What is a Declaration of Commitment?

Declaration of Commitment “Verpflichtungserklärung” (VE) is a document used as proof of secured maintenance funds to get a German visa. By signing this formal obligation letter, a relative, friend or business, who is a legal resident or registered legal entity in Germany, pledges Federal authorities to cover your entire livelihood, medical and return costs related to your visit here.

The costs that the host must cover by signing this letter include subsistence (food, drinks, clothing and alike), accommodation, and medical, nursing and returning costs.

Foreign Office is the authority that decides whether the host meets the criteria to become your financial sponsor. For that reason, an examination against the host’s evidence of incomes, residence rights and accommodation conditions is carried, after their formal application to commit.

What’s the Validity Period of a Letter of Commitment?

Declaration of commitment for Schengen visa are valid for 6 months and for a national visa are valid 5 years since their date of issuance.

If you need to use this document after such a period, you must get a new valid letter of commitment, appropriate for the German visa type you’re applying for.

Where do I get the Formal Obligation Letter as a Visa Applicant?

The formal obligation letter must be mailed to you by your host in their original and signed by such host.

Which are the Qualifying Preconditions to Get a Letter of Commitment?

There are a number of conditions to be fulfilled, so your host may qualify to financially support you, as follows:

  • Your visit plans must be clear. Especially the date of your arrival and departure to/from Germany.
  • Your host must be financially competent. This takes account of the ability to prove they have enough incomes or saved money to cover your maintenance costs.
  • Your host must have a registered living address within Germany.
  • Your host must be a legal resident in Germany. If they’re a foreign resident in Germany, they must have a valid residence or settlement permit, or another residence permit. The validity of such a residence permit should be beyond the period of your visit.
  • Your host must personally undertake the formal obligation. The host should be able to personally sign the obligation at the local “Foreigners Authority”. Another person can apply on behalf of the host with a signed Power of Attorney, accompanied by a photocopy of the host’s passport or national ID card.

What is a Declaration of Commitment for a Short-Term Stay (Schengen-Visa)?

This document confirms that you’ve someone covering your costs during your up to 90 days visit in Germany. This applies to visits to meet with relatives or friends in Germany, attending a business meeting or conference or sightseeing in the country.

A declaration for short-term stay is a mandatory document you need to apply for a German short-term stay also known as a “Schengen” visa.

What is a Declaration of Commitment for a Long-Term Stay (National Visa)?

This document shows you’ve someone covering your cost during your visit lasting more than 90 days in Germany. This takes account of visits for attending a language course, to attend a study preparatory course, to apply for studies. It also includes completing a full-time study or PhD program here. It also includes the period of stay (up to 6 months) as a job-seeker as a graduate from a German university here.

The declaration of commitment for long-term stay is mandatory evidence you need to apply for a German long-term stay visa, also known as a “National visa”.

This evidence cannot be used for German family reunion visas or similar long-term visas.

Which are the Requirements to Apply for a Formal Obligation Letter for a German Visa?

The documents that your host needs to provide when applying for the declaration of commitment for both Schengen and National German visa, are:

