Germany Visas, Permits and Immigration

by Jose Marc Castro on August 11, 2009

VISAgermany200German Passports now have microchips with a loop antenna. Its microchip and antenna are not visible to the naked eye. An ICAO biometric passport symbol can be seen on the bottom portion of the passport. The biometric chip stores all necessary information about the passport holder. This data can also be seen printed on the passport including a digital copy of the passport picture in JPEG format. A digital signature protects the data inside the microchip.

German Passports and Visas

German authorities made some changes to the passport in 2007. Some of the changes made by German authorities to the passport include:

1.    Applicants must provide 2 scanned fingerprints in digital format. This will be added to the microchip.
2.    Passport validity for holders below the age of 24 increased from 4 to 6 years. Applicants above 24 years will receive a passport with validity of 10 years.
3.    German authorities deleted the field stating the holder’s “pseudonym or religious name”.
4.    The so-called “alpha-numeric pseudo-randomly assigned higher entropy serial number” replaced the previously assigned 10-digit numeric serial number. They did this to improve the serial number’s entropy from the preceding 35 digits to 45 bits. This will improve the cryptographic key strength of the BAC (Basic Access Control) mechanism of the microchip by 10 bits.

German Passport Issuance

Local municipalities have registration offices that issue German Ids and passports. A German citizen must personally apply for a new passport. The information on the newly issued passport is a legitimate copy of the personal information found in registration documents. These registration documents are stored locally.

Passports are centrally manufactured in Bundesdruckerei GmbH. This place was originally a German printing office owned by the government in the past. It was privatized for commercial security printing purposes in 2000.

Passports for children and provisional passports are obtained locally from local municipalities. This means children and citizens living in German provinces are not required to go to Bundesdruckerei GmbH just to get their passports.

German passports are globally accepted except in countries like the US. American passports do not contain a biometric microchip.

The German government will be willing to provide another passport once applicants prove that another German passport is necessary. The issued additional passport has an overlapping validity. These are only valid for 6 years, but the original passport is still valid for 10 years.

The German Consulate or Embassy requires nationals of some countries to have a passport. These include citizens of:

•    Australia;
•    Canada;
•    United Kingdom;
•    only one member of the family for European Union member states; and
•    United States of America.

The countries mentioned above are exempt from visa requirements. This means nationals of these countries do not need to present or obtain a visa. They also do not need to show their return tickets.

Germany has been a member of the Schengen Agreement since 1995. This means nationals of European Union member states are free to enter Germany without a passport and a visa if they have an ID card. EU citizens planning to stay in Germany for more than 3 months must register with the German government. Normally, registrations are done after 7 days from arrival. Nationals of countries mentioned above are allowed to stay in Germany for the following periods:

a.    EU nationals are free to stay in Germany as long as they want.
b.    Australian, American, and Canadian citizens may stay for a 90-day duration within a 6-month period. The amount spent in other Schengen countries is cumulative to that of the stay in Germany.

For other citizens whose countries are not exempted from visa and passport requirements, it is best to contact a German Embassy in your country of origin.

German Visa Requirements for American Citizens

American citizens do not need a visa when they enter Germany for tourism or business purposes. They can also visit Schengen countries since Germany is part of the Schengen Agreement. Americans staying in Schengen areas must not exceed 3 months or 90 days within a 6-month period. US citizen visitors must also present a passport with a validity of 3 months beyond the intended stay, return or onward airline tickets, and proof of sufficient finances covering all expenses for the whole stay.

Schengen Visa

This visa is valid for European countries such as:

•    Belgium;
•    Austria;
•    Denmark;
•    Finland;
•    Czech Republic;
•    Estonia;
•    France;
•    Greece;
•    Iceland;
•    Italy;
•    Germany;
•    Hungary;
•    Latvia;
•    Malta;
•    Luxembourg;
•    Lithuania;
•    Poland;
•    Norway;
•    The Netherlands;
•    Slovenia;
•    Spain;
•    Slovakia;
•    Sweden; and
•    Portugal.

Overall, the Schengen Area has 24 participating European countries. The German Embassy or Consulate can issue this type of visa and travel within these 24 countries within 90 days.

Issued visas before December 20, 2007 by new Schengen member states are not valid for the whole Schengen Border. This is only valid for Estonia, Malta, Slovakia, Latvia, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary.

