Do you want to apply for a visa and are not sure where to start? We’ll walk you through all the steps:

The way into the German labour market

Illustration of entry process to Germany

Step 1: Check the requirements

You will need to inform yourself about the different requirements for the various visas required to stay in Germany. To learn about the requirements that apply for the purpose of your stay in Germany, see Kinds of visa.

Step 2:  Requesting an appointment at the German Embassy or Consulate

If you fulfil the requirements for a visa, you must gather all the necessary documents for your visa application. The list of necessary documents can generally be found on the website of the German Embassy or the German Consulate in your country of residence. Simultaneously, you should also book an appointment at this time to hand in your visa application.

To find out which German Embassy or Consulate you’ll need to contact regarding your visa application, see World map.

Info box

Have you already found an employer that wants you to come to Germany in the near future? Your future employer is able to expedite the process from Germany. Inform them about the expedited procedure for qualified professionals before making your appointment at the Embassy or Consulate.

Step 3: Apply for a visa in your country of residence

Submit your visa application to your local German Embassy in your country of residence. Please ensure that you are applying for a visa that corresponds to the purpose of your stay in Germany. For example, if your stay in Germany is for work purposes, you are required to obtain a work visa. This is the only way you can obtain a residence permit in connection with your visa in Germany.

For your visa application, you will need to select the visa application form that corresponds to the purpose of your stay.

For all types of visas issued for long-term stays in Germany, an entry visa fee of EUR 75 will be charged. Generally, you can pay the fee in your local currency at the German Embassy or German Consulate in your country of residence. Please note that this fee cannot be reimbursed if your visa application is unsuccessful.

The way into the German education system

Illustration of entry process to Germany

Step 4: Coming to Germany

Has your visa been issued? Now you can start planning your trip to Germany. Since you are planning a long-term stay in Germany, you are advised to bring all your personal documents with you, for example, your birth certificate, documents regarding your post-secondary school or vocational qualifications, your driver’s license or your marriage certificate.

Please note: You will need to have a health insurance policy that is valid as of your first day in Germany. Proof of insurance will be requested, at latest, when you pick up your visa from the German Embassy.

Step 5: Apply for your residence permit

Were you able to enter Germany with your visa? Welcome! Your visa generally remains valid for up to 6 months. During this time, you will need to apply for a residence permit to be able to stay in Germany for a longer period of time.

Contact your local Foreigners’ Authority and inform yourself about the documents needed to apply for a residence permit. Then you will need to make an appointment to have a residence permit issued that corresponds to your visa.

Find the address of your nearest Foreigners Authority.

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