  • Duly filled-out Angaben zur Verpflichtungserklärung” Form.
  • Their valid passport. Or, their national ID card.
  • Your valid national passport (Copy).
  • Proof that the host is a legal resident in Germany. (This applies if the host is a foreigner in Germany).
    • Their German residence permit.
    • Their German settlement permit.
    • Another German residence permit of your host.
  • Proof that your host has sufficient incomes or savings.
    • Proof of host’s incomes from employment.
      • Salary statements of the past 6 months. Including that of the spouse (For long-stay visa purposes).
      • Salary statements of the past 3 months (For short-stay visa purposes).
      • Contract of their employment. With a validity period covering at least 6 upcoming
      • Formal letter of the employer issued over the past 2 weeks. It must confirm the host is still their employee.
    • Proof of host’s incomes of unemployment.
      • Determination notice ALG I. Issued by the Federal Employment Agency, showing your host is a recipient of unemployment benefit (ALG I).
    • Proof of host’s incomes from self-employment.
      • Certificate of monthly net incomes. Produced by a tax consultant or from someone else but signed by the host.
      • Existing Business Evaluation (BWA) “Betriebswirtschaftliche Auswertung”. Showing the current cost/profit position of the company. Or, Revenue Surplus Bill.
      • Tax registration certificate. Or, business registration extract. Or, shareholder contract.
      • Proof of monthly contribution for private long-term health insurance.
      • Proof of funds received from a job centre. (If having a start-up funded by a job centre).
      • Latest income tax assessment.
    • Proof of host’s incomes from business activity.
      • Duly completed “Examination Report” and supporting documents stated in the report. The report has to be completed by a tax consultant or tax representative.
      • Tax registration certificate.
      • Existing business register extract.
      • Income Surplus Invoice.
  • Proof that your host lives in (Any of the following).
    • Confirmation of registration.
    • Rental contract. It has to be supported by a letter of confirmation by the landlord of the rented place.
  • Proof of host’s divorce from spouse or children (If the host has separated from their spouse and child, for which they have financial responsibility).
    • Proof of complete and monthly maintenance payments.
    • Certificate of maintenance advance fund. Issued by the respective youth welfare council.
    • Proof of paid maintenance obligations.
    • Court documents showing an officially ended marriage.

* All documents must be presented both in original and in copy.

How Much Does it Cost to Apply for a Formal Obligation Letter?

The payable in cash fee to obtain a financial obligation letter is €29 and €14, 50 for minors. An additional fee of 0.50€ is charged for each photocopied page of the original documents (If the host doesn’t provide their own photocopies).

How Long Does it Take for an Application for Formal Obligation Letter to Process?

The host will not have to wait more than a few minutes until they sign the formal obligation for you if they qualify. It can take another day for the application to process in case of being late for the application meeting.

When and Where to Get the Letter of Commitment?

The application for the commitment letter shouldn’t be made earlier than 6 months from your travel date. The host has to submit their evidence to undertake the commitment at the “Foreigners Authority” in the city they’re registered, residents.

This is done over an appointment to be made through phone, email or in person, through the Information Office of the Foreign Office, also known as the Immigration Office.

Before the host can book an appointment, they must provide answers to the common questions of officials in charge, on these issues:

  • The number of foreign visitors they will be hosting.
  • Marital and parental status of the visitor.
  • Reason for their visit to Germany.
  • Length of their visit here.
  • Period of visit.
  • Hosts legal residential status in Germany.
  • Other questions as the case may be.

What if I Lose the Letter of Commitment?

The replacement of an existing declaration of commitment during its validity period isn’t possible. This since only the original version is accepted as proof by the German consular services abroad, and not the reproduced version of it. Instead, you’ve to re-apply for this document by re-sending the needed evidence and paying the respective application fee.

Which are Nationals That Can Use This Evidence as a Proof of Secured Livelihood Funds?

Declaration of commitment is only valid as evidence of secured funds of living for non-EU nationals applying for a German non-settlement visa.

Which are German Residents That Cannot Undertake Financial Responsibility for Visitors?

There are few German residents that aren’t suitable to undertake financial commitments for visitors. This takes account of recipients of AsulblG, SGB II, SGB XII benefits, and persons funded by a scholarship scheme. This also applies for persons living here with a “Duldung”, “Fiktionsbescheinigung”, “Aufenthaltsgestattung”, “German visa”, and those with “German short-term residence permits”

Can a Host Revoke Their Declaration of Financial Commitment?

Basically, they cannot. This may happen if another person accepts to undertake the same commitment towards you. It is also possible if you prove that you any longer can secure your own maintenance funds. All this change of situation must be made in formal writing upon approval from the Foreigners Authority.

When the Financial Obligation of the Host Ends Towards You?

The host doesn’t carry any longer any financial responsibility for you, since the day you leave Germany. Or, since the day you get a residence permit for a different purpose despite the one for which you’ve come here.