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The 5 Step Process to Obtaining Your Short Term Visa for Germany

By on March 6th, 2017

If you’re not from one of the lucky few countries who don’t require a visa for a 90-day stay in Germany, this post is your friend. Elisa Stella, Founder of Düsseldorf Expat Assistant and the expert who joined us for a 1-hour Expat Question Time on Life in Düsseldorf, is back again to give you some tips on how to obtain your short term visa for Germany.

EU nationals do not require a visa to enter Germany, but what about others?

Generally speaking, all other foreigners require a visa for stays in Germany, however, the question “Do I need a visa?” is not as obvious as it seems (as many things in Germany)!

You do not need a visa if you stay up to 90 days within an 180-day period if you come from one of the countries of which the European Community has abolished the visa requirement. So if you are for instance Canadian, from Colombia, from Korea or Switzerland, you do not need a visa; but you do need a visa if you come from South Africa, Philippines or India, and the list goes on… 


Once you know you will need a short term Visa for Germany (up to 90 days within an 180-day period), it’s time to start applying for it…


1. Be sure you meet the requirements.

This means that the purpose of your trip is clear and realistic, you’ll finance your trip and your stay from your own money (or a third person guarantees this), you have travel insurance for the entire Schengen area, which covers at least 30,000 euros.


2. German Embassies and Consulates in your home country issue visa.

Not the foreign office in German town halls! Except (an exception again!) for citizens from Australia, Canada, USA and a couple of other countries, who can enter Germany for short stays without a prior visa.


3. Refer to the German Embassy or consulate in which you have your ordinary residence or domicile.

Consult the website well in advance of your departure date check the application procedure and what documentation you have to submit. 


4. Visa application forms are available at Embassies and Consulates free of charge.

Or you can download them from their website. Fill them in properly, which means “accurately and fully”, as a German would do (haha).


5. Submit these forms together with all necessary documents, and bring them in person at the related German authority of reference.

It sounds exhausting, but actually many embassies and consulates have adopted an electronic scheduling tool, which allows you to book a personal appointment without standing for long in a queue!
I figured I’d keep it short and sweet so that you can understand the basics of what steps you might have to take in obtaining a short term visa for Germany. However, if you would like more details about if you need to apply and if so, what you need to do, take a look at the Auswaertiges Amt website (the page is in English, don’t worry). 
Featured photo credit: jaaron via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Have any other questions about visas or expat services? Ask Elisa! Do you have questions about living #LifeInDüsseldorf? Feel free to send us an email with your question at If you have tips you’d like to share with others, we’re also accepting guest posts which include the author’s name, bio, and photo.

  1. Reply

    sanjiv gupta

    July 12, 2017

    Hullo elisa,

    How are you? I have been to dusseldorf at least 30 times since 2016. I have established a GMBH in dusseldorf. I have started investing in real estate in dusseldorf. Could you please introduce me to some one who looks after the work permits etc etc.

    I am also looking for a book keeper/ accountant as my GMBH is still passive.I found your portal fascinating and very helpful.Thanks sanjivx

    • Reply


      July 13, 2017

      Hallo Sanjiv,
      glad to read your comment! I can provide you both: myself for visa information and a couple of qualified bookkeepers who accomplish German regulations. Please write me an Email with al details regarding your situation (income, health insurance, family status, nationality, etc.) so that I can estimate the effort. Best regards, Elisa


Jenna Davis
Düsseldorf, Germany

This is our online publication for sharing the best about life in Düsseldorf in a generous and honest way. We spend our mornings writing content and our afternoons interviewing locals, participating in forums and calling businesses so you don’t have to.

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