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FAQ and other important information

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Please read the information on our website carefully. We do appreciate that it might be easier for you to ask questions. However, we do not have sufficient staff capacity to respond to every query.

Please understand that we may choose not to respond to questions already answered on our website. If you do need to contact us, please make sure that you give your full name, your nationality, the type of visa you are applying for and your specific question in plain English (or German) so that we may respond to the point.

Click on the questions below to find out more

As a rule, we will only accept visa applications from UK residents, including foreign residents holding a UK Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or a UK short-term study visa. If you are not a UK resident please apply through the German Mission in your country of residence or its Visa Application Centres. Likewise, non-resident British citizens need to file their application in their respective country of residence.

Applications from anyone other than UK residents will only be accepted in very exceptional cases and at the ultimate discretion of a visa officer. Contact us outlining your particular situation in detail here. Visas may be applied for six months in advance of your anticipated travel date and we are likely to require you to demonstrate why you were unable to apply in your country of residence.

All applications have to be submitted in person, as we are required to take your biometrics including fingerprints (exceptions may apply if you have been issued a Schengen visa within the last 5 years). You will need to schedule an appointment with the respective Mission or the Visa Application Centre (VAC) operated by TLScontact. Please make sure that you book your appointment in the correct category. A separate appointment is required for each individual applicant; i.e. a family of four requires four appointments. Children must be present for the appointment. Please schedule your appointment well ahead of your anticipated travel date and make sure you have all the required documents available. Visas may be applied for six months in advance of your anticipated travel date.
We strongly recommend that you do not make any travel arrangement or make any other financial commitments before your visa has been approved.

While supporting documents required vary from one visa category to the next there are only two application forms:
For A and C visas please use the online Schengen visa application form.
For all national (D-) visas please use the online National visa application form.

Please complete the application form, print the form including the barcodes (one printout for A and C visas, two printouts for D visas) and sign all copies. You are required to bring all printouts as well as all supporting documents (including copies) to your appointment.

Offline application forms may only be used in event of technical failure and with prior approval of the Mission or the Visa Application Centre (VAC) operated by TLScontact. Please include a copy of the approval with your application.

Passport photographs required for visa applications must be recent (no older than three months) and comply with German biometric standards, including

  • Photo to be taken in full-face view, directly facing the camera.
  • The face must take up 70 to 80% of the photo. This corresponds to a height of 32 to 36mm.
  • Photo must show a neutral facial expression with both eyes open.
  • Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline (religious face coverings are acceptable). Your face must be fully visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
  • Photos must be taken in front of a white or off-white background.
  • Glasses/ spectacles are permitted in as far as the frames do not cover any part of the eyes.

All photos must be printed on photo quality paper sized 35 x 45 mm. Review the sample photos to see examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos. Photos copied or digitally scanned from driver’s licenses or other official documents are not acceptable.

A self-service photo machine operated by an external service provider is available both at the Embassy and at the TLScontact Visa Application Centre (VAC) (set of four pictures for £8).

As a rule, passports and travel documents issued by countries outside the EU, the EEA and EFTA are only recognised as valid for entering and staying in Germany if they have been issued within the last ten years and if the passport validity exceeds the validity of the visa applied for by at least three months. On the day of your application your travel document must have been issued within the previous 10 years and it needs to remain valid for at least three months after your intended date of departure from the territory of the Member States. This requirement also applies to UK passports. Please note that not all non-UK passports and travel documents are recognised by Germany.

Please make sure that you book your appointment in the correct category. A separate appointment is required for each individual applicant; i.e. a family of four requires four appointments.
Please note that only those individuals whose attendance is indispensable for the application will be permitted access to the Mission or the Visa Application Centre (VAC) operated by TLScontact. This includes applicants and required accompanying persons (i.e. both parents will need to attend appointments for children, carers or chaperones can attend appointments for those requiring special assistance).

Owing to high demand, we have compressed appointments into tight slots; please make sure that you arrive about ten minutes prior to the appointment.
Please make sure that you bring all required documents including all necessary photocopies with you. We may choose to refuse your application simply because it has been submitted too late or because it is incomplete.

Visa fees are €80 for Schengen (A or C) visas and €75 for national (D) visas. Fees can be waived or reduced for certain categories of applicants. Details are available here.

The European Council has completely suspended the visa facilitation agreement between the European Union and the Russian Federation as of 12 September 2022. This includes the provisions on reduced visa fees. For details, please click here.

Following a decision of the European Council regarding the cooperation on readmission with The Gambia, visas fees for Gambian nationals have been set at €120. Visa fees for children under the age of 12 years remain unchanged.

Your visa fees need to be paid at the time of application. The German Missions accept Mastercard or Visa credit or debit cards. You must have the actual card with you. The named card holder must be present to sign the debit voucher. Digital wallet or mobile payments including Apple Pay or Google Pay are not available.
The Visa Application Centres (VAC) operated by our external service provider TLScontact charge additional service fees. For details and payment facilities please refer to their website.
Visa fees are processing fees. They are payable as soon as your visa application is submitted. Visa fees will not be reimbursed should your application be denied or should you decide to withdraw your application.

We do not offer application status tracking. Once you submit your application, we will indicate the approximate timeframe that we anticipate will be required for processing your application. A and C visa applications will usually be processed within 15 calendar days. For some visa categories, we will require approval from other entities beyond our control, such as the local immigration office at your intended place of residence in Germany or the Federal Employment Agency.

