The Federal Republic of Germany, one of world’s top destinations for tourism and education, known for its low unemployment rate and job shortage in specific fields, has established strict rules and immigration laws, some of which have been adopted in the Schengen policies, common for all Schengen member states, for those wishing to enter its territory.

While there are categories and nationals of countries that are privileged with entering in Germany visa-free, there are also other categories and nationals, which have to go through all the process of meeting requirements and attending interviews, in order to obtain a visa that grants them with the permission to enter the Western European country.

The first thing that a person planning to visit Germany for a short stay should do, is ask themselves: Do I need a short-stay Germany visa? In order to answer this question, you should think about the purpose of entry in Germany. If you are planning to go there for a short-stay, for tourism / visiting or business, then the chances that you do not need a Germany short-stay visa are higher.

Who Doesn’t Need a Short-Stay Germany Visa?

Germany, as a member state of the Schengen Area, permits the nationals of 62 countries part of the visa-waiver program to enter its territory without the need to obtain a visa first.

According to Germany short-stay entry rules, the residents of 62 third-world countries are permitted to enter Germany visa-free and remain there for a period of 90 days within 6 months. During this period, visitors are not permitted to work, but they can engage in business.

The countries that fall under the visa-waiver program are as following:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • El Salvador

  • Georgia
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Macao
  • Macedonia
  • Malaysia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro

  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Korea

  • Taiwan
  • Timor Leste
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela

The European Commission has already adopted the so-called Electronic Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which the nationals of the above-mentioned countries will have to obtain in order to be permitted to enter the Schengen Zone starting January 2021. ETIAS will cost 7 euros, and will be valid for three to ten years, or until the expiration of its holder’s passport. The procedures to obtain one will be very simple, and the application process is estimated to last around 10 to 20 minutes.

Whereas, if the nationals of any of these visa-exempt countries wish to enter Germany for long stays and purposes like medical treatment, study, work, employment, they will have to obtain a Germany long-stay visa.

Who Needs a Germany Visa?

On the other hand, there are the rest of the world countries, the citizens of which must obtain a visa, previous to their trip to Germany. The application process for a Germany visa includes gathering the Germany visa required documents, attending an interview, paying the Germany Visa fee, and waiting for a decision on their application.

If you are planning to enter Germany for a short stay and you belong to one of the following countries then you will have to obtain a short-stay visa:

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burma/Myanmar
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Cuba
  • Rep. Of Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic

  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Pakistan
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan

  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Micronesia
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Northern Marianas
  • Oman
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Rwanda

  • Samoa
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Short-Stay Visa Exempt Categories

Even if you are from one of the above-listed countries the nationals of which need to obtain a short-stay visa to enter Germany, there are still chances that you may not need a visa, in case you also belong to one of the following categories:

  • You are also a citizen of the EU/EEA/EFTA countries
  • You are the partner or the child of an EU/EEA/EFTA national with who you are travelling together
  • You are the holder of a Diplomatic, Service or Special Passport from Chad, Ghana, Philippines, Thailand and Turkey
  • You are the holder of a Diplomatic Passport from Algeria, Georgia, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Russian Federation, South Africa and Tunisia.

Do I need a visa to go to Germany from UK?

Since the United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen Area, and starting March 29, 2019, it will not be part of the European Union either, citizens of the third-world countries residing in the UK  for at least three months that plan on visiting Germany are required to get a German visa in order to be able to enter Germany.

As per UK nationals, they will most likely fall under the ETIAS program, once it goes fully operational in 2021. For more information in this regard, please click Germany Visa for the UK Citizens.

Do I need a visa to go to Germany from US?

Some of the US residents, depending on their status in the US and the purpose of their entry in Germany, as well as some other factors, may be obliged to obtain a visa first before entering the country. These categories are as following:

  • US passport holders who wish to enter Germany for purposes other than tourism, business or airport transit
  • Foreigners in US with a residence permit with validity shorter than three months beyond their planned date of leaving Germany will have to obtain a visa in order to be permitted to enter Germany.
  • US passport holders that have previously been refused entry in Germany without a visa
  • Depending on specific cases, there might be people who do not belong to any of the categories mentioned above that still need a visa.

For more information, please click Germany Visa for the US Citizens and US Passport Holders.

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