Foreign nationals may need a visa to enter Germany. Apply for a visa at a German diplomatic mission at least 2-3 months prior to your departure date. Depending on the visa type and the country, different documents for the visa application are required. For further information about the visa application as well as the necessary documents, you should contact the German Embassy or the German Consulate in your home country.

Please note: In case of a visa requirement, entry without a visa is not permitted and therefore illegal.

The visa application procedure for family members is different from that applying to visiting scientists and may, under certain circumstances, require more time for processing.

A list of the countries whose nationals need a visa to enter Germany
 can be found here.

Citizens from EU- and EEA member states
Citizens from Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus are allowed to enter the Federal Republic of Germany without a visa.

Citizens from these countries do not need to apply for an appropriate residence permit after entering Germany. After arriving and taking up residence in Germany, they only need to observe the general obligation to register with the local residents' registration office. 

Citizens from non-EU member states
For some countries, the visa requirement was lifted if the stay of the respective nationals does not exceed 90 days per half-year and if they have a guest status. These countries are: Albania, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Andorra, Honduras, Monaco, San Marino, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Singapore, Serbia, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela.

Citizens from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and the USA can enter without a visa if they do not intend to take up gainful employment.                A residence permit in Germany must be applied for at the Foreigners Authority / Immigration Office for stays going beyond three months. If citizens from these countries intend to take up an employment that requires approval by the Federal Employment Agency, it is recommended that they apply for a visa prior to travelling to Germany in order to enter into an employment relationship immediately after their arrival.  Otherwise, they may take up the employment relationship only after obtaining a valid residence permit. 

All other nationals, who have not been mentioned so far, need to apply for a visa at the German Embassy or Consulate in their home country before traveling to Germany.


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