Original and valid passport
Proof of residence status in the United States
Proof of address in the United States
Draft hotel reservations
Draft flight reservations
Copies of any previous Schengen visas
Schengen travel insurance
Proof of employment
Notarized Documents (mail-in only)
Shipping labels (mail-in only)
Checklist filled out and signed
The German Schengen visa application has to be filled online and takes about approximately 20 minutes to finish.
For native-English speakers, we recommend viewing the application in English. You can do so at the top right of their website.
The application is split into five sections:
1. Personal and occupational information
4. Travel details and plans
5. Visit expenses
You’re required to provide information about yourself and your work. Personal information has to match your passport and an official letter from your employer/university is required as evidence of your occupational information.
Avoid these common mistakes in your German visa application:
While not validated, Date of birth is in DD/MM/YYYY format.
For those self-employed, select the eponymous option. If unemployed, select ‘No Occupation’ and leave the remaining fields in the section blank.
Next, enter your current address. You will be denied a visa if your address does not match the one provided in the proof you provide. Select ‘Yes’ for ‘Is your residence in a country other than that of your current nationality?’ and provide details about your residence status. The permit number is the unique number associated with your Green Card / H1B/ F1/ J1 visas.
Next, provide your passport details. For most travelers, the type of passport is ‘ordinary’. The next question is a bit tricky because most travelers don’t remember submitting fingerprints for a Schengen visa.
A good rule of thumb - is that you got your fingerprints if you got a Schengen visa after 2016 since it was impossible to obtain a Schengen visa otherwise. The date is optional so you can leave it blank. If you fall in this category, Germany will pull up your fingerprints from the central EU database, saving you time to visit the Embassy in-person.
Germany requires information on your intended visit. Please do not provide dates for the sake of getting a visa, as, more often than not, your visa granted would be +/- 15 days of your intended arrival date. We suggest always requesting for multiple entry visa but know that it’s unlikely you’ll get one. There is, however, no downside or additional paperwork to ask for one. For power travelers looking to get one, we’ve discovered a few hacks:
This is the same as providing details about residence status in the United States. We have created a helpful mapping from U.S. residence type to options on the visa application:
1.H/F/J/O visas -> Re-entry visa
2.Green card -> resident alien card
The name of this section is ambiguous. This requires details about your stay in Germany. For travelers living in hotels, enter the name, location and contact of the hotel. For those living in Airbnb’s, select ‘Householder’ and ask your Airbnb host for details.
Answer a few simple questions on how you plan on funding your trip. The answers should be supported by evidence in the form of prepaid accommodation, credit card or bank statements. The balance is based on the duration of your trip. Aim to have at least EUR 45 for every day of your trip. For instance, a 5 day trip requires EUR 225 in balance (EUR 45 x 5 days).
Press ‘Continue’ and ‘Download PDF’ after reviewing all your information. The final application is an auto-generated PDF that you must print and take to your appointment. The last page has a unique barcode such as:
At the appointment, the consular officer will extract your details using this barcode. Failure to submit the online application will result in delays.
If you can’t finish the visa application in one setting, I suggest ‘save data’, which will download a file locally.
You can go back to where you were by clicking on ‘import data’ and then selecting that file.
The photo requirements for a German Schengen visa follow ICAO standards.
Children require a Schengen visa to travel to Germany. In addition to all the standard documents, you’ve to provide the following:
If the child travels with one of the parents, then there must be an notarized permission letter issued from the other parent. In case of the parents’ absence (divorce, death, etc.), a relevant official certificate (i.e divorce, death and etc.) must be presented. Additionally, copies of IDs of parents are also required.
The visa photos requirements for children vary slightly. Children aged 5 and under do not need to have a neutral expression or look directly at the camera, and their heads do not have to be centred in the photo. Babies under one year do not have to have their eyes open.
A letter from your employer is required as proof of employment. The letter should state:
For students, this is a letter from your university. For homemakers or those unemployed, a letter of support from any individual/organization. This includes but is not limited to your spouse or parents too.
Because most Schengen countries provide public healthcare, travel insurance is required to obtain a German Schengen visa, so visitors don’t become a financial burden on Germany’s health system in the event of unforeseen issues. The insurance should explicitly meet these requirements:
Check if your employer provides mandatory travel insurance coverage. Often that works if you present a letter/insurance card along with coverage details highlighting the coverage amount.
The only way to reach Germany as a tourist from United States is thru Iceland.
Travelers who have visited a risk area, high incidence area or virus variant area in the last ten days before entering Germany must register at www.einreiseanmeldung.de before arriving in Germany and carry proof of registration with them upon entry.
I stood outside the German consulate in San Francisco for 3 days to understand common mistakes that applicants make. Fortunately, one consular officer was kind enough to talk to me, and go over some mistakes that she’s regularly seen over the years.
Germany lets certain travelers mail-in their visa applications. This saves travelers having to visit the German consulate for in-person appointments.
Only travelers that have obtained a Schengen visa in the past 59 months and have a valid United States residence status are eligible to mail-in their applications. There is no need to inform the consulate ahead of mailing in your application. However, mail-in applications have 2 additional requirements:
Many qualify however showing a bank statement is the most straightforward. You can also use one of these:
invoices of prepaid travels and accommodations
attested documents showing spouse’s consent in covering the expenses, etc.
Other types of visas and document requirements
Short-term work visa: Reference letter of the U.S. employer mentioning profile, salary, date of hiring, dates of vacation, and itinerary.
Self-employed: Your business existence proof and the client’s details you intend to meet in France. The proof of income from the business.
Foreign students on F-1 visa: A valid I-20, reference letter from an educational institution, education details, and expected date of the end of graduation course.
The visa sticker contains information on the visa’s validity period and the duration of the authorized stay. A visa can be issued for one entry or multiple entries. The maximum duration of stay is shown on the visa sticker, and it varies according to the reasons for your stay. What you must remember
No, Germany does not provide a visa-on-arrival.
The Member State competent to handle a request visa and decide on it is the one whose territory constitutes the sole destination (or main) or the trips.
Nationals of the following countries are required to be in possession of an airport transit visa when passing through the international transit area of airports in Germany:
Nationals of the aforementioned countries do NOT require an airport transit visa if:
Airport transit privilege does not apply and you will need a visitor visa if:
You must enter the nationality of the passport with which you wish to travel. When you complete your application form, you will need to indicate your nationality of origin and your current nationality (that of your passport).
Only in exceptional cases. We do not recommend this path.
Only legal resident aliens in the US can apply for a visa in the United States. If you are only visiting you need to apply at the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
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