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Germany Tourist Visa

Germany Tourist Visa

Written By:

Jakus Eloff

Fact Checked By:

Richard Nathan

How To Get A German Schengen Visa

The German Schengen visa application has to be filled online and takes about approximately 20 minutes to finish. The application is split into five sections.

How to Get a German Schengen Visa

You can now save 15 hours, and use Atlys to apply for a German Schengen visa on Atlys.

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, put in your travel dates, and let Atlys handle everything for you. You'll be able to schedule your appointment directly on Atlys.

Personal information

You’re required to provide information about yourself and your work. Personal information has to match your passport and an official letter from your employer/university is required as evidence of your occupational information.

Avoid these common mistakes in your German visa application:

  • While not validated, Date of birth is in DD/MM/YYYY format.

  • For those self-employed, select the eponymous option. If unemployed, select ‘No Occupation’ and leave the remaining fields in the section blank.

Residence Information

Next, enter your current address. You will be denied a visa if your address does not match the one provided in the proof you provide. Select ‘Yes’ for ‘Is your residence in a country other than that of your current nationality?’ and provide details about your residence status. The permit number is the unique number associated with your Green Card / H1B/ F1/ J1 visas.


Next, provide your passport details. For most travelers, the type of passport is ‘ordinary’. The next question is a bit tricky because most travelers don’t remember submitting fingerprints for a Schengen visa.

A good rule of thumb - is that you got your fingerprints if you got a Schengen visa after 2016 since it was impossible to obtain a Schengen visa otherwise. The date is optional so you can leave it blank. If you fall in this category, Germany will pull up your fingerprints from the central EU database, saving you time to visit the Embassy in-person.

Travel Data

Germany requires information on your intended visit. Please do not provide dates for the sake of getting a visa, as, more often than not, your visa granted would be +/- 15 days of your intended arrival date. We suggest always requesting for multiple entry visa but know that it’s unlikely you’ll get one. There is, however, no downside or additional paperwork to ask for one. For power travelers looking to get one, we’ve discovered a few hacks:

  • Apply for a business visa and note that you travel multiple times
  • Provide multiple itineraries spanning the year, and mention them in your cover letter.
  • Show a history of travel, especially to Europe.

Entry Permit for the Final Country of Destination

This is the same as providing details about residence status in the United States. We have created a helpful mapping from U.S. residence type to options on the visa application:

  • H/F/J/O visas -> Re-entry visa
  • Green card -> resident alien card


The name of this section is ambiguous. This requires details about your stay in Germany. For travelers living in hotels, enter the name, location and contact of the hotel. For those living in Airbnb’s, select ‘Householder’ and ask your Airbnb host for details.

Visit Expenses

Answer a few simple questions on how you plan on funding your trip. The answers should be supported by evidence in the form of prepaid accommodation, credit card or bank statements. The balance is based on the duration of your trip. Aim to have at least EUR 45 for every day of your trip. For instance, a 5 day trip requires EUR 225 in balance (EUR 45 x 5 days).

Visa Application

Press ‘Continue’ and ‘Download PDF’ after reviewing all your information. The final application is an auto-generated PDF that you must print and take to your appointment. The last page has a unique barcode such as:

At the appointment, the consular officer will extract your details using this barcode. Failure to submit the online application will result in delays.

Pro Tip: If you can’t finish the visa application in one setting, I suggest ‘save data’, which will download a file locally.

You can go back to where you were by clicking on ‘import data’ and then selecting that file.

Germany Visa Photos

The photo requirements for a German Schengen visa follow ICAO standards.

  • Two identical photos. Not older than six months.
  • Photo size: 35x45mm or 2 in x 2 in.
  • In color. No black and white
  • Head should cover most of the photo. Germany may make exceptions for religious reasons. Exceptions to this and the other requirements may be made in case of a permanent medical condition.
  • White background.

Traveling to Germany with Children

Children require a Schengen visa to travel to Germany. In addition to all the standard documents, you’ve to provide the following:

  • Application form signed by both parents
  • Birth certificate of the child
  • If a child is traveling alone, a notarized parental authorization is signed by both parents or guardians.

If the child travels with one of the parents, then there must be an notarized permission letter issued from the other parent. In case of the parents’ absence (divorce, death, etc.), a relevant official certificate (i.e divorce, death and etc.) must be presented. Additionally, copies of IDs of parents are also required.

The visa photos requirements for children vary slightly. Children aged 5 and under do not need to have a neutral expression or look directly at the camera, and their heads do not have to be centred in the photo. Babies under one year do not have to have their eyes open.

Proof of Employment for Germany Visa

A letter from your employer is required as proof of employment. The letter should state:

  • Today's Date
  • Employer name
  • Position and title
  • A declaration that you will continue to be employed during your Germany visit
  • Contact and address information of the supervisor along with their signature.

For students, this is a letter from your university. For homemakers or those unemployed, a letter of support from any individual/organization. This includes but is not limited to your spouse or parents too.

Germany Visa Travel Insurance

Because most Schengen countries provide public healthcare, travel insurance is required to obtain a German Schengen visa, so visitors don’t become a financial burden on Germany’s health system in the event of unforeseen issues. The insurance should explicitly meet these requirements:

  • Coverage of at least EUR 30,000.
  • Be valid in all 26 Schengen States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
  • Cover medical emergency expenses and anything connected with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent health attention, and/or emergency hospital treatment or death.
  • For those hoping to get a longer-term Schengen visa, it is advisable to provide travel insurance that lasts the whole year as per the EU directive

“ Applicants for a uniform visa for more than two entries (multiple entries) shall prove that they are in possession of adequate and valid travel medical insurance covering the period of their first intended visit.In addition, such applicants shall sign the statement, set out in the application form, declaring that they are aware of the need to be in possession of travel medical insurance for subsequent stays.”

