Last Updated : Sep 4, 2023
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The hardest type of visa application is, by far, Schengen visas. The European Union (EU) takes serious precautions regarding safety. Therefore, getting a visa to Germany from the US can be tedious and intimidating.
For that reason, this post will cover everything you need to know about a visa to Germany from the US. First, we'll look at the Germany Schengen visa requirements for US citizens and Green Card Holders.
We'll also discuss the Schengen visa application process and how you can book a Germany visa appointment.
Let's jump right in:
First, let's discuss the Germany Schengen visa for US citizens.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is The Germany Visa?
What Are The Visa Requirements For US Citizens To Germany?
Arriving In Germany - What To Expect?
Can I Extend My Stay In Germany?
What Is ETIAS And Do I Need It?
A Germany visa, or Schengen Visa, is an entry permit that allows visa holders to travel to Germany for a specific number of days.
Although it sounds straightforward, there's much more to the Germany Schengen Visa.
Do I Need A Visa To Go To Germany From The USA?
Can A US Resident Go To Germany?
How Long Can I Stay In Germany?
No. US citizens do not need a visa to go to Germany. This means US citizens can travel to any part of the Schengen Area without a visa.
Yes. US citizens can go to Germany. Remember that I just mentioned US citizens do not need a Germany Schengen Visa.
US citizens can stay in Germany for 90 days within 180 days.
"I don't understand this?"
Don't worry. We get this a lot, and we know the 90/180-day rule can be very confusing.
Luckily, the European Government has a free Schengen visa calculator. I suggest you use it to ensure you do not overstay your visa-free 90 days in Germany.
Now that you've determined you do not need a visa to Germany from the US, let's take a look at some additional information:
Do I Need Travel Insurance?
What Are The Financial Requirements To Travel To Germany?
What Are The Passport Requirements?
No. Travel insurance is not mandatory. However, we always advise travelers to get travel or medical insurance.
"I know nothing will happen with me, so why waste money on it?"
The chances of something bad happening to you is small, but not zero. It's always good to have travel insurance and not need it. Rather than need it and not have it.
You must prove that you have at least 45 EUR for each day you spend in Germany.
You will be denied entry if you can't prove that you meet the German financial requirements. Therefore, it's very important to prove that you have the means of subsistence.
Remember that each Schengen country has its own financial requirements. Therefore, please check out our blog on financial requirements for each Schengen country if you want to know more.
US citizens must have a passport to travel to Germany. Although you do not need a visa, you require a passport when arriving at border control.
Once you've touched down and got your bags, it's time to face the border control authorities. I don't know why but this part always makes me feel stressed.
When you arrive at the border control desk, the officer will ask for your passport and travel details.
VERY IMPORTANT: Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your exit date.
The officer might ask you for additional documents regarding your trip. I suggest having a file in your hand luggage with the following documents:
Proof that you meet the financial requirements (bank statements, employment contract, etc.)
Invitation letter (it's always good to have one when visiting family or friends)
For your convenience, I've linked Atlys' free visa tools above. We believe in making traveling easier for everyone.
No. If you want to stay in Germany for more than 90 days, you must apply for a long-stay or Type D visa.
The National Type D visa requires you to submit additional documents. You'll also need to prove why you want to stay in Germany for more than 90 days.
You've probably heard about "ETIAS," but what exactly is it?
Like ESTA, the EU introduced the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).
Although ETIAS is not yet implemented, US citizens must apply for it starting in November 2023.
Please check out our guide on the ETIAS for more information.
Next, we need to discuss the visa to Germany for US Green Card Holders. Whether or not they need one is a tricky question to answer. For that reason, this section will make it much easier to understand.
We'll cover the basics, the requirements, and how to apply.
Germany Visa For US Green Card Holders - The Basics
What Are The Germany Visa Requirements For US Green Card Holders?
How To Apply For The Germany Schengen Visa?
What Happens After I Apply?
As I mentioned, the first thing I'll cover is the German Schengen visa basics. Then, remember to keep reading, as we'll discuss the fastest way you can get a Schengen Visa later.
Can A US Green Card Holder Travel To Germany Without A Visa?
How Long Does It Take To Get A Germany Visa?
How Can I Get A German Visa Fast?
How Much Is The Visa Fee From The USA To Germany?
Yes, but it depends. Let me explain by using an example:
Let's say you are a US Green Card Holder but have an Indian Passport. Therefore, you must get a visa to Germany.
That's why it's important to check if your country of citizenship needs a Schengen visa.
