Germany Tourist & Visitor Visa
The Old Town Hall in Bamberg, the Schwerin Castle, Nuremberg Christmas Market, Octoberfest, Cologne Cathedral, and many other places and events in Germany, have resulted to be very alluring for travelers around the world. In addition, the variety of beers, delicious bread and sausages, people’s hospitality and much more, have attracted 459.6 million visitors to the Federal Republic of Germany in 2017 alone.
However, getting into Germany is not an easy piece of cake for everyone, since a visa is required for many. Despite of the fact that Germany has reached visa facilitation agreements with many countries, there are still many more around the world, the citizens of which need to obtain a visa, even for short-stays and tourism.
If you are planning to visit Germany, for a period shorter than three months for either visiting family members or friends, or sightseeing, then you may need a Schengen visa.
In this article, you can learn more about what a Schengen visa for tourism / visiting Germany is, the application process, requirements, fees and much more.
What is a Tourist/Visitor Visa to Germany
A Schengen Tourism / Visitor visa to Germany is a visa established by the Schengen states, which gives the opportunity to its holder to visit not only Germany, but also all of the 26 Schengen member countries. It is issued in the form of a sticker affixed to the passport of the traveler.
The Schengen visa for tourism purposes or visiting friends and family members, limits you to only traveling and sightseeing throughout the Schengen area.
Please note that with a Schengen visa you are not allowed to work or study, thus it is mandatory that you apply for a student visa or work visa (national visa), or other visa types according to your purpose of entry, if you wish to enter Germany for other than tourism.
How to obtain a German Tourist/Visitor Visa
In order to get a German Tourist/Visitor visa, you will have to follow the application process steps listed below:
- Collect the required documents. See the list below!
- Figure out where you need to apply. This could be the German embassy / consulate / visa center in your home country
- Appoint an interview. You may appoint it online or in person at the German consulate / embassy.
- Pay the visa fee.
- Attend the interview. The interview may last around 20 minutes, during which the visa consular will ask you questions about your trip and will require your documents.
- Wait for a response on you application.
Where to apply for a Germany Tourist/Visitor Visa
If Germany is your only Schengen destination, depending on how the German authorities have regulated visa application in your country, you may have to apply at:
- The German embassy
- The German consulate
- Visa center
When to apply for a Tourist/Visitor Visa to Germany
The earliest you can file you Schengen visa application is at most three months before your intended trip towards Germany. Whereas, the latest you can do so, is two weeks prior to your trip to Germany.
Visa fees for a Tourist/Visitor Visa
You will need to pay a visa fee in order for your application to be processed. Cost of a Schengen visa as of 2008 is €60. However, there are categories that are exempt from paying the visa fee or have to pay a reduced fee. Make sure you check if you belong to any of them, before you pay the fee.
Visa Processing Time
The processing of short-stay visas to Germany take around ten days to be processed. However, at times when the embassy is processing a lot of visa applications, tourism visas may take a bit longer, since business visas or others are treated with more priority. This is the main reason why you are suggested to file your application for a German tourism / visitor visa as soon as possible.
Tourist/Visitor Schengen Visa Validity
The longest time you can remain in Germany with a tourist Schengen visa is three months. However, the German embassy in your home country is the one that decides how many days you can spend in Germany, and within which dates. Please understand that there is a slight difference between the visa validity and the duration of stay.