Germany Visa from UK

As UK citizens are part of the Schengen zone, you will not need a visa to travel to Germany for less than 90 days; however, for more than 90 days and in certain circumstances, you must have a residence permit or visa to visit Germany. Nationals from other countries living and travelling from the UK to Germany may need to apply for a visa to enter or travel through the country.

The immigration laws in Germany around residence permits and visas are very complex and often dependent on an individual’s situation. Instructing an immigration expert, like Total Law, can ensure you apply for the correct visa, provide the required documents, and maximise your chances of a successful outcome. Call us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online today.

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    Overview of a Germany Visa From the UK

    When travelling from the UK to or through Germany, you may need to have a visa to legally enter the country. The type of visa you require depends on if you are a British citizen, what country you are a national or citizen of, which countries you hold visas or residence permits for, and how long you are planning to stay in Germany.

    When applying for your visa, you will have to attend a local German visa application centre to provide your documents and sometimes have an interview with a German Embassy official; the processing time can also vary depending on your circumstances and whether you need a work permit.

    The legal requirements around visas and permits in Germany are complicated and completing your application correctly is an essential part of receiving a successful visa decision.

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    Do I Need a Visa for Germany From UK?

    UK citizens don’t need a visa to enter Germany and can stay visa-free for 90 days within a 180 day period; if you are planning to stay longer than 90 days, you will have to be approved for a residence permit or a visa.

    As Germany is a member state of the Schengen Area, it allows people from the 62 countries that are part of the visa waiver programme to enter Germany without a visa for the same 90 days within a 180 day period. However, if you are from one of these countries and have been in the UK for at least three months, you will need a Germany Schengen visa.

    You must apply for a visa if you are only visiting Germany in the Schengen Area or if you will spend most of your trip in Germany.
    You will also need a visa if you have previously been refused entry into the Schengen Zone or are a non-UK citizen that is a permanent UK resident who needs a visa to enter the Schengen Area.

    Starting from 2025, the European Union is launching ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), which is a new system for visa-exempt travellers travelling to certain European countries. From May 2025, if you are visa-exempt, you will have to apply for ETIAS before you can enter Germany.

    What Types of Visa Are Available for Germany?

    There are several types of German visa available depending on why you are travelling to Germany. These are:

    Each visa has different requirements, restrictions and eligibility criteria.

    Short-Stay Schengen Visa (C Visa)

    Schengen visas are short-stay visas allowing you to travel to the Schengen member states for up to 90 days within a 180 day period. British citizens don’t need a visa to enter Germany or other Schengen states if they are staying for less than 90 days.

    If you are travelling to Germany from the UK but are not a British citizen, you will need to apply for a visa and meet the following German Schengen visa requirements:

    • You have a plausible reason for your trip to Germany
    • You must be able to pay for yourself during your stay and have full travel health insurance for the entire Schengen Area
    • You are leaving the Schengen member states before your visa expires

    This short-term Schengen visa applies if you are travelling:

    • As a tourist
    • To visit a family member or friends
    • To attend business meetings, or cultural or sports events
    • To attend short-term studies or training

    Economic Activity

    While staying in Germany with a short-term Schengen visa, you are not allowed to pursue any ‘economic activity’ unless explicitly authorised by your visa or residence permit. For an economic activity, you may need to apply for a work visa.

    Some business activities, such as standard business travel or academic activities, do not need a visa and are not classed as economic activity.

    For tailored assistance with obtaining a visa for Germany, speak with our immigration lawyers today. Contact Us

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      Vehicles on road near buildings in Germany

      Long-Stay National Visa (D Visa)

      For stays longer than 90 days, you can apply for a national D visa to receive a residence permit.

      British citizens must register for a residence permit at the local immigration office within two weeks after arriving in Germany without travelling with a visa, and apply for a residence permit within the expiry date of their 90-day stay in Germany.

      If you are travelling to Germany from the UK but are a citizen of another country, the laws, visa requirements, and what you are allowed to do in Germany vary depending on your nationality. For example, if you are from Brazil and are intending to work, you will need a separate visa and permit.

      Like with the short-term visa, you will not be able to work in Germany unless explicitly authorised by your residence permit.

      Airport Transit Visa (A Visa)

      British citizens and other eligible people do not need a visa to transit through Schengen member states and therefore do not need a visa to transit through Germany.

      If you are not part of a group that does not need a visa to enter Germany, you are likely not going to need an Airport Transit visa if you are not leaving the airport and your destination is not within the Schengen Area. Only Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and Düsseldorf have transit zones that allow you to change flights without leaving the airport, though only at certain times or with certain conditions. It is important that you check before you fly to make sure you have any documentation in place.

      However, if you have to leave the airport, for example, to change terminals or airports, you may need a short-term C visa.

      Any nationals from countries that don’t have transit privileges travelling from the UK will have to apply for an Airport Transit A visa, even if they are staying in the airport. This doesn’t apply to people from these countries who have valid visas and a residence permit issued by EU countries, a national residence permit issued by Andorra, Japan, Canada, San Marino, or the U.S., or a valid visa issued by an EEA country, Japan, Canada, or the U.S.

      Now that the UK has withdrawn from the EU, nationals who don’t have transit privileges that hold a visa or residence permit issued by the UK are not exempt from transit requirements.

      If you have any questions around whether you need to apply for an Airport Transit visa, contact Total Law today for advice on your personal circumstances. Contact us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or online.

      How Do I Apply for a Visa From the UK?

      In the UK, the German Embassy has authorised a private company called TLScontact to support them with processing German visa applications from the UK. You can only apply for a German Schengen visa through TLScontact.