The Germany Schengen visa processing time is anything between 15 to 30 days. However, some travelers only get theirs 60 days after their visa appointment.
We suggest you apply for your visa at least 2 months before your planned departure date. This leaves you with enough time to get all your documents in order.
Check out the next section for a priceless tip on how to get your German visa as quickly as possible.
Atlys is a visa app that holds the record for the fastest visa application in the world.
One of our users completed their visa application in just 87 seconds. Although the Germany Schengen visa application is not an e-visa application, you can still apply for it online.
The visa fee for a Germany Schengen visa depends on if you are applying for an adult or a minor. Let's break it down:
Germany visa fee for adults: 80 EUR
Germany visa fee for children between 6-12: 40 EUR
Germany visa fee for children younger than 6: Free
Now that you clearly understand the basics, let's discuss the important requirements. First, we'll look at some of the documents you'll need and details about the photo requirements.
Then, we'll discuss the financial requirements and some free tools you can use when gathering your Germany visa requirements.
What Are The Germany Schengen Visa Document Requirements?
What Are The Schengen Visa Photo Requirements?
What Are The Financial Requirements To Travel To Germany?
Free Atlys Tools You Can Use To Travel With Certainty
Unlike US citizens, some US Green Card Holders must apply for a visa to Germany from the US. Those who need a Germany Schengen visa must have the following documents when applying:
A valid passport not older than 10 years
A return flight ticket or flight itinerary
2 Passport photos that meet the requirements
Copies of your previous Schengen visas (if applicable)
Proof of sufficient funds (bank statements, employment contract, etc.)
You might need to submit additional documents depending on what type of Germany visa you are applying for. Check out our guide on everything you need to know about Schengen visas.
Now that we've covered the required documents, let's look at the [photo requirements]:
You can now use Atlys' free passport photo tool to get yours. It's as easy as taking/uploading a photo, and the tool crops and resizes everything for you.
2 identical photos (not older than 6 months)
Must be in color
Size: 35mm (width) x 45mm (height)
Your head must be in the middle and facing the camera
You must have a natural facial expression
Ensure your photo does not have marks, creases, or stains
Please check out our Schengen visa photo requirements guide for more information.
As I mentioned, Germany requires you to prove that you have at least 45 EUR per day.
"I don't understand this."
Let me explain:
If you are traveling to Germany for 14 days, you must have at least 45 EUR per day. This means you must have a total of 630 EUR for 14 days in Germany.
"Why is it important?"
Because you must prove to the border officials that you are traveling for tourism and not looking for work. Therefore, you have enough money to support yourself during your trip.
Suppose you need a visa to Germany, but someone sponsors your trip. In that case, we suggest you add a sponsorship letter to your application.
I know you will be very excited about this next section because I am. You've probably noticed that we've linked some of our tools, such as the flight itinerary and hotel itinerary tools.
These tools were created by travelers for travelers to make traveling easier. Here's a list of Atlys' free tools that will make your next visa application a breeze:
Booking visa appointments can be confusing. That's why we suggest you use our visa appointment tool I mentioned above.
Here's how you'll use it:
Step 1: Go to our visa appointment tool
Step 2: Select The Country You Are Traveling To
Step 3: Select an appointment slot
Step 4: Enter your email address
Once you have verified your information, you will get an email verifying your visa appointment booking.
Also, the German Embassy decides how many appointments they are willing to take. That's why it's important to ensure you book yours well in advance with Atlys' free appointment tool.
Okay, now you know about our fancy tools, but how can you use them to apply for your visa?
We've made an easy 6-step guide on getting your visa to Germany from the US.
Please remember: Whether you are applying through Atlys or yourself, you can still use our free tools to get your visa without a hassle.
Here's how you'll apply for your visa:
Step 1: Gather All The Required Documents
Step 2: Fill Out The Germany Schengen Visa Application Form
Step 3: Schedule Your Schengen Visa Appointment
Step 4: Attend Your Germany Schengen Visa Appointment
Step 5: Pay The Germany Schengen Visa Application Fee
Step 6: Collect Your Germany Schengen Visa
First, you'll need to collect all the required documents I mentioned. Ensure that you start collecting these documents as soon as possible.
Remember, if you apply through Atlys, you'll get your required documents via email. These documents must then be used when submitting your visa application.
Note that your documents must be submitted in English or German. You can get your documents translated and certified by a certified translator.
Please do extra reading on certifying your documents before traveling to Germany.
Once you've collected your documents, you can start filling out your German Schengen Visa application form. You can download your application form online and submit it later at your appointment.
