Applying for a visa to enter Germany

Created in collaboration with Engagement Global

A Schengen visa is required to enter Germany. The visa application requires a personal interview at the embassy, where all the necessary documents need to be presented. In most cases, the appointment must be made via an online booking system. It may happen that the next appointment is only available two months later. It is therefore important to book an appointment in good time, while making sure that all the necessary documents will be ready by then.

Due to the large number of documents that have to be submitted, it is advisable to start preparing early. The following checklist specifies the documents that are usually required for the visa application (originals and copies). The requirements vary from country to country and may be subject to change, which is why it is essential to do proper research. Detailed information is available, for example, on the website of the German embassy in the country in question.

The following documents, both originals and copies, are generally required:

  • Schengen visa application form
  • A valid passport with enough blank pages
  • A recent biometric photo with a white background
  • A confirmation letter from the employer
  • Confirmation of reservation for the outward and return flight
  • A travel itinerary with dates of arrival and departure
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of sufficient financial means for the trip
    1. Applicants must be able to show that they have sufficient financial means of their own for the trip.
    2. Frequently, this is replaced by a declaration of commitment on the part of the inviting party.
      You need to apply for a declaration of commitment with the competent immigration authority in Germany – preferably as a legal entity and not as a private individual – and send the original to the person making the application. You should research beforehand which documents are required for issuing a declaration of commitment. The documents listed below are for guidance only.
      1. Declaration of commitment from a private individual
        As a general rule, you will have to present a completed application form (to be found on the internet), your pay slips for the previous three months and a health insurance policy for the invited person. In addition, there is also a fee of about €25.
      2. Declaration of commitment from a legal person
        In addition to the completed form, the following must be submitted: a financial report, stating that €750 are available as collateral for each invited person; the latest annual financial accounts; a recent bank statement; an extract from the register of associations in which the chairperson is named; a power of attorney from the chairperson if he/she will not go to the immigration office in person; the passport of the chairperson and, possibly also of the person handing over the documents with power of attorney. A fee of approximately €29 must be paid for each declaration of commitment.
  • Proof of medical insurance, valid for the entire Schengen area and for the entire duration of the stay with a minimum cover of €30,000
  • A letter of invitation from the inviting party with the following information:
    • The personal data of the invited person, as shown on the passport
    • Information about the reason for the trip and the programme
    • A description of the work of the association/organisation
    • The qualifications and significance of the travellers for the partnership/the joint project
    • Information on the existing relationship with the person in question (e.g. photos, correspondence, previous meetings, etc.)
    • Information about financing (especially if public funds are involved)
    • Proof that the travel costs to and within Germany, including accommodation and meals (as well as health insurance) are covered
  • Proof of willingness to return: any document proving that the applicant is firmly rooted in his or her own country of origin will be accepted.

Additional documentation required for minors:

  • A certified copy of the birth certificate
  • A declaration of consent from all persons with custody, signed in the presence of embassy staff; if the guardians are unable to appear in person at the embassy
    • A declaration of consent signed and notarised by all the guardians and copies of the guardians‘ identity documents
    • Proof in the case of sole custody (e.g. a death certificate, divorce certificate with custody agreement, guardianship, etc.)
  • A letter of confirmation from the school, proof of exemption from classes for the duration of the trip
  • Documents issued in Germany should be sent to the partners in the original by post and as a copy by email so that they can be submitted together with the other necessary paperwork. You should find out how long it takes for the standard post to arrive and how secure it is. DHL Express is the fastest and safest way to send the documents. You should allow 5-10 days and about €60 for this.
  • The decision whether to grant the visa lies with the German embassy in the respective country. If the application for a Schengen visa is rejected, there is the possibility of lodging an appeal (remonstration). Should this become necessary, the German partners should also assist by submitting additional documents.