Complete list of Germany Schengen Visa requirements and comprehensive application guide. Learn how to apply and get your Schengen visa application APPROVED!
Planning to go to Germany for tourism or to visit family or friends? Before you book that flight, you might need to apply for a German visa first.
Germany as an EU Member State is also a member of the Schengen Area. What does it mean to be part of the Schengen area?
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty which led to the conception of Europe’s Schengen Area, in which internal border checks have largely been abolished. In 1990, the Agreement was further expanded by the Schengen Convention for the complete abolition of systematic internal border controls and a common visa policy.
The Schengen area includes the following European Union countries and the following associated states : Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
So basically, once you get your German Schengen Visa, you can also visit all other 26 states that are part of the Schengen agreement! Isn’t that exciting?
But first, what are the requirements for Germany Schengen Visa application? How do you apply for a German Schengen Visa?
Firstly, start off by booking an appointment with the embassy. Check the nearest German Embassy near you and you must follow their respective booking appointment system. Book early especially during peak season between March until August! Schengen visa applications may be submitted three months before departure date. For example, if you’re planning to fly to Germany on May 25 , you can already apply for a Schengen visa as early as February 25. It’s best to secure early morning slots around 8:00-10:00 am and around Wednesday to Friday that way the interviewer is in a good mood and not yet tired. Just imagine, they do this repetitively everyday so it can get annoying sometimes later in the day and earlier in the week when they still don’t feel like going to work.It’s a common knowledge that most employees are happy past Monday and Tuesday at least.
Secondly, check the list of requirements via the embassy’s website or to make things easier for you, here’s a summary of the required documents with helpful comments and suggestions so you get it right the first time! This is mainly for tourism purposes and or short stays up to 90 days. Note that you need to bring original copies of all these documents and photo copy of each.
General Required Documents for German Schengen Visa Application
1. Original Passport. This must be valid for at least another 3 months upon the conclusion of the travel. For example, if your trip ends in July 15, 2017, your passport must be valid until October 15, 2017. It must contain two empty pages for your visa stamp, and one Xerox copy of the passport, and further valid/invalid passports. It is of importance to submit further valid and invalid passports especially if you have travelled overseas previously so you can show your travel history which is not technically a requirement but a plus point of course.
2. Current passport picture. The photo needs to display a full frontal view of the face. You should look directly into the camera with a neutral expression and without smiling. The background should be neutral and light, providing sufficient contrast to the face and hair. This is to be submitted during the interview. Click here to see sample pictures and further explanation on photograph specifications.
3. Application form. Download the Schengen Visa Application Form or get it directly from the embassy’s website. This should be completed by you electronically and signed by your own hand. Fill it up diligently and carefully making sure that all required information have been supplied and should match with the supporting documents that you will be submitting. It’s very easy to say match all details however most of the time this is the part where people make common mistakes that’s why they get rejected. Make sure the travel dates stated in the form matches the flight and hotel reservation dates.
4. Declaration form. This is a one page document that goes hand in hand with the application form. It should also be completed and signed by your own hand.
5. Flight itinerary. Details regarding the means of travel for the outward and return journey. NO flight ticket needed. I repeat, these are the exact words from the embassy’s list, NO flight ticket. They just require a confirmed flight reservation. Don’t buy your flight ticket before you get your visa approved! To know more about getting a confirmed flight reservation for visa, just read our guide on our homepage.
Related article: What is flight itinerary for visa application?
6. Hotel booking. Can either be a hotel voucher or confirmation of the hotel that accommodation has already been paid for. You can get this document without actually paying for the cost of the accommodation. Here’s how you can get a hotel reservation.
7. Visa fee. The visa processing fee is 60 euros if you are older than 12 years old or 35 euros for 6-12 years old or free for children below 6 years of age. You pay in your local currency depending on the day’s exchange rate. Please try to bring the exact amount because the interviewer will give you the look if you don’t. You will also be asked if you prefer to receive your passport visa courier. Depending on the courier that the embassy is using, you will either pay this upfront or pay the messenger once you received your passport.
8. Financial coverage. Provide 6 months bank statements with bank certification. Note that these are two separate documents. You need to request these documents 1-2 weeks prior to your appointment that way your document is still valid at the time of appointment. It is very important to know this lead time because some banks take up to 2 weeks before they issue these documents while other banks can give you these within the day. Just a tip, you must have at least 45 euros per day for your trip if you’re applying through the German Embassy. Most importantly, make sure that your bank statements does not show any lump sum deposits that may raise any suspicions or further questions.
