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Visa - long term (National visa)

Before you start

If you need basic general information or in-depth guidance about the types of longterm visa for Germany as well as the surrounding process, then we recommend using our VISA NAVIGATOR first.

After having accessed the information compiled in the VISA NAVIGATOR, please continue with the country-specific information for your application on this Website.

Application Process

You should start preparing your application as soon as you have plans for a long-term stay in Germany. The whole visa application process can take several months. Prepare your application in the following three steps:

  1. Fill in the application form
  2. Compile the required documents according to the purpose of your stay in Germany by using the following checklists.

    Blue Card
    - Blue Card

    Employment (qualified professionals)
    Skilled workers holding university degree
    - IT specialists with professional experience
    - Research
    - Skilled workers with vocational training qualification
    - Work in case of partial recognition of qualification

    Study
    - General Studies
    - Doctorate Studies

    Au Pair
    - Au Pair

    Job seeker, vocational training, voluntary service
    - Seeking employment as skilled worker
    - Vocational training
    - Seekers of vocational training places
    - Voluntary service

    Family reunification
    - Spouse
    - Parent to German child
    - Child to foreign parent
    - Family members of non-German EU citizens
  3. Schedule an appointment online (see below) at the German Mission which is responsible for you to hand in your application.

Please note, that the availability of an appointment can take up to 4 weeks.

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the application is complete upon submission. Incomplete applications cannot be processed and you may be asked to return at another time. Please note, rescheduling of appointments on our system are only allowed after three months.

Appointments for national visas can be booked online (free of charge). Residents of the following countries/provinces must submit their visa application to the indicated mission:

Online appointments Embassy Pretoria: Free State, Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North-West, Lesotho, Swaziland

Online appointments Consulate General Cape Town: Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape.

To lodge your application, please appear in person for your appointment at the German Mission. Submit your complete application with the requested documentation, pay the fee and answer questions about the planned stay in Germany. In addition, your Biometrics will be captured.

The German mission checks your application and ensures that it meets the legal requirements. Depending on your intended stay in Germany either the German Mission or the competent authority in Germany decides on the outcome of your application. Depending on the purpose of your stay in Germany this can take up to three months.

As soon as the decision is made you will be contacted via email by the German Mission.

 Please understand that no questions about the processing status can be answered during the processing time.

Thereafter, the following applies: Only inquiries from the applicant himself, his legal representative or a person authorized in writing can be answered.

If your visa application has been approved the German Mission will request the flight itinerary and either health or travel insurance. You will be informed as soon as the passport is ready for collection. The general requirement is that you collect your passport in person.

Should your visa have been declined, you will receive a refusal letter from the competent German Mission notifying you about the reasons for the refusal and the legal remedies. You will receive a refusal notification along with your passport. It is possible to submit a new application at any time with complete, verifiable documents.

If your visa has been issued, please check all the visa data for possible mistakes as soon as you receive your passport! Pay particular attention to

  • the visa’s validity (start and end dates)
  • check the correct spelling of your name
  • check the number of entries you were granted

The visa section must be informed of possible mistakes immediately and cannot be held responsible for any problems that occur as a result of incorrect data or a missing signature in the travel document.

Once all the information on your visa is correct, nothing will stand in the way of your trip.

Please register yourself at the city/town hall (Einwohnermeldeamt) within the first week of arrival in Germany.

After registration you have to schedule an appointment at the relevant Alien Office to apply for the residence Permit.

Additional information

Details regarding biometric specifications for photographs can be found here.

Information concerning data protection with regard to a visa application can be found .

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