General information for foreign nationals
Tourist visas/ visitor visas
For visiting Germany, foreigners need a visa.
- Schengen visa for short stays of up to three months (Section 6, subsection 1, number 1 of the Residence Act (AufenthG)
- Application must be submitted to the German diplomatic mission abroad, the body responsible for issuing visas
- Proof of sufficient funding of living expenses must be presented either by the applicant in person at the German diplomatic mission abroad or by submission of a declaration of commitment – Verpflichtungserklärung- VE
Exempt from the visa requirement are also nationals of states listed in Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 (EG-VisaVO).
In order to enter into, and stay in the Federal Republic of Germany, foreigners need a residence title – pursuant to Section 4 of the Residence Act (AufenthG)
- National visa (Section 6, subsection 3 of the Residence Act) (AufenthG)
- applications must be submitted to the German diplomatic mission abroad, the body responsible for issuing visas
- applications for visas will be forwarded by the German diplomatic mission abroad to the competent foreigners’ authority
- the foreigners’ authority will assess the application
- the granted visa will include constraints/will be issued for a specific purpose, e.g. visa granted for taking up gainful employment
EU nationals do not require a residence title for entry into, and residence in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Nationals of the United States of America, Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand may enter into the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany without a visa (visa-free), and apply for a residence title after entry, at the foreigners’ authority in the place where they intend to take up residence. (Section 41 of the Ordinance Governing Residence of 25 November 2004) (AufenthV)
Applying for a residence title
- please register at the Citizens’ Office and at the Foreigners’ Authority within the first week after your arrival
- residence permit, EU long-term residence permit, settlement permit (Residence Act) (AufenthG)
- please apply for one of these permits at the foreigners’ authority of your place of residence before the expiry of the validity of your visa, respectively within three months of your arrival. The foreigners’ authority of your place of residence is the body responsible for issuing these permits
Residence titles for specific purposes
- studies/ professional training
- employment (employees, self-employed, freelancers)
- family reunification
- humanitarian grounds
Further useful information
- the electronic residence title with a certified chip was introduced on 1 September 2011 – eAT
- the residence title may include conditions/additional provisions
- the residence title will indicate whether you are allowed to take up employment or to pursue economic activity as self-employed
- beginning with 4 April 2012, you can book an appointment by phone at D 115 or online on www.magdeburg.de
Expiry of the residence permit
By virtue of law, your residence title will expire if you leave the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany, and fail to re-enter the country within six months or within a longer period set by the Foreigners’ Authority.
If you plan to leave the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany for a longer period (exceeding the six-month time limit), submit an application to the Foreigners’ Authority. Please submit your application prior to departure.
A longer period will generally be granted if you intend to leave the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany for reasons of a temporary nature and you are in possession of a settlement permit or if your stay abroad serves the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.