When you start filling out your application form, ensure that the information you provide is correct and accurate. If you provide incorrect information, your visa might be denied.
The Atlys app has a function where you can scan your passport's barcode. This means you won't make any mistakes while completing your information.
This can be done by using the convenient appointment tool on Atlys. You can also call your local Embassy to schedule an appointment.
Remember to check which Germany Embassy is near you.
On the day of your appointment, you must travel to your nearest Embassy and attend an in-person interview with an embassy official.
During your interview, you'll be expected to answer some simple questions surrounding your trip and the purpose of your trip. Be sure to answer all these questions honestly and truthfully.
Also, you're required to submit all your supporting documents at your appointment. I advise you to read up on how to ace your Schengen interview
After completing your interview, you'll need to pay the German visa application fee.
You can pay your visa fee with a credit card or debit card. However, I always advise travelers to have at least enough cash if the card facilities are out of order.
Now all you need to do is wait for feedback from the German Embassy. You'll receive feedback via mail, email, or the preferred contact method you've selected.
If your visa is approved, you must travel back to the Embassy to collect your new German Schengen Visa. However, if your visa application is denied, you can appeal the initial visa decision.
The hard part is finally over. But what now?
In this section, we'll discuss what you can expect after applying for your visa.
How Will I Be Notified About My Visa Status?
What Does The Schengen Visa Look Like?
What Can I Expect At Immigration?
You can expect an email 7-15 days after submitting the visa application. This email will state if your visa application is approved or denied.
Once receive the email, you must head to the German Embassy to collect your approved visa.
If you do not hear anything within 2 weeks, I suggest you contact the German Embassy. Remember that you must contact the Embassy where you submitted your application.
You've heard the term visa, but how does a Schengen visa look?
Please note that visas come in different shapes and sizes. For example, the Schengen visa is a sticker visa attached to your passport.
Here's an example of the Germany Schengen Visa:
Arriving at Immigration can be terrifying and stressful. I mentioned earlier that I always get stressed when I see border officials.
Luckily, I have you covered. When you arrive at Immigration, ensure you have the following documents ready:
Your passport (with your visa inside)
Proof that you meet the financial requirements (bank statements, employment contract, sponsorship letter, etc.)
Invitation letter (it's always good to have one when visiting family or friends)
Once the official approves your documents, you will be allowed to enter the Schengen area.
Okay, so we've covered everything about getting a visa to Germany from the US. But now, let's discuss a few tips on the fastest way to get your visa:
Apply At A Smaller Schengen Country
Have A Detailed Cover Letter
Schedule Morning Visa Appointments
The first tip is to use Atlys. With Atlys, it's as easy as downloading the app, entering your travel and personal information, and paying the visa application fee.
Once you've completed the relevant information, Atlys will do the rest for you. No strings attached.
Suppose you decide to rather go through all the hassles yourself. In that case, we suggest you apply for a Schengen visa through a smaller Schengen country.
Remember, you can either apply for a Schengen visa to the country you'll be entering or where you'll spend most of your time.
Here's a list of all the Schengen countries:
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, and Switzerland.
It's very important to include a cover letter when submitting your application. This is because your cover letter serves as communication between you and the Embassy.
Therefore, ensure you have a detailed visa cover letter and that your information is correct. Please check our guide on how to write the perfect cover letter.
We see that travelers leave their visa applications till the last minute. So please ensure you apply at least 2 months before your planned trip.
Embassies can receive large amounts of visa applications, therefore, ensure you plan ahead.
The last thing is to try and schedule a visa for the mornings. The reason, therefore, is visa appointments can run late.
You don't want to book an appointment close to lunch and risk sitting there while staff members take their break.
Rather book an appointment slot when everyone is still fresh and ready for the day.
You're probably so sick of hearing about COVID-19, but unfortunately, it can impact your travel plans. Therefore, I suggest you keep updated with the most recent COVID-19 restrictions.
There are no COVID-19 requirements to enter Germany. This means you do not have to provide the following:
Proof of vaccination
Proof of recovery
Proof of negative COVID-19 test
Germany lifted their travel restrictions on the 12th of July, 2022. This also allows traveling to Germany for all purposes.
I still advise you to always check the latest COVID-19 updates. You can do this when electronically getting your visa to Germany through the Atlys app.
I think we officially covered everything you need to know about the Germany Schengen Visa. However, check our FAQ section for additional information about getting a visa to Germany from the US.
No. ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is only required for German citizens who want to travel to the US. However, citizens from the US must apply for the ETIAS starting in 2023.