Visa

Visum foto

Foreign nationals generally require a visa to enter Germany (for detailed information see the Federal Foreign Office website). Please apply for your visa as early as possible at the relevant German mission abroad, i.e. the German Embassy or a German Consulate in your home country or country of residence. You will need a number of different documents and papers when applying for a visa depending on the type of visa and the country. Click here for an overview of visa requirements/exemptions for entry into the Federal Republic of Germany

Please note that it can take at least 4 to 6 weeks to process a visa application and that this can differ from one Embassy to the next. So, please apply for your visa in good time.

The website of the relevant Consulate General contains more detailed information on the documents required. A detailed overview of statutory frameworks for entry and residence can be obtained from EURAXESS Germany – the National Coordination Point at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Please note: If a visa is compulsory, then entry without a visa is not permitted and is thus illegal. Please also note: the visa process for family members/dependents differs from that for visiting/guest researchers and scientists and may, under certain circumstances, take longer.
Exemptions to and relaxations of the visa requirement are only available to a few countries. The following groups do not require a visa for entry. They only need to present a valid travel document (e.g. a passport):

  • Citizens of the European Union.
  • Nationals of European Economic Area countries (EEA): Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway.
  • Nationals of Switzerland.
  • Nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the USA (if coming for a stay exceeding three months, nationals of these countries must apply for a residence permit at the Aliens Department [Ausländerbehörde] in Germany). However, if you are planning to take up gainful employment in Germany we strongly recommend applying for a work-visa before coming to Germany. Starting this process only upon arrival will most probably delay the starting date of your employment at Goethe-University.
  • Nationals of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino do not need a visa, as long as they are not planning to take up gainful employment. (If they will stay for longer than three months, then they must apply for a residence permit at the Aliens Department [Ausländerbehörde] in Germany).
  • Nationals of Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brunei, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, Guatemala, Kiribati, Colombia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, East Timor, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela und United Arab Emirates can enter without a visa for stays not exceeding three months or if they do not plan to take up any gainful employment that requires social security contributions to be paid. If the employment as a (visiting) researcher or scientist will not exceed three months, entry without a visa is also possible. It is not possible to extend these visa-free stays beyond three months. After completion of the three months, these persons must leave the country. If they wish to stay longer or to take up gainful employment in a job that requires state approval, they must, as an absolute prerequisite, enter Germany on a national visa.
  • Nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia und Ukraine can enter without a visa for stays not exceeding three months or if they do not plan to take up any gainful employment that requires social security contributions to be paid, provided that they are holders of biometric passports. In case of Serbia biometric passports are not allowed to be issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (in Serbian: Koordinaciona uprava). If the employment as a (visiting) researcher or scientist will not exceed three months, entry without a visa is also possible. It is not possible to extend these visa-free stays beyond three months. After completion of the three months, these persons must leave the country. If they wish to stay longer or to take up gainful employment in a job that requires state approval, they must, as an absolute prerequisite, enter Germany on a national visa.
  • Nationals of China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan can enter without a visa for stays not exceeding three months or if they do not plan to take up any gainful employment that requires social security contributions to be paid, provided that they are holders of SAR passports (Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Region passports) and (in case of Tawain) holders of passports issued by Taiwan. If the employment as a (visiting) researcher or scientist will not exceed three months, entry without a visa is also possible. It is not possible to extend these visa-free stays beyond three months. After completion of the three months, these persons must leave the country. If they wish to stay longer or to take up gainful employment in a job that requires state approval, they must, as an absolute prerequisite, enter Germany on a national visa.

Please note: since April 4, 2010 visas in category 'D' are also valid in the 'Schengen countries': with a German national visa (category 'D') you can therefore travel via Switzerland and stay in Switzerland as a tourist.

Please note: Schengen-visas are not valid in the UK. You can find more information on the UK embassy website.

Information on visa requirements of selected German missions abroad:

No liability for errors or omissions.