Pro Tip: Check if your employer provides mandatory travel insurance coverage. Often that works if you present a letter/insurance card along with coverage details highlighting the coverage amount.

How to Reach Germany during COVID-19 as a tourist?

The only way to reach Germany as a tourist from United States is thru Iceland.

Travelers who have visited a risk area, high incidence area or virus variant area in the last ten days before entering Germany must register at before arriving in Germany and carry proof of registration with them upon entry.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

I stood outside the German consulate in San Francisco for 3 days to understand common mistakes that applicants make. Fortunately, one consular officer was kind enough to talk to me, and go over some mistakes that she’s regularly seen over the years.

  • Applicants forget copies of their passports. Yes! As easy as it sounds, many people forget two copies of their passports.
  • Expired H1B but a valid I-797. While this lets you legally stay and work in the United States, you’re ineligible to get a Schengen visa regardless of how the United States interprets your status. A valid visa or Green card is a must.
  • Wrong consulate! She felt really bad that so many applicants ended up visiting the wrong consulate for their appointments. This is especially bad in California where there are 2 consulates - San Francisco and Los Angeles. To find the correct consulate for you, make sure to enter the right zipcode on Atlys.
Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Mail-in Schengen Visa Application? Are you Eligible?

Germany lets certain travelers mail-in their visa applications. This saves travelers having to visit the German consulate for in-person appointments.

Only travelers that have obtained a Schengen visa in the past 59 months and have a valid United States residence status are eligible to mail-in their applications. There is no need to inform the consulate ahead of mailing in your application. However, mail-in applications have 2 additional requirements:

  • The filled Germany visa application and a copy of your United States residence status have to be notarized by a notary public.
  • The application has to be shipped to the appropriate consulate along with a pre-fixed return label addressed to you.

Which income proofs can be submitted to show the ability to cover the travel and stay expenses?

Many qualify however showing a bank statement is the most straightforward. You can also use one of these:

  • invoices of prepaid travels and accommodations

  • Pay stubs

  • travelers’ cheques

  • attested documents showing spouse’s consent in covering the expenses, etc.

Other types of visas and document requirements

  • Short-term work visa: Reference letter of the U.S. employer mentioning profile, salary, date of hiring, dates of vacation, and itinerary.

  • Self-employed: Your business existence proof and the client’s details you intend to meet in France. The proof of income from the business.

  • Foreign students on F-1 visa: A valid I-20, reference letter from an educational institution, education details, and expected date of the end of graduation course.

How long is a short stay visa valid for? Can I leave the Schengen area and come back with the same visa?

The visa sticker contains information on the visa’s validity period and the duration of the authorized stay. A visa can be issued for one entry or multiple entries.

The maximum duration of stay is shown on the visa sticker, and it varies according to the reasons for your stay.

What you must remember

  • You must have left the Schengen area at the latest on the day on which the visa expires.
  • You must not exceed the authorized length of stay during the validity of the visa.
  • If you have an authorized stay of 90 days, you must not stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days in 180 days, this period not having to exceed the duration of the visa and the period of 90 days starting from run on the date of the first entry.

Can I apply for a visa on arrival?

No, Germany does not provide a visa-on-arrival.

Which country is responsible for processing my visa application?

The Member State competent to handle a request visa and decide on it is the one whose territory constitutes the sole destination (or main) or the trips.

Do I need a transit visa to Germany?

Nationals of the following countries are required to be in possession of an airport transit visa when passing through the international transit area of airports in Germany:

  • Afghanistan
  • Ghana
  • Lebanon
  • South Sudan
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Mali
  • Sri Lanka
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Iran
  • Nigeria
  • Sudan Eritrea
  • Iraq
  • Pakistan
  • Syria
  • Ethiopia
  • Jordan
  • Somalia
  • Turkey

Nationals of the aforementioned countries do NOT require an airport transit visa if:

  • they hold a valid visa for the United States of America, or
  • they hold a used valid or expired visa issued by the USA and return from the USA and travel to a non-Schengen Member State within 24 hours after the expiration of their visa
  • they hold a valid visa for a Schengen Member State, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Japan, Romania or UK,
  • they hold a used valid or expired visa issued by Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Japan, Romania or UK and return from the country of visa issuance and travel to a non-Schengen Member State.

Airport transit privilege does not apply and you will need a visitor visa if:

  • You have to pick up your baggage and/or have to check-in again (please verify with your airline) or,
  • You are transiting through two or more airports in the Schengen Countries (for example: Miami-Frankfurt-Paris-India or New York-Frankfurt-Munich-India) or,
  • You hold an open ticket.

I have a double/triple nationality. Which one should I enter in my visa application?

You must enter the nationality of the passport with which you wish to travel. When you complete your application form, you will need to indicate your nationality of origin and your current nationality (that of your passport).

Can I extend my visa while in Germany?

Only in exceptional cases. We do not recommend this path.

I am a visitor to the US with a B1/B2 visa and would like to spend two weeks in Germany after my trip to the US. Where do I apply for a visa?

Only legal resident aliens in the US can apply for a visa in the United States. If you are only visiting you need to apply at the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

Atlys uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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Atlys strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. Any documents, including visas, that Atlys provides are issued directly by the respective governments. Atlys integrates only with the official sources and can vouch for the authenticity of any documents obtained.

Atlas Visa, Inc ("Atlys") is a registered Seller of Travel with the California Seller of Travel Office of the Attorney General #2143976-70.

Atlas Visa, Inc ("Atlys") Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC) #708507.