Germany Schengen Visa
Whether you are looking to spend a couple of months in Germany, perhaps for a work-related seminar, or to stay with relatives, or book an InterRail trip for example, then the simplest, most hassle-free method of traveling there, and then to virtually all the western European countries, is with a Schengen visa Germany.
Most EU countries and one or two outside of the EU agreed, in the mid-1980s, to work toward simplifying cross-border travel by abolishing controls completely between countries that had signed up to the Schengen agreement and focus resources instead, on strengthening the border controls with non-Schengen countries. (Schengen is the town in Luxembourg where the agreement took place.) However, there are two noticeable exceptions: Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
A Schengen visa permits you to visit 26 of the following European countries (including Germany) for a total period of 90 days over a six month period:
Austria Germany Lithuania Slovenia
Belgium Greece Luxemburg Spain
Czech Republic Hungary Malta Sweden
Denmark Iceland Netherlands Norway Switzerland Estonia Italy Poland
Finland Latvia Portugal
France Liechtenstein Slovakia
If you plan to hop in and out of the Schengen zone you will need to apply for a multi-entry visa, which allows you to move in and out of the zone over a six month period, but you can still only spend a maximum of 90 days in Schengen countries.
To apply for a Schengen visa you will require the following paperwork:
The application form must be completed either in English or German
The correct passport sized photographs (they must comply with the requirements set out in the visa details)
A valid and current national passport
Bank statements that cover the last three months
A letter of confirmation from your health insurance policy that compensates for a minimum of €30,000 worth of emergency medical treatment
A letter of reference from your employer
Some proof of individual/group travel itinerary, including hotel reservations, and return airline ticket
A valid driver’s license and/or utility bill to prove your residency to the consular where you plan to apply for the visa
Where and how do you apply?
You will need to apply at the embassy of the country you plan to enter first (or your main destination): the German embassy in this case. If this is your first application for a Schengen visa you must visit the embassy in person with all the correctly filled out forms and the valid documentation mentioned previously. If you have travelled before on a Schengen visa you may now apply via an agent or travel agency. It is better not to leave things to the last minute: apply at least three weeks in advance of your planned departure, or your visa may not be ready by the time of departure.
Paying for your visa
The Schengen visa must be paid for via bank transfer—the embassies won’t accept cheques are credit card transactions. Furthermore, the money order must be no older than two months and in the name of the consulate of your home country. A Schengen visa was €60.00 in 2008, but prices may have increased since this time.
It’s important to note that if a visa is rejected the cost of the visa will not be reimbursed.
N.B A Schengen visa does not permit you to work or study—if you are planning on any of these activities, and for a period of more than 90 days, you will need to apply for a student or work visa (a completely separate process).