Visa Applications FAQs
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With a Schengen visa, you are allowed to stay in Schengen states for a maximum of 90 days per half year, unless a shorter period of validity is stated in the visa.
The Schengen states are:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland are not Schengen states.
If you wish to travel to a Schengen country and the UK, you require two visas. Please check the websites of the two countries for information on their visa procedures.
If you wish to travel to one or more Schengen countries, you must apply for their visa at the representation of the country that is their main Destination.
Please submit your application as early as possible!
You can submit your visa application as early as 6 months before the start of your planned trip.
The standard processing time is 14 calendar days.
The Embassy recommends submitting your application at least 3 weeks before your planned departure date. This way, the visa can be issued at least one week before departure. It also leaves enough time to correct possible errors in the data on your visa or its validity period.
If you wish to travel to one or more Schengen countries, you must apply for your visa at the representation of the country that is your main Destination.
Where you should file your Schengen visa application depends on the following criteria:
- The number of countries you will be visiting.
- The number of days you will be spending in each Country.
- The country where you enter first, if you visit more than one of the Schengen member states.
The following rules determine at which Embassy you should apply for a visa:
Visit to one country: Apply at the diplomatic representation of the Schengen country you will visit, located in your country of residence.
Visits to more than one country: Where you need to apply depends on your purpose of your travel and the number of days you will spend in each state.
Equal amount of days – Apply at the diplomatic representation of the country you will arrive in first.
Unequal amount of days – Apply at the diplomatic representation of the country where you will spend more time or the one that is the destination of your purpose of travel, e.g. visit a friend in one country and then visit another for tourism.
For Schengen visas, you are required to complete the VIDEX application form and bring a printout with the 3D Barcode to your appointment.
You can find the application form via this link: https://videx.diplo.de/videx/desktop/index.html#start
You can find further information on filling out the VIDEX application form on the VIDEX website: https://videx.diplo.de/videx/desktop/index.html#start
Yes, you can. According to the Schengen agreement, Schengen visas are also valid for other Schengen members. These are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Please note that you always have to apply for a Schengen visa at the consulate of the country that is your primary Destination.
Everyone over the age of 12 must provide fingerprints.
Fingerprints submitted for a Schengen visa application are valid for 59 months in all Schengen countries.
Children have to be present when their parents file the application. Up to the age of 12, they are exempt from providing fingerprints.
If you wish to apply for a multi-entry visa, you must demonstrate your increased travel needs. In the case of business trips, the necessity of multiple trips should be stated in the invitation and/or assignment letter. For private visits (e.g. of close relatives who travel regularly), a note should be included in the invitation letter. You will also need to include proof of previous travels.
Please state your request clearly in your application form e.g. “one year” for the period of validity, “90” for days of stay and “MULT” for the number of entries.
You only have to provide proof of travel health insurance for your first upcoming trip. However, you are obliged to take out appropriate insurance for further trips and show evidence of your insurance cover at the entry control into the Schengen area.
Please note that you can stay in Germany with a (multiple-entry) annual visa for up to a maximum of 90 days per period of 180 days. In cases of employment, this may be reduced to a maximum of 90 days per year.
There is no entitlement to the issuance of a (multiple-entry) annual visa. Long-term Schengen visas are usually issued to reliable, frequent travellers with several past visas, depending on the period of validity of the passport and evidence of the purpose of the journey, financing and willingness to return to one’s home country/ country of residence.
Your passport must fulfil the following requirements:
- In principle, it must be valid for at least three months after the planned departure from the territory of the Member States or, in case of several journeys, after the last planned departure from the territory of the Member States.
- It must have at least two blank pages suitable for carrying a visa.
- It must not be more than 10 years old at the time of the intended entry to a Schengen state.
- It must be signed.
- It must not be damaged.
IRP (GNIB) Card must fulfil the following requirements:
- It must be valid for at least 3 months after your return from your trip.
As part of your visa application, you have to submit a photograph.
- The photo cannot be older than 6 months.
- It must be 45 millimetres x 35 millimetres in size.
- It must have a white background.
- The photo must show the person in a frontal view, without head covering and without anything covering the eyes.
If your passport photo is obviously older than 6 months or does not fulfil the stated criteria, your application will be returned to you unprocessed, as it is not possible to issue a visa.
You will find a link to the Bundesdruckerei's photo sample board here: https://www.bundesdruckerei-gmbh.de/files/dokumente/pdf/fotomustertafel.pdf
A business invitation from a company based in Germany should meet the following criteria:
- Written in German or English,
- Company stationery,
- Current address, telephone, e-mail address, and contact person of the company (for possible queries),
- Company stamp,
- Date of issue,
- Original signature of the person responsible in the company, name and position, if applicable proof of authority to sign (e.g. extract from the commercial register or notarial authorisation),
- Purpose and duration of the stay or reason for the trip (e.g. training, meetings, courses).
- If needed, obligation of your company to bear the applicant's travel and accommodation costs in accordance with §§ 66-68 AufenthG (Residence Act).
As the company issuing the invitation, please send the original by post to your business partner, not to the visa office.
If your business partner does not receive the invitation letter by post in time, they can apply for a visa using a scanned copy and a printout of the e-mail that the invitation was attached to. Whether the scanned copy of the invitation is sufficient for processing the visa application will be decided on a case-by-case basis after the application has been submitted.
Family and friends:
An informal letter of invitation written by the family member or friend residing in a Schengen state is sufficient. It should fulfil the following criteria:
- Copy of passport or copy of residence permit of the inviting person,
- Current address and full contact details of the inviting person (for possible queries),
- Date of issue and signature of the inviting person,
- Purpose and duration of stay,
- Accommodation, if applicable,
- Information on who covers travel and accommodation expenses,
- For family relatives: Clarify the relationship between inviting person and applicant.
- If applicable, current certificate of registration of the inviting person.
Please send the original invitation letter by post to your guest, not to the visa office.
Digital signatures are also accepted.
Sufficient insurance cover must:
- Be valid in all Schengen member countries,
- Have a minimum medical coverage of €30,000,
- Cover emergency medical expenses and repatriation,
- Cover the expenses that might result from the insured’s death.
- Cover the entire period of the insured’s intended stay in the Schengen Zone.
When applying for a visa, the applicant has to prove that they are able to pay for the costs of the trip. If this is not possible, a third person may guarantee to cover all costs for the person entering the Schengen country. They do so by submitting a declaration of commitment.
If the host themselves cannot submit a declaration of commitment, e.g. because they do not have sufficient funds, another person (friends, relatives, acquaintances) can also submit the declaration of commitment for the traveller.
The original and a copy of the declaration of commitment have to be submitted for the visa application. The original will be returned to the applicant together with the passport and should be taken along on the trip.
You have to apply for a Schengen visa:
- If you transit through more than one airport in the Schengen area.
- If you have to leave the airport to take your flight in another airport within the same country.
In all other cases, it will be sufficient to apply for a Transit Schengen visa.
You can check here whether you have to apply for a visa to enter Germany: Irish Travel Documents
Citizens of certain countries require an airport transit visa when flying via Germany to their final destination. You can check here if you have to apply for a transit visa: Bürgerservice Auswärtiges Amt.
Air passengers with transit visas (category “A” visa) are entitled to enter the international transit area at airports but not the Schengen area itself.
You can find further information and exceptions from the Transit visa requirements on this website: Bürgerservice Auswärtiges Amt