If you have previously resided in Germany this will add to processing times, as the immigration office may need to look into your previous immigration record.
Although we will provide you with a file number, please understand that we cannot respond to questions regarding the status of your visa application. Should we have any questions or should we require additional documentation to process your application, we will be in touch with you. Likewise, once a decision has been made on your application, we will contact you.

We will always communicate with you using either the e-mail address or the mobile phone number provided in your application. If we phone you, please be aware that our phone number will be withheld. Please also make sure that you whitelist e-mails originating from 'auswaertiges-amt.de', otherwise our e-mails may end up in your spam folder. Should we ask you to email us additional documents, always quote your file number in the subject line. Please do not send us any documents unless specifically requested to do so. This particularly applies to unsolicited invitation letters. We simply do not have the capacity to store these documents. You are required to submit all relevant documents at the time of application.

If you are applying for any of the visa categories accepted by the Visa Application Centre (VAC) operated by TLScontact (all A and C visas as well as some D visas), you will need to leave your passport with them.

For visa categories accepted by the German Missions, we will indicate the timeframe that we anticipate will be required for processing your application at the time we accept your application. If we anticipate the processing time to be six weeks or less we will require you to leave your passport with us.

In all other cases, we will only view your passport at the time of application. Once your visa is ready to be issued we will contact you. You will then need to send in your passport immediately in order for the visa to be affixed.

We will return your passport to you by post.

If applying through a German Mission please provide a self-addressed, pre-paid Royal Mail “Special Delivery envelope” with your application. “Special delivery” envelopes“ are available from any Post Office. Passports can only be returned to an addressee currently present in the UK.

If applying through a Visa Application Centre (VAC) operated by TLScontact please refer to their guidance.

Royal Mail is currently operating a system where the delivery person may sign for any delivery made. Please note that the German Missions will only accept liability for an incoming delivery if receipt has been acknowledged by a Mission staff member.

The information on our website regarding required documentation is designed to cover a wide range of individual and different cases and is therefore provided as a guideline only. Each application is reviewed separately and will be decided on its individual merits. In order to take an informed decision we may therefore - at our discretion - ask you for additional documentation beyond the standard requirements. The submission of complete documentation does not guarantee in any way that your application will be approved.

We strongly recommend that you do not make any travel arrangement or make any other financial commitments until your visa has been approved. We recommend that you make travel arrangements only if and when you have received your passport containing the appropriate visa. When reserving/ booking a ticket for an A or a C visa, please be aware that filing a complete application does not guarantee that a visa will be granted. It may be advisable to book a fully refundable ticket.

As a rule, Schengen visas (categories A and C) may be applied for six months in advance of your anticipated travel date. The standard processing time for a Schengen visa is 15 calendar days. You may apply up to six months before the start of the intended visit.

When preparing your D visa application please read the information on processing times given for each visa category. Additionally, you should bear in mind that any D visa may not issued more than 3 months ahead of the intended travel date.

If you are applying for any of the visa categories accepted by the Visa Application Centre (VAC) operated by TLScontact (all A and C visas as well as some D visas), you will need to leave your passport with them.

For visa categories accepted by the German Missions, we will indicate the timeframe that we anticipate will be required for processing your application at the time we accept your application. If we anticipate the processing time to be six weeks or less we will require you to leave your passport with us.

In all other cases, we will only view your passport at the time of application. Once your visa is ready to be issued we will contact you. You will then need to send in your passport immediately in order for the visa to be affixed.

We strongly recommend that you do not make any travel arrangement or make any other financial commitments until your visa has been approved. We recommend that you make travel arrangements only if and when you have received your passport containing the appropriate visa. When reserving/ booking a ticket for an A or a C visa, please be aware that filing a complete application does not guarantee that a visa will be granted. It may be advisable to book a fully refundable ticket.

Unless travelling together, the intended travel will generally need to be approved by both parents and/ or all legal guardians under British law as applicable. Should one or both parent/s and/or guardian/s be unavailable/ overseas at the time of application we will require a “declaration of consent”, notarised by a German Honorary Consul in the UK or a notary public in the UK or any EU member state or any German mission overseas. A notarisation by a foreign Notary Public might be sufficient in some cases. Contact us for details here.
For the protection and welfare of children, the law compels us to adhere strictly to these rules. Trafficking in children is real. We will not be accessories to any attempt to remove children from the legal care of their parents and/ or guardian.

Please provide the intended travel date on your application. Once the visa has been issued, we will not change the dates. If you later change your mind, you must file a new application. If you wish to travel to Germany before your employment contract etc. begins, please specify this for the visa to begin accordingly. A visa can only be issued with an earlier travel date in case you provide evidence of health insurance cover for this additional time frame. Travellers that do not require a visa for a short stay including British citizens may travel before the starting date of their national (category D) visa but must satisfy the border force official at the port of entry that they fulfil the requirements for a visa-free short stay visit.

As soon as you receive your visa, please make sure that all the information it contains is correct.

How do I read the details printed on my visa? Is there anything else I need to know for my travel?

Germany’s borders are policed by the Federal Police (Bundespolizei). The Federal Police at major German airports can be contacted as follows:

Please read the information on our website carefully. We do appreciate that it might be easier for you to ask questions. However, we do not have sufficient staff capacity to respond to every query. Please understand that we may choose not to respond to questions already answered on our website. If you do need to contact us, please make sure that you give your full name, your nationality, the type of visa you are applying for and your specific question in plain English (or German) so that we may respond to the point.

For questions regarding visa applications handled by our external service provider, please contact TLScontact directly.

Both the Embassy in London and the Consulate General in Edinburgh can be contacted by using our contact form. We aim to respond within 3 working days. Due to the high volume, we are currently unable to answer telephone inquiries

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