How do I apply for a visa?

You must apply for your visa in your home country before travelling to Germany. We explain who to contact and what documents you need to apply. 

apply for a visa © iStockphoto / belterz

Visa explainer video

Do you require a visa to enter Germany? Our video explains, using the example of the Blue Card, the most important steps and gives you tips from the application process to your arrival in Germany.

Entry visa process

You apply for a visa at the German embassy in your country. Make sure that you apply for the visa that corresponds to the actual purpose of your stay. This is the only way to ensure trouble-free extension or conversion of your visa by the foreign nationals' registration authority of your place of residence in Germany. For example, it is impossible to stay permanently on a visa that was issued only for a temporary stay.

The best thing to do is to inquire in plenty of time to the German embassy in your country about which documents you need for your application.

Visa application forms

Fees for visas and temporary and permanent residence permits

If you wish to apply for a visa or a temporary or permanent Residence permit, you will usually have to pay a fee. The amount depends on the place, duration and purpose of your stay. 

The fee for visa of any category is 60 euros. As a general rule, you can pay this to the German mission abroad in your local currency.The maximum fee for a first application for a Residence permit and EU Blue Card is 140 euros. The fee for a settlement permit is 260 euros.

However, under certain circumstances you can get a reduction or even be exempted from the fee altogether. For example, the spouses and children of German nationals are exempt from visa fees. Also, if your stay in Germany is funded by a public scholarship, you do not have to pay any visa fees. You can find out more about this from the German mission abroad in your country (visa fees) or your local foreign nationals' registration authority (fees for temporary or permanent residence permits). The Federal Foreign Office also provides a list of visa fees.

Complete category "Visa"

Download (PDF 499 KB)

Information on this portal

The origins and lives of people with a migrant background in Germany (German, English, Spanish)

Skills that are especially sought after (German, English, Spanish)

Information on the Web

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Important information about residence and settlement permits in Germany (German, English, Turkish)

Federal Foreign Office

Information about the Immigration Act (German, English)