If with a sponsor:
You need to submit a Formal Obligation (or Verpflichtungserklärung in German). You have to know the person as they have to go to the city hall to get this paper for you and then they have to send the original copy to you which you will submit in the embassy. in addition, you need to submit proof of relationship with the sponsor (e.g. birth- / marriage certificates, which substantiate the kinship, relationship or friendship). Written correspondence between you and your sponsor, proof of telephone connections and other evidence of relationship between you and your sponsor.
If no formal obligation is submitted:
An informal invitation by the host, in which information is given regarding the host’s exact address of residence, the purpose of travel and the full duration of travel and stay.
9. Travel Insurance. It should be valid for all Schengen-States and the full duration of stay for which the visa is applied for, with a minimum coverage sum of 30,000 Euros. There’s a list of accredited travel insurance companies in each embassy so check their website. It’s best to get one that’s refundable in case you get your visa rejected. You can order travel insurance perfect for Schengen visa here for as low as 1.99 euros per day.
10. Proof of rootedness. This is one of the most important aspects of your application because this is where you prove the Embassy that you will be coming back to your home country.
If you are employed:
They require your proof of your employment such as most recent income tax return, certificate of employment (including your employer’s full name, complete address and telephone number with area code, details regarding your position or professional designation, income, duration of the working relationship) and letter of approved leave of absence signed by your employer. Note that the COE and LOA should NOT be combined in one document. These should be two separate documents and should show your company logo.
If you are unemployed and would go back to work right after your trip, you should show your Job Offer. Yes, you read it right, you can still apply even if you are unemployed provided you can provide a Job Offer.
If you are self-employed:
They require your proof of registration such as Mayor’s permit, BIR registration and DTI registration together with proof of commercial activity of your company such as income tax returns, bank certificates and documents of the company accounts.
If you are a pupil/student:
You need to submit your School certificate / University certificate; proof of enrollment (for students), if applicable: letter of exemption from studies.
If you own real estate property:
You need to submit your original land title, deed of sale. German Embassy is one of the few embassies left that are still requiring this.
Lastly, after the interview comes the waiting game. Yes, you will go thru this emotionally torturing stage. The stage of uncertainty. The good thing with German Embassy is that their visa application process usually takes around 5-7 days only.
Application Requirements for Other Types of German Schengen Visa
Going to Germany for other reasons? Here are other additional documents that you need to submit for purposes other than tourism:
Application requirements for a Business Visa:
1. Letter of invitation on company paper in the original (in special cases the invitation letter by fax or as a scan may be sufficient), and with the date, name/ names of the guest/ guests and the company they work for, travel- as well as the dates for the intended stay, motive and reason for the trip
2. Copy of the certificate of the association („Auszug aus dem Vereinsregister“ – VRA, date of issuance not older than 6 months) of the inviting party (not a certified copy)
3. Submission of a Formal Obligation (original and 1 Xerox copy of the document) according to §§ 66-68 of the German Residence Law, given by your host at the aliens authority (“Ausländerbehörde”) in Germany that is responsible for his / her area of residence
4. A letter of invitation, in which the sponsor guarantees for the cost according to §§ 66-68 of the German Residence law (only if the capital fund of the company according to company registration, HRA/HRB is € 25.000 and over).
Application requirements for the Participation in a Language Course lasting no longer than 3 Months
1. Confirmation of the language school regarding the type and duration of the language course
2. Registration with the language course with confirmation that the course fees have been paid
3. Evidence of previously completed language courses and Curriculum Vitae / Biodata /Resumé (in German language) with statement regarding the motivation to learn German (motivational letter, in German or English)
4. Submission of your credit cards (copies thereof) (no debit cards) and accounts thereof for the previous six months
Application requirements for Visitors or Exhibitors of Fairs
1. Submission of an entry pass for fair visitors or the exhibitor’s pass in the original and a Xerox copy of the pass
2. Promotional or / and informational material of the fair, through which is evident which fair you wish to visit, and Documents regarding the economic activity of your company, which must be related to the respective fair (e.g. information brochure for your clients)
3. Guarantee letter of your employer regarding the shouldering of the expenses of your stay
Do you have questions about applying for a German Schengen visa?