • Personal bank statements from the last three months OR if the applicant is being financially sponsored for their stay, a declaration of commitment from the sponsoring body
      • Proof of accommodation for the proposed duration of the stay in Germany (this is usually a hotel reservation but can also be an invitation letter from an individual)
      • Proof of return flight reservations within the visa validity period
      • A clearance certificate from the applicant’s place of work or educational establishment granting them leave for the proposed visa period
      • Proof of residence (usually a driving license or utility bill to the applicant’s home address)
      • A personal cover letter detailing the reason for travel
      • (For minors) A consent letter signed by any parent not travelling with the child
      • (For minors) Copies of the child’s parent’s passport details page

      During the processing period, German authorities maintain the right to request further documents. When they do so, the visa application process is considered paused until such time that these documents are received.

      All documents provided must be genuine and presented in either German or English. Where not in either of these languages, a translation into German should be provided, completed by a certified translator.

      Fees for Tourist/Visitor Visa Germany

      There is a €80 visa application fee for tourist visas, and €40 for minors. This is a purely administrative fee to cover the costs of application processing and is non-refundable.

      Additional costs are usually incurred as an indirect result of visa application. This includes fees for printing and copying as well as translation costs – which often add up to considerably more than the visa fee itself.

      Given the associated costs with visa applications, it’s best to maximise the chances of success. Total Law can offer the specialist guidance to see your application through. Call us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to talk through your circumstances.

      Processing Time for Tourist/Visitor Visa Germany

      Once a Schengen visa application has been formally applied for at a German Embassy or Consulate, the processing time begins.

      For a Schengen visa, it should take no longer than 15 calendar days for an applicant to receive a decision: however, this period may be extended if further information is requested by the German authorities.

      An application may be filed no earlier than six months before the start of the intended visa ‘valid from’ date and it’s advised that an application is made no later than one month before.

      For tailored service in the application of a German tourist visa, reach out to our legal experts. Contact Us

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        German Tourist Visa application process

        You can apply for a tourist visa for Germany and other Schengen states by following a basic process:

        • Apply online. All German visa applications can be made online through a German government website. The application form can be filed virtually before being printed (a copy of this will be required later). For some localities, a visa interview can be booked online at this point. For others, you will need to phone to arrange.
        • Compile supporting documents. All the supporting documentation must be available ahead of a visa interview at an Embassy or Consulate. All documents must be translated into German if not already in German or English.
        • Attend visa interview and pay visa application fee. The visa interview will take place in-person at a German Embassy or Consulate. This usually lasts around an hour, and the applicant will be expected to talk through the purpose for their stay and all arrangements made as well as present a printed copy of their application form and all relevant supporting documents. At this point, the visa fee should be paid.
        • Await processing. The applicant leaves the visa interview and waits for the application to be processed; usually something that takes up to 15 days. The German authorities reserve the right to request further information from the applicant during this period.
        • Receive visa decision. The decision as to whether to grant a tourist visa is usually received by post, with the visa enclosed if it is successful. If not, details on any appeal process will be given.
        • Head on holiday to Germany. As soon as the visa is valid, the visa holder may travel to Germany and begin their trip.

        If you need advice on preparing the information required for a visa interview or are unsure of any aspect of the application process, Total Law can help. Our team are contactable on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to discuss.

        Lady tourist wearing hat, with a digital camera

        Validity of a Tourist Visa

        A German tourist visa is only valid for a maximum period of 90 days. In very exceptional cases, it may be possible to apply for an extension. This is exceedingly rare and can only be granted by the foreigners authority in Germany that covers the locality of the visa holder’s accommodation.

        While there is no guarantee that your application will be accepted, in extenuating circumstances requiring an urgent extension, it is always recommended that the visa holder seek legal advice. Total Law can advise: call us on +44 (0)333 305 9375.

        For a hassle-free visa application process, enlist us today. Contact Us

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          How Can Total Law Help?

          Total Law are a leading immigration firm who offer specialist advice on visas and the legal complexities around them to people the world over. We offer free, no-obligation chats by phone on +44 (0)333 305 9375 for anyone at any stage of the visa application process.

          The Total Law team understand how difficult it is to navigate immigration law and so we take a jargon-free approach with no complications or hidden fees for our customers. No matter where you’re from, what passport you hold or what visa type you’re applying for, we are open and ready to help. Get in touch online today, and take the stress out the whole process.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    Yes. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel around all eligible states, without the need to file any other visa application. However, arrival and departure travel must occur from Germany.

                    On average it takes up to 15 days for a visa application to be processed, but this is subject to the application itself and the demands on the processing service provider at any one time.

                    Yes. The application fee for a minor is €40.

                    Both Embassies and Consulates are able to process visa applications for Germany. Germany has one of the world’s largest overseas diplomatic missions with a presence in most countries, but where there isn’t one, applicants are advised to call their nearest and ask for advice.

                    Tourist visas are no more immune from rejected applications than any other visa type, but the most common reason for decline is incorrect or insufficient information provided on the application form. It is imperative, therefore, that applicants understand the application process and what to supply before they embark upon it.