When Do I Need a Visa to Go to Germany?
UK citizens don’t need a visa or resident permit to travel for leisure, to visit friends or family, or even for certain professional activities like research or talking at a trade fair so long as your trip is 90 days or less within a 180-day period. You also won’t usually need a visa to enter the Federal Republic of Germany for work, study or relocation purposes, either, as you will start that immigration process after entering the country at one of the local immigration offices, otherwise known as Ausländerbehörde. The documents required for the permit are the same as a visa.
Instances Where You Will Need a Visa
You will need a German or Schengen visa to enter the country in these instances:
- You are a UK resident, not a citizen, and your home country does not have a visa-free travel agreement with Germany
- Were denied entry into the Schengen area for any reason
- You have stayed in the EU for more than 90 days in a 180-day period
- Want to start work or study immediately upon landing in Germany
If you need a visa, you will typically need a long-stay visa. This visa will expire shortly after you land, but you will use all the same documents to secure your resident permit. If you have free entry into Germany, then you will need to apply for a residence permit at the local immigration office or Ausländerbehörde within the first 90 days of your stay. You cannot work until you receive that permit.
What is the Schengen Visa?
Short-stay Schengen visas allow entry into any Schengen country, including Germany. UK citizens do not typically need a Schengen visa to visit Germany or enter the country before starting their immigration service. If you need one of the short-stay Schengen visas to enter, you will need to fill out the form and bring the relevant supporting documents to the German Mission, German Embassy, or German consulate near you.
How Has Brexit Changed the Visa Application Process?
In the past, UK citizens could move to Germany and work without a visa as part of the EU’s Freedom of Movement. After Brexit, you can still travel to Germany without a visa, but you will need to apply for your residence permit to remain.
Instances Where You Won’t Need a Visa
You will not need a German visa or residence permit if you hold a passport from another EU, EEA or Schengen country. As per the Schengen agreement, you, as an EU citizen, can move and work throughout the Schengen area. You will need to register your move at the local office.
German Visas for UK Citizens
There are many different visas available. If you are still trying to decide which German visa or residence permit best applies to your situation, contact our helpful team by calling +44 (0)333 305 9375. We will give you step-by-step instructions, bespoke advice, and an updated list of all the required documents to speed up the immigration process.
Visa Document Requirements for Underage Children
You’ll need a few more documents if you are applying for a visa on behalf of a minor. These documents include:
- Original birth certificate (officially translated to English or German, if applicable)
- Application form that both parents sign
- Consent of both parents if travelling alone
- Consent of one parent if travelling with the parent
- Custody court order, if applicable
- Certified copies of both parent’s ID or passport
VIDEX Application Form
VIDEX is the Germany visa application form that you can complete online. One form must be completed per applicant, including children. You will need to print it out for your visa appointment and sign it.
Passport and Identification
You must have a valid passport to apply for a visa or residence permit. A valid passport:
- Is valid for at least six months
- Has been issued within the last 10 years
- Has two consecutive blank pages
- Has been signed by you, the holder
You will need to provide your passport and a copy of the biodata page for the application.
Having travel health insurance is essential for a Germany visa. You can get the public gesetzliche Krankenversicherung health insurance, private, or expat travel health insurance. All German residents must have adequate health insurance by law.
Language Proficiency (If Required)
If applicable, you will need to prove that you have a basic knowledge of German, which means you have achieved Level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference Languages. This is usually done by including one of these two certificates:
- Start Deutsch 1 by the Österreichisches Sprachdiplom (ÖSD)
- TestDaF by the TestDaF-Institut e V
You may be exempted from this language proficiency requirement if your stay is not permanent, you have a disability, your spouse has a working visa or permit, or you have a degree that makes it likely for you to find work without German proficiency.
Germany visa photo requirements are relatively straightforward. You will need two biometric passport photos that are 35 x 45mm in size. If you are going through the German Missions at the German Embassy, or TLSContact, you can get these photos taken and printed on-site for an additional £8 fee.
Proof of Accommodation
If you need a visa to enter Germany, you must also provide proof of accommodation. This can be a hotel, short-term booking, or even a friend’s place (you will need a letter of invitation from the host).
Proof of Financials
There are a few instances where your financials will matter.
Means of Subsistence
If you need to apply for a Schengen visa, you will need to prove that you have €45 per day to support yourself for the duration of your visit.
Proof of Finances for Students
You must prove that you have a minimum of €11,208 per year in a blocked bank account.
Proof of Income for EU Blue Card Holders
The other instance is with EU Blue Card Holders, where you must earn above the threshold.
|IT Professionals Without Formal Qualifications
|You have been offered a position at a German company for at least six months.
|You are a manager or professional in a critical industry or role, such as manufacturing, healthcare, teaching, or IT.
|You achieved your higher education degree less than three years ago and have a job offer in Germany.
|You are an IT professional with over three years of experience and have a job offer for a role in Germany lasting at least six months.
Proof of Pension
If you are retired, you must provide a pension statement proving you can support yourself through your retirement savings while in Germany.
Proof of Circumstances
If you are moving for work, study, or to reunite with your spouse, then you will need to show proof:
- Job offer, formal letter from your employer outlining your short-term relocation, or internship acceptance
- Acceptance letter from an educational institution in Germany for a language course or full degree
- Proof of relationship, for example, a marriage certificate
- Your CV, if you need to prove work experience
UK Biometric Residence Permit/Visa
If you are a UK resident and not a citizen, include a copy of your UK BRP card or visa.
How Can Total Law Help?
The German visa application process can be difficult to navigate, especially if you aren’t sure which visa or program to even apply for. Our friendly experts can help guide you throughout the process, from selecting which visa is best for you, to putting together all the required documents so you can breeze through the process stress-free.
Have our team help you through every step of the immigration process, regardless of which German visa you are applying for, by calling us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or using our online callback form today.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
Application fees vary depending on the visa type, your age, and the system you use. Here’s a general overview of the prices you can expect:
|Airport Transit Visa
|Shengen (Short Stay) Visa
|Student Visa (Full Time and Language Course)
|Under 18 Student Visa
|EU Blue Card Visa
|One-year validity: €100
Greater than one-year validity: €110
Renewal for less than three months: €96
Renewal for more than three months: €93
|Children Aged 6 to 12 (All Visas)
|Children Under 6 (All Visas)
|TLS Contact Service Fee
|Short-term visa applications: €32
National long-stay visa applications: €36
You usually don’t need to authenticate your documents, although this will differ from case to case. If you need your documents to be verified, an Apostille Stamp will usually be enough. If unsure, contact one of our experts or the German embassy or consulate near you.
Processing a visa application usually takes 15 days, but this is a rough estimate. Some visas will take longer than others. You can start the visa process up to six months before you intend to move and must start 15 days before your trip.
Only German residents can sponsor your study. They must reside in Germany and undergo a credit check to make sure they can afford to support you during your stay.
The ETIAS is a visa waiver program that will go live in 2025. Once it’s live, the only difference is that you will need to fill out the online form and pay a small fee before you can enter Schengen countries. Once you have that pass, it’ll be valid for three years.
If you can enter Germany without a visa, then you will need to register your new address at the local resident’s registration office (Bürgeramt) to get the Registration Certificate (Meldebestätigung) within your first two weeks. Once you have that certificate, you have up to 90 days to make an appointment at the immigration office. The permit application costs €110 and can take several weeks to receive if you are successful.