The entry of non-EU citizens to Germany generally requires a visa issued by the German mission abroad (embassy, consulate) in the country of origin.
For short-term stays (e.g. tourist or visiting stays, business trip) in the Schengen area of a maximum of 90 days per period of 180 days or for transit through the Schengen area, so-called "Schengen visas" can be issued in accordance with the provisions of the Visa Code. They are then valid not only for the federal territory, but for the entire Schengen area. They do not entitle the holder to gainful employment in the Federal territory, unless they were issued for the purpose of gainful employment.
Visas for longer stays are issued as so-called "national" visas (see "Related Topics" - "National Visa; Issuance and Extension").
Exceptions to the visa requirement apply to nationals of
- Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, the USA,
- Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and the
- Republic of Korea,
who may always enter the country without a visa, regardless of the duration and purpose of their stay.
This also applies to nationals of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino, provided they do not intend to pursue gainful employment.
For tourist stays (up to 90 days per period of 180 days), nationals of many countries are also exempt from visa requirements. Gainful employment is not permitted during the visa-free stay. An immediate extension of the visit is usually not possible without further ado.
More detailed information on visa requirements, visa exemption and the procedure, the Schengen states and the visa code can be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office (see "Further links"). Basic information on the requirements of the visa procedure can also be obtained from the Foreigners' Registration Office.
The German mission abroad issues visas in accordance with the applicable legal regulations for the period applied for in accordance with the information on the purpose and duration of stay. A visa extension is only possible if the foreigner is prevented from leaving the Schengen area in time due to force majeure or humanitarian reasons or if there are serious personal reasons that justify an extension of the validity period. A stay after the expiry of the visa not permitted by the aliens' registration office is punishable by law! The "conversion" of a visa into a regular residence permit (e.g. the visitor is offered a job) is only possible in very exceptional cases.
The competent foreigners authority at the place of residence of the foreigner is responsible for the extension of a visa during a stay in Germany.