      There are a few German embassies across the UK. The Embassy in London serves individuals in England, Northern Ireland and Wales; there are also embassies in Edinburgh and Manchester. Some residents of northern England counties are served by the Edinburgh embassy, for example, North Yorkshire.

      Before you apply for a German visa, first, you must decide which of the Schengen visas will cover the reason for your travel to Germany. Each visa has different eligibility criteria and will grant different permissions once you are in the country.

      Next, you must book an appointment online at a TLScontact Visa Application Centre in your local area in the UK. When you attend your appointment, you submit your visa application and required documents, and the staff will take your biometric information and a photograph. You may have a visa interview so the immigration officer can ask further questions about your trip to Germany.

      Our specialist lawyers have the expertise to align your visa application with the best possible chance of success. Contact Us

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        What Documents Are Required for a Germany Visa?

        The German authorities request many documents to be submitted alongside your visa application; it is important that you prepare these in advance of your visa application, otherwise, they may not process your visa application. You must provide:

        • A completed and signed paper copy of a visa application form; this can be downloaded from the German Embassy website.
        • A signed declaration of accuracy of information to confirm that everything you have provided is correct.
        • Your actual passport (not a copy), which must be valid for three months after you leave Germany, contains two blank pages, and be less than 10 years old.
        • Two passport photographs from within the last six months.
        • Proof of residency in the UK, for example, a utility bill. You will need to provide the original and one copy.
        • Proof of a valid residence permit. You will need to provide the original and one copy.
        • Proof of valid Schengen travel health insurance that covers the Schengen Area, and a minimum medical cover of €30,000, including medical emergencies.
        • Proof of accommodation for the duration of your stay in Germany, for example, a hotel reservation, rental agreement, or an invitation letter if you are staying with someone.
        • A travel itinerary for your entry to and stay in Germany, including evidence of your return flight ticket.
        • Evidence of sufficient financial means to cover your trip to Germany. This must be a recent bank statement, including your name and address, from within the previous three months that shows you have a minimum of €45 per day for the duration of your stay in Germany.
        • An invitation letter from a family member or friend, if you are staying with someone, stating their relationship to you, your reason for visiting, and that they are sponsoring you (if applicable).
        • Documents for any minors, including a signed application form from both parents, proof of custody if one parent has custody, original passports and a copy from each parent, the child’s birth certificate, and a notarised letter of travel consent from both parents if they cannot visit the embassy or visa application centre.
        • Evidence of your employment status; for example, a work contract if you are employed, a business licence if you are self-employed, proof of student status if you are a student, or proof of pension if you are retired.
        • If you are being sponsored, you must provide proof of your relationship with your sponsor, a copy of their passport, their recent bank statements, and proof of employment if they are employed.

        Depending on your circumstances or which visa you are applying for, the embassy or visa application centre may ask for additional documents to support your visa application.

        If you are unsure, you can speak to the visa application centre to confirm what documents are required or speak to an immigration expert at Total Law for help collecting all the documents required. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online.

        What Is the Processing Time?

        Usually, it can take up to 15 days to process your visa application; however, if any part of your application form needs further examination or if your case is particularly complex, it may take longer. It is advised that you submit your application as early as possible, and you can apply up to six months before your trip. You will not receive any status updates until you are notified of a decision.

        If you would like a short-term C visa to cover economic activity, your visa application may need to be approved by additional German authorities, which may delay your decision.

        If you are planning to work under a long-term national D visa, you could be waiting between two weeks and six months, depending on whether you are self-employed or not.

        How Much Do German Schengen Visas Cost?

        A German visa application is a non-refundable fee of €80 for adults and €40 for minors between 6 to 12 years old, plus £26 for the TLSContact Visa Application Centre fee. All fees will be paid in GBP.

        The visa fee for Gambian nationals is €120, though fees for children under 12 years old are the same.

        You will pay for the visa fees to the German Missions when you make your application using a credit or debit card. You will need to use your actual card when you pay, instead of payment options like Apple or Google Pay, and the named cardholder must be present.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        The laws around what visas and permits are required to travel to, transit through, or stay in Germany are very complicated and vary depending on your citizenship, length of stay, and intentions while in Germany. A German visa application also requires many documents to evidence your personal circumstances, and without all of these, your visa application may be negatively impacted or delayed.

        Speaking to an immigration expert can increase your chances of receiving a positive decision by ensuring you correctly complete your application form and have all your required documents ready for your interview at the visa application centre. Total Law is a full-service immigration law firm that can support you with any aspect of your visa application, from answering queries to completing your visa application on your behalf.

        For bespoke advice on which German Schengen visa is the correct one for you and how we can help you with your Germany visa application, call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  No, UK residents cannot use their UK residence permit to enter the European Union, as it is not a travel document but only proof of immigration status in the UK; though you will need it to re-enter the UK.

                  Generally, you can cross any Schengen border with a visa issued by any Schengen country; however, a short-term Schengen visa does not automatically allow you to enter the Schengen Area. When crossing a border, you may also have to show additional documents on top of your visa, for example, evidence of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay and your return trip.

                  If you want to extend your travel document, you must provide evidence (such as ‘force majeure’, humanitarian reasons, or serious personal reasons) that you can’t leave the member states before your visa expires. Generally, you can only extend your visa if you have stayed less than 90 days in the last 180 days and before the expiry date on your visa.

                  If your visa application for a Schengen visa has been rejected, you can appeal against this decision. Your refusal notification will include reasons why you were rejected and will contain further information on how to make an appeal.

                  You are able to re-apply if your application has been refused previously, but it is recommended that you make a note of why you were refused and try to amend your application to rectify the issues that caused the refusal.