Germany is the eighth most visited country in the world. More than 450 million tourists visit touristic sites in Germany. This includes about 84 million foreign visitors and over 375 million domestic tourists. Tourists come from all over the world. Some of them need a German Visitor / Tourist visa. However, some of these foreign tourists do not need a visa. Most foreign tourists come from countries like Switzerland, Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The main reasons why tourists visit Germany include the countryside, German culture and outdoor activities like football. Germany has touristic sites like the Neuschwanstein Castle, Cologne Cathedral, Berliner Fernsehturm, Reichstag Building and Olympiapark. Also, tourists are attracted by the German dishes and the variety of beers.
However, you need a Schengen visa to visit Germany. Notwithstanding, there are some countries whose citizens do not need a German visa to travel to Germany. Whatever the case, tourists usually have a limited amount of time to stay in Germany. Read the rest of this article to know everything concerning the German Schengen Visitor/Tourist visa.
What is a Tourist/Visitor Visa to Germany
The German visitor/tourist visa enables its bearer to travel to Germany for sightseeing or visiting family and friends. Also, with this German Schengen tourist visa, the holder can travel to any other Schengen country within the period the visa is valid. This is used for tourism and visiting all over the Schengen area.
You cannot work or study with a German Schengen tourist visa. Apply for a Study visa if you intend to take a study program in Germany. Otherwise, apply for a Work Visa if you got a job in Germany.
Where do I apply for a Germany Tourist/Visitor Visa
If you are planning sightseeing or to visit family or friends in Germany, you will need to get a German visitor/tourists visa. You can apply for this visa at a German consulate, German embassy or visa centre. This depends on whichever one is closest to your location.
Applying for a tourist/visitor visa for Schengen at the German embassy or consulate means that:
- You will enter the Schengen area through Germany. That is, you will first land in Germany.
- You will spend more days in Germany than in any other Schengen country.
Notwithstanding, you can apply for a Schengen tourist visa at any other Schengen country’s embassy. This will also permit you to travel to Germany.
When do I apply for a Tourist/Visitor Visa to Germany
It is important to start your application at least three months before your planned travel date. In most cases, applications for visitor/tourist visa take more than 2 weeks to process. So to avoid delays, start the process at least 3 months before your planned travel date. This is for the worst case. Processing delay is as a result of many applications being handled. Also, it may be some delaying with the applicant’s documents.
Do I need a German Visitor and Tourist to travel to Germany?
Not every foreigner needs a visa to go sightseeing in Germany. Check here to know if you need a German visa to travel to Germany. The Schengen member countries set up rules and policies that exempt certain nationals from getting a visa before moving to Germany.
Tourists/visitors that need a German Visitor/Tourist Visa
Citizens from third world countries need to apply for a German visitor/tourist visa to visit German. These individuals belong to one of these categories:
- Nationals with no visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen member states.
- Nationals with visa liberalization agreement with Schengen states. However, the individual was blocked at the border or airport by guards from entering visa-free.
Tourists/visitors that do not need a German Visitor/Tourist Visa
Individuals who fall in any of the groups below does not need a visitor or tourist visa to Germany.
- National of a country which has established a visa-free regime with the Schengen member states.
- Citizen of a Schengen member country.
- National from a third world country which does not have a visa-free agreement with Schengen member countries. However, the individual is in a Schengen country with a:
- Permanent residence or settlement permit for a Schengen member state.
- National visa issued by a Schengen member state.
- Valid Schengen visa which is valid for the Schengen territory.
Most noteworthy, visitors or tourists who do not need a visa to enter Germany will have to obtain an ETIAS before travelling to any Schengen state. This will be effective from January 01, 2021.
How to obtain a German Tourist/Visitor Visa
Follow the application steps listed below to get your German visitor/tourist visa.
- Gather all the required documents. The list of required documents is listed herein.
- Find the closest German consulate or embassy or visa centre to you.
- Book an interview. It is recommended you do this online.
- Pay the necessary visa fee.
- Go for the interview at the German embassy. The interview always takes less than 15 minutes in most cases. The consular officer will ask questions related to your reason for travelling. Also, the officer studies the submitted documents.
- Finally, wait to hear the response on your application.
Requirements for the Tourist visa to Germany
Most visa types always have a list of required documents to be submitted by the applicant. There is a general list of required documents for a German visa. Below is a list of required documents for a German visitor/tourist visa.
- Fill the application form: Fill this form with honest information. Of course, the information in the form should match the required documents. Sign the form at the end and submit it.
- Valid national passport: Read about passport requirements.
- Passport-size photographs: Please these photos should be identical and fulfil the visa photo requirements as set by the Schengen states.
- Declaration of Accuracy of Information
- Financial statement: Personal bank statement which is less than 3 months old.
- Proof of accommodation: You must show at least that you have hotel reservations. You can book hotels at Similarly, you can show that you will be living with a family member or friend. Therefore, you will provide an invitation letter from a friend or family residing in Germany.
- Health Insurance: You must have at least a €30 as your health insurance.
- Proof of flight reservation: Your flight reservation, or the ticket if you already bought one.
- In the case of minors travelling without their parents:
- copy of parents’ passport page
- Form signed by both parents and
- letter of consent signed by both parents.
- Driver’s license or equivalent: This is proof of your residence. It tells the consular officer your current address in your home country.
- Proof of civil status: you could submit a marriage certificate here. Also, you can submit a birth certificate.
- Invitation letter: This is a letter from the person inviting you to Germany. It should carry details like your accommodation, address and contact details of the host.
- Cover letter: This is a letter you write explaining your reason for travelling to Germany. Hence, this document should contain information on accommodation, length of stay and activities in Germany.
- Letter of leave from your company. This is important if you are employed.
- Proof of finance: A bank statement which is less than 3 months old. Also, a letter of sponsorship by another person.
German Tourist/Visitor Visa fees
Generally, the Schengen visa is €60. This is the same for the German tourist visa fee. The German tourist visa fee is a non-refundable €60. Most noteworthy, the visa cost may change at any time. However, some categories of people have lower application fees. Please check the German embassy to be sure of the fee you have to pay. Also, some group of people are exempted from paying the application fees.
How long will it take to process my application for a visitor visa?
Short-stay visas like the tourist/visit visa take about 10 business days to process. However, there may be delays due to a high number of applications being treated. This is why you should start your application process early enough to avoid delays.
How long is my German Schengen Tourist visa valid?
The duration of your stay in Germany is determined by your home embassy. The longest time you can stay in Germany on a Schengen tourist visa is 3 months. This is the validity of your visa. However, the German embassy in your home country determines the duration of your stay.
Take note of the difference between the validity of visa, and duration of stay. A tourist visa is valid for 3 months, but the consular officer may tell you to stay in Germany for only 1 month. Therefore you have to obey or face deportation or bans.
Read about the German work visa.
Read the latest articles on our blog