Visa information

You normally have to present the following documents in order to apply for a visa:

  • Application form (available from diplomatic missions)
  • Passport (valid for the entire duration of your stay)
  • Proof of your intended activity (e.g. scholarship acceptance, contract of employment, letter of invitation or hosting agreement from university)
  • Proof that you will be able to support yourself financially, if this is not confirmed by the documentation above (if necessary, by means of a blocked account)
  • Adequate health insurance cover
  • Several biometric passport photographs
  • Details of your proposed accommodation in Germany
  • For family members only: marriage and/or birth certificates

Depending on the individual diplomatic mission, the documents that you need may be different. Please contact the relevant diplomatic mission at the earliest possible opportunity to determine which documents you will need for your visa application.

Please note that some diplomatic missions will only accept your visa application by appointment. It may take several weeks to process your application. We therefore recommend that you arrange an appointment with the relevant visa authority as soon as possible. 

Visa costs?

Obtaining a visa may involve costs. Please contact the relevant diplomatic mission for further details.

Students with publicly funded scholarships from German funding agencies, such as the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation or the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), do not have to pay for their visa or their residence permit.



Specific information on

Short visits lasting up to three months

If your research period in Germany is not scheduled to last longer than 90 days within a six-month period, a Schengen visa (“C” category) will usually be all you need to enter the country. When completing the application for the Schengen Visa, please be sure to indicate "academic work" or "research" as the purpose of your stay. 

However, please bear in mind that Schengen Visas cannot be extended beyond the three-month period; it cannot be re-designated for other purposes either. At the end of the three-month period, you will be expected to leave Germany. If you plan to stay longer than three months, you will have to apply for a “D” category visa in your home country or country of residence.

Health insurance


As a general rule for a “C” category visa, you need travel health insurance for all Schengen states with a liability limit of at least EUR 30,000. You will find further information on this matter in our section on health insurance.

Visa exemptions for short visits


Nationals from some countries are allowed to enter Germany for visits up to three months without a visa. You can find a list of these countries (as well as a list of countries whose citizens (do not) require visas to enter Germany) on the website of the German Foreign Office.

Visits lasting more than three months

If you plan to stay in Germany for longer than three months, you need to apply for a national visa for Germany (“D” category visa) while you are still in your home country or country of current residence.

The national visa only entitles you to stay in Germany for three months. You will need to apply for a residence permit at the local foreigners' registration office ("Ausländerbehörde") after this.

Please note that this regulation applies, even if you are already living in another European Union country.
Do not under any circumstances enter Germany on a visitor or tourist visa (Schengen visa). This type of visa cannot be extended and only entitles you to stay in Germany for up to three months. You would then have to return to your home country at your own expense and apply for the appropriate visa from there. The same applies to your family members.

If you intend to travel to other Schengen States during the first three months of your stay (for example, to attend a conference), you should state this in your visa application. In this case you may be issued with a so-called hybrid visa (“C” + “D” category visa).

Health insurance

You will have to provide proof of health insurance to apply for a visa in the first place. In most cases, however, travel health insurance will only suffice for your visa application, but will not be sufficient for your stay in Germany. Therefore once in Germany, you are normally required to take out a German health insurance policy.

Please contact the relevant diplomatic mission in your country to enquire how long your travel health insurance has to provide cover for you to apply for a visa in your home country or country of current residence.

Further information on health insurance can be found here.