Visa and Entry Requirements

You will generally need a visa to enter Germany. Citizens of EU and EEA countries are not subject to this visa requirement, nor (in exceptional cases) are citizens of countries with which Germany has agreements to this effect.

You must apply for a visa from a German diplomatic representation in your home country before you plan to enter Germany. It normally takes 4 to 6 weeks for a visa application to be processed, and sometimes processing takes several months. This is why we recommend that you submit your visa application as early as possible.
 
You can apply for the following visas before entering Germany:
 

D visa (national visa)

  • You must apply for this visa if you plan to stay for more than 90 days.
  • You must apply for this visa if you are planning to take up employment in Germany.
  • You should expect a processing time of several months when applying for this visa.
  • This visa can be converted into a longer-term residence permit once you are in Germany.
 

C visa (Schengen visa)

  • This visa is only valid for a maximum stay of 90 days.
  • It does not allow you to take up employment or undertake (doctoral) studies.
  • Important: This visa is not renewable, and you cannot follow up with an application for a residence permit. After your Schengen visa has expired, you will be required to leave Germany.
  • This visa is not recommended, as it does not allow you to change the purpose of your stay or to extend the duration of your stay.
 
You must apply for the visa at the German diplomatic mission in your home country.
 
When is a visa not required?
There are exceptions to the requirement for a visa. Citizens of the countries listed below may enter Germany without a visa. They require only a valid travel document (such as a passport).
 

1. EU and EEA countries: Citizens of these countries may enter Germany without a visa. Furthermore, they are not required to apply for a residence permit for longer stays. The only requirement is that they register with the residents' registration office (Bürgeramt) in their new place of residence.

2. Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, Switzerland and the USA: Citizens of these countries may enter without a visa, even if they plan to take up employment. However, they must apply for a residence permit if staying for an extended period (more than 90 days) and before commencing employment.

3. Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino: Citizens of these countries may enter Germany without a visa, but are not permitted to take up employment. They will be required to apply for a residence permit if staying for an extended period (more than 90 days), this can also be applied for after the visa-free entry. Attention: if you intend to take up gainful employment, it is not possible to enter without a visa. You must apply for an appropriate visa before entering Germany. For Brazilian nationals, there are some special rules which could result in you having to apply for a visa. Please enquire about this directly at the German Embassy in Brazil. We recommend applying for the residence permit as early as possible. We would be happy to help with the application.

4. Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brunei, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Singapore, Serbia, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela: Citizens of these countries may enter Germany without a visa, but are not permitted to take up employment. However, they cannot apply for a residence permit if they enter without a visa. Attention: At the end of 90 days, the citizens of these countries must leave Germany.
 
Citizens of all other countries will require a standard visa.
 
Tips and advice
 
  • Germany’s entry and visa requirements change frequently. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, you should check all details of the relevant visa on the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) website.

  • Visas and residence permits are different documents. A visa only entitles the bearer to enter the country. If you wish to stay for an extended period (more than 90 days), you must apply for a residence permit after your arrival. You can find further information on this process on our website about the residence permit.

  • You apply for a visa for a specific purpose, for example to take up employment or undertake studies. Approval is tied to the particular purpose given. If you will be working in Germany, you will generally require a visa permitting employment.

  • If you are staying in Germany for less than 12 months you may ask the German visa department to issue a D-visa valid for all Schengen states for the entire period of your stay with reference to Article 18 Section 2 SDÜ. In that case, you do not have to apply for a residence permit at the Foreigners' Registration Office in Berlin.

  • Please make the relevant diplomatic mission (at which you apply for your visa), aware that you have an approval-free status as a researcher in accordance with § 34 Section (2) of the Residence Ordinance ("Aufenthaltsverordnung"). You do not need the authorisation from the Foreigners' Registration Office in Berlin.

  • In case you apply for a visa that allows you to sign a work contract in Germany, you can make the relevant diplomatic mission in your home country aware that you have an approval-free status as a researcher in accordance with § 5 of the Employment Regulation ("Beschäftigungsverordnung"). You do not need the authorisation from the Federal Employment Agency in Berlin.

  • If you are unsure or have any questions about entry requirements, please contact International Scholar Services – we would be happy to help you.

 

You can also find more detailed information on entry requirements on the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) website, or in the Euraxess information portal for international scientists.

 

How we can help:
  • We will advise you as to whether or not you will need to apply for a visa.
  • If you would like to apply for a visa, we will help you with the application process and tell you which visa you need.
  • After you have arrived in Germany, we will help you to apply for a residence permit.
Do you have other questions?

If so please contact the International Scholar Services.