The Federal Republic of Germany is world’s number one venue for trade exhibitions with two thirds of world’s leading events in the trade field taking place there. The country hosts more than 100,000 foreigners per year who come with the sole purpose of visiting the trade fairs and exhibitions, while another over 20,000 enter the country as exhibitors and fair participants.

Unfortunately, while quite a considerable number of these people do not need to obtain any type of permit in order to be part of a Trade Fair or Exhibition, citizens coming from more than two thirds of the world countries need to obtain a visa in order to be able to visit and participate in these events.

Who needs a Germany Trade Fair & Exhibitions visa?

If you wish to take part at a trade fair or exhibition in Germany, either as a participant or a visitor, the first thing you must do is ask yourself: Do I need a Germany Trade Fair & Exhibitions visa? The answer to that question is simple. If you belong to one of the 62 countries under the visa-waiver program the nationals of which do not need a visa to enter Germany, then all you have to do is purchase your tickets and attend the events you have been planning to.

On the other hand, if you are the national of a third-world country the citizens of which have not established any agreement on the abolition of visa regime, then you shall go through all the procedures to obtain a Germany Trade Fair and Exhibition visa, which include collecting the required documents, attending an interview, and paying a fee as well.

To many the process is tiring, and often frustrating, since a lot of people fail to understand what the embassy wants, in order to issue them a visa. In this article, we will go clearly through each requirement, criteria and other parts of the application process, explaining them and giving important details that you shall know for a successful visa application. If you follow them carefully, your chances to get the visa will be much higher.

Germany Trade Fair & Exhibitions Visa Requirements

As per every other visa type, the German immigration authorities require from the applicants to submit some documents at the German embassy or consulate in their home country in order to prove their identity and other information on their background, as well as their purpose behind their intended trip to Germany.

In general, the requirements for a Trade Fair & Exhibitions Visa are the same in every German embassy around the world. However, there might be less or extra requirements depending on your nationality. This is why, the best thing to do before you start gathering the required documents, is to contact the German embassy in your country and ask them for an updated checklist of the required documents for a Trade Fair & Exhibitions Visa.  The required documents are as follows:

Commonly Required Documents for a Germany Visa

The first documents that are always required from the applicant to submit are those that prove their identity and other basic information on the visa applicant. These are the documents required for every type of Germany visa in general, as following:

  • Application form – fully completed, printed twice and signed in both copies at the end. Remember that the information in the application form must comply with the information in the other documents you are required to submit.
  • Two identical photographs – taken within the last three months according to the strict photo requirements explained in this article.
  • Declaration of Accuracy of Information
  • Valid national passport – note that your passport must be no older than 10 years, and with a validity of at least three months beyond your intended stay in Germany and the whole Schengen Zone, and also in compliance with the other passport requirements.
  • One copy of your passport’s data page (A4 size copy)
  • Old passport – if you have any older passport at home, which has visa stamps and stickers in its pages, then you should submit those to the embassy too. In case you have more than one old passport at home, then submit them all, but do not staple them. Instead, just tie them with a rubber band.
  • Schengen Travel Visa Insurance – a document that confirms you have purchased travel health insurance that covers not only the territory of Germany but also the whole Schengen territory, stating coverage for emergency medical treatment or hospitalization with a minimum of 30,000 Euros.
  • Proof of financial status:
    • If employed: Payslips of the past three months/employment contract
    • If self-employed: Certificate of Proprietorship or other proof of ownership (proof of land title, proof of income from agriculture (sales form) etc.)
    • Personal bank statement of the past three months with sufficient funds
    • Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Form 16 (Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary)
  • Means of Subsistence – proof that shows the applicant has the means to cover the expenses during their whole stay in Germany.
  • Proof of Accommodation – which can be either a hotel booking, or a letter of invitation from a friend or family member that confirms you will be staying over at their place throughout your stay in Germany and that also that the host has enough room for you in their home.
  • Flight Itinerary – which includes flight reservation, rail tickets or other means of transport that you are planning to travel to Germany with. You can use the visa consultation services like this one or find one online.