German Visa Requirements for Non-American Citizens

Tourist Visas

a.    2 signed and fully completed visa application forms;
b.    Completed and signed declaration form;
c.    the original passport;
d.    1 blank page on your passport for visa stamp;
e.    completed credit card as well as cover page authorization papers;
f.    a passport with at least a 6-month validity beyond the intended stay;
g.    2 recent passport-sized pictures;
h.    Proof of an accident, travel, or health insurance coverage;
i.    The health, accident, and travel insurance must be accredited in Germany and the coverage would at least be 37000 US dollars;
j.    present proof of sufficient funds such as recent bank statements;
k.    photocopy or official copy of hotel confirmation showing accommodations for the entire period of stay in Germany;
l.    photocopy of itinerary or airline tickets (round-trip tickets);
m.    a copy of the Registered Alien Card, Green Card, or official employment-type visa other than the B1 or B2 visa; and
n.    an interview done after application review.

Business Visas

a.    2 signed and fully completed visa application forms;
b.    completed and signed declaration form;
c.    the original passport;
d.    1 blank page on your passport for visa stamp;
e.    completed credit card as well as cover page authorization papers;
f.    a passport with at least 6 months validity beyond the intended stay;
g.    2 recent passport-sized pictures;
h.    proof of an accident, travel, or health insurance coverage;
i.    the health, accident, and travel insurance must be accredited in Germany and the coverage at least 37000 US dollars;
j.    present proof of sufficient funds such as recent bank statements;
k.    photocopy or official copy of hotel confirmation showing the accommodations for the entire period of stay in Germany;
l.    photocopy of itinerary or airline tickets;
m.    copy of the Registered Alien Card, Green Card, or official employment-type visa other than the B1 or B2 visa;
n.    an interview is done after reviewing the application; and
o.    a letter of invitation from the host or company along with a letter from the employer in the USA addressed to the following:

•    Embassy of the German Federal Republic,
•    Visa Section, (Insert Country)

Business visas are available for 90 days within every 6 months.

This letter must explain the following:

•    Performing duties
•    Reason of travel
•    The letter must be signed by the company officer
•    Guarantee financial support for the businessperson traveling including the return ticket to the country of origin

As for student visas, foreign students can stay for one year after obtaining a university degree in order to find a job matching their qualifications.

Visa Costs

The following are visa processing costs.

The TDS fee is 60 Euros.

Consular Fees

Single Entry Visa, 30 days – 60 Euros
Single Entry Visa, 31 to 90 days – 60 Euros

Multiple Entry Visa, 31 to 90 days – 60 Euros
Airport Transit Visa – 60 Euros

Important Things to Remember When Applying for a German Visa

All fees charged by the TDS will be paid after the submission of all requirements. It is not refundable even if the Embassy denies the grant of a visa. The Embassy will reimburse half of the TDS fee in case the applicant is denied.

There are some cases where there are delays of several weeks or days when issuing visas to foreign nationals. Contact the German consulate for more details before submitting the application documents or purchasing travel tickets, which are subject to cancellation fines.

Include a money order, credit card authorization or a check payable to Travel Document Systems, Inc. for the per visa TDS handling fee. Also, include the Embassy Consular fee as well as the shipping fee.

The German Consulate or Embassy may request for additional documents from any applicant.

This was discussed in the the Australia Expat Forum last March 17,  2009:

Have you checked to see what visa suits you? There is a link to the DIAC website in the ‘PLEASE READ….’ post and there is also a link to the visa wizard which has the most common forms of visa.

Take a look through the visas but be aware that most of them require experience in a skill / trade.

If companies can get graduates locally then they are unlikely to recruit from abroad so unless you are in demand you may not get company sponsorship.

German Immigration Regulations

The German Immigration Act  (“Gesetz zur Steuerung und Begrenzung der Zuwanderung und zur Regelung des Aufenthalts und der Integration von Unionsbürgern und Ausländern”) is also called by Germans as “Zuwanderungsgesetz”. This law is about the residence, integration and residence of foreign nationals.

“Beschäftigungsverordnung” is an ordinance about the admission of foreign nationals for employment purposes.

“Aufenthaltsverordnung” is an ordinance about the residency of foreigners.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Betty Bonareri February 16, 2012 at 4:29 am

I am a Non EU spouse (African) Married to a EU citizen – British. The marriage ceremony was in England. I have 2 Non EU children aged 8 and 18. My spouse has lived and works in Germany for 20 years. I and the 2 children will soon migrate to Germany. I would like to know what documentation I would need for me and my non EU children to live and work/study in Germany.

I'm eager for some advise.

Betty

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