Entry for a longer stay
Do you wish to enter Germany for a long-term stay of more than 90 days, e.g. for a degree, as a spouse or child, or to work?
Visa exemption for certain countries
Special privileges apply to certain countries. You can apply for any residence title in the federal territory even without a visa.
These privileges apply to the following countries:
- Andorra 1
- Brazil 1
- El Salvador 1
- Honduras 1
- Monaco 1
- New Zealand
- San Marino 1
- South Korea
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- United States of America
Visa obligation for most countries
Nationals of other countries must enter Germany with a national visa (Visa Category D).
Where can you obtain a national visa?
The diplomatic missions (embassy or consulate general) of the Federal Republic of Germany in your country of origin, or in the country where you are normally legally resident, are responsible for receiving and processing your visa application and issuing your national visa.
How do you apply for a visa?
You must complete the application forms issued at the diplomatic mission and submit them there.
In particular, in your application, you must state your precise purpose of entry and purpose of stay, as well as the location and duration of your intended stay. Depending on the purpose of your stay, further information will be required.
The information that you provide must be truthful and complete. If you give any inaccurate or vague information, your visa application may be rejected.
You can find further information at the website of the relevant diplomatic mission at www.[city of embassy].diplo.de, e.g. www.istanbul.diplo.de
Does the Foreigners’ Registration Office need to be involved?
National visas for stays for the following purposes need to be approved by the Foreigners’ Registration Office:
- Family reasons
- Employment that is not mentioned in the German Employment Act (Beschäftigungsverordnung), but in which there is a public interest.
- Looking for a job, or
- Employment that is mentioned in the German Employment Act (Beschäftigungsverordnung).
How does the procedure work if the Foreigners’ Registration Office is involved?
If the approval of the Foreigners’ Registration Office is required, the German diplomatic mission sends the visa application to the competent German Foreigners’ Registration Office, with a request for an opinion. Data that needs to be protected is forwarded in advance electronically and, at the same time, via the courier service of the German Federal Foreign Office. On average, this takes two to three weeks.
Once it has received the application, the Foreigners’ Registration Office examines the documents and carries out any necessary further investigations. It is frequently necessary for the referees who are resident or based in Berlin (e.g. spouse) to provide further documents or make statements.
After the application has been processed, the Foreigners’ Registration Office submits its opinion to the diplomatic mission.
The opinion of the Foreigners’ Registration Office is an internal administrative procedure that is intended exclusively for the diplomatic mission. It is solely the responsibility of the diplomatic mission to decide whether or not to issue a visa, and it will notify the applicant of its decision.
It is possible to appeal against adverse visa decisions at the German diplomatic mission (but not at the Foreigners’ Registration Office).