Specific Trade Fair & Exhibitions Visa Requirements

On the other hand, the applicant will also have to submit some other documents that show the reason for their trip to Germany, as follows:

  • Documents proving the purpose behind the applicant’s intended trip:
    • A bill of the voucher + a paid trade fair participant voucher – for a trade fair exhibitor candidate
    • The official invitation as a visitor, or a paid entry pass as a fair visitor – for a trade fair visitor candidate
    • Marketing material of the trade fair about to visit – showing the information about the candidate’s concerned part in such an event
    • Documents showing the relationship between the company’s profile with the theme of the fair/exhibition (I.e. Company’s products/services related to such theme)
  • A cover letter from the host company – showing the reason for travel and the detailed travel program
  • A document showing the eligibility of the sending company to do business (business license)
  • If the applicant is an employee she/he must submit the following requirements:
    • Bank statements of the past 6 months
    • The work contract (with detailed information about the length of it, the job position, salary level)
    • Income tax return from salary
    • An approved leave of absence from the employer, that must be signed and stamped, and contain the dates of leave
    • A letter of commitment from the employer to cover the costs of the candidate
  • If the applicant is the owner of a company/employer, then she/he must submit the following documents:
    • Company’s Bank statements of the past 3 months, showing candidate’s right and limits to withdraw money from such account
    • Certificate of business ownership – showing candidate as the owner
    • Document showing ownership of immovable goods in their homeland
    • Company’s Income tax return of profit

Germany Trade Fair & Exhibitions Application Process

You should apply for a Germany Trade Fair and Exhibitions Visa at your home country’s German Embassy or Consulate. In some countries, there are visa application centres that accept visa applications instead.

You are highly recommended to apply for a visa at least 3 weeks before your travel date to meet any processing delays.

The application process is very similar to every other Germany visa. There are some specific steps you should follow to apply for a Germany visa, as listed and clearly explained in this article. Do not schedule an appointment if you have not gathered all the required documents, since they are all mandatory and none is optional.

Germany Trade Fair & Exhibitions Visa Fee

Since February 2020, the Germany Visa fee is 80 euros. Each applicant must pay the visa fee in order for their application to be processed.  The fee can be paid in the local currency according to the exchanges rates approved by the embassy. There are reduced visa fees for some categories of visa applicants, while other categories are exempt from paying the visa fee.

Please note the visa fees will not be reimbursed in case of the visa being rejected or the application is withdrawn and the price is subject to change at any time.

Germany Trade Fair & Exhibitions Visa Processing

German embassies process visa applications within a period of 10 to 15 days, as a general rule. However, there may be exceptions when the processing of an application takes more than that, depending on the specific situation of the applicant.

On the other hand, there may be delays in the processing of your application if the embassy is receiving many applications at the time. That is the reason why you are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible, in case you encounter any implications throughout your visa application.

Germany Trade Fair & Exhibitions Visa Validity

When you obtain your Trade Fair and Exhibition Visa, take care to check its validity on the visa sticker affixed in your passport.  The validity of your visa depends on the embassy that issued it. However, your visa can be single-entry, which means that you will be allowed to enter Germany only once and remain there for the number of days that are stated in your visa, i.e. 7 days.

On the other hand, you may also be issued a multiple entry visa, which means you will be able to enter in Germany more than once, without exceeding the number of days given in your visa sticker i.e. 16 days. There will also be indicated the period of time from which to which you will be able to spend these days in Germany, i.e. 15 May to 31 July.

Finally, if you are lucky enough to get a multiple-entry visa with a validity of more than six months, then you should know that the 90-days per 6 months rule will apply to you. You should be very careful not to violate it. Always check that in the past 180 days you have not spent more than 90 days in Germany, and the whole Schengen Area.