In many cases, a visa is needed for entry into Germany. You can obtain this from the German embassy or the Consulate General in your own country, but allow approximately two to three months for the application process. Visas for family members travelling with you should be applied for at the same time.

The addresses of the relevant German Consulates with details on the need for a visa for your country and further information on visa require- ments can be found on the website of the Foreign Affairs Office at Entry and Residence Visa regulations

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Who does not need a visa?

Group A:
Citizens from countries which have opted in to the Schengen Agreement or apply its regulations at least in part.

Group B:
Nationals from countries including Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Korea, the USA.

If you are in any doubt, please consult the list of countries and their visa requirements on the website of the Foreign Affairs Office at: Entry and Residence Visa regulations Visa requirements – list of countries

Generally, a visa only entitles the holder to entry and residence for a maxi- mum of 90 days.There are various visas depending on the length and the purpose of your residence in Germany:

The national visa (D Visa) is necessary if you plan to spend more than 90 days in Germany and/or wish to embark on university studies or a job or have been awarded a fellowship. As of recently, the national visa entitles any holder in possession of a valid travel document to travel freely within the Schengen Area for up to three months in a six-month period. If you are planning any travel outside of Germany during your residence, we advise you to contact the Foreign Affairs Office if you are in any doubt.

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The Schengen visa (C Visa) is only valid for residence of up to three months and cannot be extended or converted into any other type of residence permit. It is therefore only really recommended for tourists. With a Schengen visa, you may also travel to other Schengen states during your stay.If your Schengen visa expires, you will need to leave Germany.

If you plan to embark on university studies in Germany, begin a PhD, un- dertake a research or guest scientist residency, engage in any other form of gainful employment or if you are in receipt of a fellowship, you must apply for a national visa or apply for a residence permit (see section 2.5.) before you will be allowed to take up this activity.

Please note that though you may be able to enter Germany without a visa, this does not permit you to engage in gainful employment, it merely entitles you to stay in Germany. This even applies to citizens of funda- mentally visa-free countries. The Schengen visa does not entitle you to take up employment, either. With a national visa you are only allowed to take up employment if your visa has a corresponding endorsement. Upon expiry of your visa, you will need another residence permit in or- der to remain in Germany or to continue your employment