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german visa

How to Get German Visa and Permits

Do i need a visa?

Germany has a fairly straightforward passport and visa policy, especially if you are planning a visit of 90 days or less.

  • All citizens of other countries are required to have a valid passport or recognised identity card.
  • Visas are not required for citizens of EU countries, nor for citizens of a number of other countries. A full list of countries and visa requirements can be found on the on de.
  • Note that visas may be required for visits of longer than 90 days or as a result of the purpose of the trip as well as the frequency of visits to the country.

Applying for a Visa

Visas are issued by the German Government through its consulates and embassies.  In general visas are issued between two and ten business days; however during peak travel times the processing period can be far longer. The German government urges those needing visas to allow adequate time for processing. The visa application fee is €60.

Visas for Refugees

The process for entering Germany for refugees and those seeking asylum are a bit different and can be slightly complex. Information pertaining to refugees can be found on the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees website.  A number of recognised non-government agencies are dedicated to helping those seeing refugee or asylum status.

Working in Germany

The rules for working in Germany are fairly straightforward.

  • Citizens of EU countries and European Economic Area (EEA) (the EU and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) do not require visas to work in Germany.
  • Swiss citizens do not need a visa to work in Germany; however they are required to apply for a special purely declaratory residence permit.
  • Citizens of all other countries must obtain a residence title which permits them to work. Certain rules apply to highly qualified workers, job seekers, and those that are self-employed. The relevant information and downloadable information can be found at the Federal Office of Migration and Refugees website.

It should be noted that family members of EU citizens who are not EU citizens themselves must meet the same requirements as those from other countries outside the EU and EEA.

Workers can apply for Permanent Resident status after five years as long as they meet certain criteria.


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