If a citizen of the United States possessing valid US Tourist passport intends to stay in Germany for a maximum period of 90 days, then he/she is exempted from applying for a Schengen Visa; also known as short-stay visa. However, you are bound to apply for Germany Residence Permit if you tend to stay over 90 days in the country. You can apply for long-stay visa in Germany Embassy in Washington DC and other consulate generals in the USA.
Germany at a glance
Germany—also known as the engine of Europe due to its economic prowess—is the most populous nation of the continent encompassing an area of 357,386 km2. Its passport occupies third spot in the category of the most powerful passports in the world. Besides being an economic powerhouse, Germany also attracted record 35.6 million in 2017 alone.
Its capital Berlin dates back to 13th century and is known for its art scene and modern landmarks like the gold-colored, swoop-roofed Berliner Philharmonie, built in 1963.
The Schengen Area refers to a territory where the free movement of persons is guaranteed. The 26 signatory States to the Agreement have abolished all internal borders in lieu of a single external border. In the Schengen Area, common rules and procedures are applied with regard to visas for short-stays, asylum requests, and border controls. Simultaneously, cooperation and coordination between Police services and judicial authorities guarantee security. Schengen cooperation was incorporated into the European Union (EU) legal framework by the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997.
What is Schengen Visa?
Schengen Visa is a short-stay visa that enables its holder to travel 26 European countries which are part of Schengen Area. Authorities concerned will not subject holder of Schengen Visa to border checks at internal borders of the Schengen countries.
Who can apply for a Germany Visa from within the US?
All US citizens who do not possess permanent citizenship with a legal residence status with at least three months validity after returning from the Schengen Area will apply for Germany Schengen Visa (if the applicant intends to stay for up to 90 days) or Germany Residency Permit (if the applicant intends to stay over 90 days).
The applicant must renew his/her passport if it has expired.
When to apply for a German Schengen Visa?
You’ve to apply for Germany Schengen Visa in the following cases:
- You intend to visit Germany only
- You intend to stay mostly in Germany (main destination)
- Germany is your first Schengen destination
When to apply for a Germany Residency Permit?
As mentioned earlier, you will apply for Germany Residency Permit if you intend to stay over 90 days in the country.
Difference between Embassy and Consulate?
Both the embassy and consulate refer to a government’s representation in a foreign country. However, there are some differences between the nature of the tasks and functions performed by them.
A country is authorized to open only one embassy in a foreign country whereas it can open a number of consulates in the various cities of the foreign country.
Furthermore, an embassy usually has big representation in terms of staff whereas consulate is a smaller version of the embassy.
An embassy is always located in the capital city whereas consulates are open in big cities and not in the capital.
An embassy is a permanent diplomatic mission but consulate isn’t.
Embassies deal with major diplomatic tasks whereas consulates usually deal with minor diplomatic tasks.
Jurisdiction of Germany Embassy in Washington DC
The Germany Embassy in Washington DC covers the following states:
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Step One: Make an Online Appointment
Like all other Schengen states, you must first make an online appointment with the staffers at the Germany Embassy in Washington DC for a formal interview. For securing an appointment, send a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Your name and surname,
- Name of the country which issued your passport,
- Passport number and expiration date,
- Type of visa/permit you are applying for (long-term visa, residence permit, employee card, etc.),
- Purpose of your stay (study, scientific research, employment, business, family reunification, etc.),
- Intended date of arrival to Germany,
- Preferred date for the appointment at the Embassy. Appointment via mail
Step Two: Prepare Documents
Application form: The first step is to download the application form from the website. Read it carefully and then fill it with utmost honesty.
Germany has also introduced the facility of filling the Schengen Visa application electronically and then printing a hard-copy.
After filling the application form, attach two latest photos with it. Photos should be clicked in the passport format by the applicant, full-face captured with a light background.
Passport: The current passport must be valid for a minimum of 90 days beyond the validity of the requested visa.
The current passport must have been issued within the last 10 years and it must have a minimum of 2 blank visa pages in order to affix the visa.
Roundtrip Flight Itinerary for visa application: The document illustrates dates of your entrance in and departure from Germany. It also confirms that the visa applicant has booked a seat on an aircraft.
Travel Visa Health Insurance: All signatories to the Schengen Agreement have made it compulsory for the itinerant to avail travel insurance (covering minimum expenses equivalent to 30,000 EUR or 50,000 USD).
The availed insurance should cover expenditures in case of any medical complication, accident or repatriation after death. The insurance policy should clearly mention the insured person, its validity and the benefits offered. The availed insurance should cover emergency treatments of hospitals in case of medical complication and repatriation on medical grounds and death.
Hotel Booking Reservation/Proof of accommodation: This piece of paper illustrates your places of residence in the host nation either in hotel or other places. In other words, the hotel booking reservation/proof of accommodation states that the applicant has residence sorted in Germany. It includes:
- A hotel/hostel booking; and
- A rental agreement; and
- A letter of invitation from a host at whose house you will be staying.
Bank statement/Proof of financially means: This document assures staffers at the diplomatic mission that the applicant possesses sufficient financial means to sponsor his/her trip in the host nation. It may include a bank statement, a sponsorship letter or a combination of the bank account statement and a letter of sponsorship.
Cover Letter: This accompanying document abridges the applicant’s intention of visiting the host nation.
The applicant explains the following things in the Schengen Visa Cover Letter:
- The Intention of traveling to the Schengen state/states.
- Proof of civil status (marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, ration card if applicable).
- Explaining relation with a sponsor (if any) and the reasons for sponsorship. An overview of the applicant’s flight itinerary.
- In case the applicant fails to produce a document, then he tells the reasons and explains the alternative documents (that he/she might have submitted).
Affidavit of Support: Affidavit of support is generated by the applicant in case he/she does not possess a valid bank account or lacks fund to sponsor stay in the host nation. In such a scenario, the applicant is directed to request relatives or friends—residing in the Schengen state—to sign a document named as “Official Affidavit of Support”.
Means of subsistence: It means to provide evidence to the German Embassy or consulate that the applicant has sufficient amount or financial resources to bear his/her expenditures during his stay in the Schengen country. The applicant is bound to attest to the German Consulate or Embassy that he possesses daily cash equivalent to 45 euros.
Proof of paid visa fee: €60 for adults and €35 for children from 6 to 12 years old. These fees are not reimbursable in case visa application gets rejected.
Employment contract; and
Current bank statement of the latest 6 months; and
Leave permission from the employer; and
Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary.
A copy of your business license; and
Company bank statement of the latest 6 months; and
Income Tax Return (ITR).
For foreign students on F1 visas:
Reference letter from the educational institution (school/college/university) stating that you are in good standing, your major and the expected date of graduation.
No-objection certificate from school or university.
Pension statement of the latest 6 months.
Regular income generated by property proof of the latest 6 months.
*Note: The signed application form must be accompanied the rest of the above-mentioned mandatory documents and handed personally at the appropriate embassy/consulate or its representative in your home country.
Apart from the general documentation required, accompanying should be other additional documents depending on the nature of your visa application.
Recent nationwide criminal history check.
US work permit
Confirmation of participation in any type of event or activity
Self-addressed, pre-paid US express mail envelope (if applicable)
Documents proving the legal status in the US – original Alien Registration Card (Green Card), a Green card Stamp in your passport, an Advance Parole, or a valid US Visa must be provided along with a valid I-94 departure record. Students should also submit the original validated I-20, DS-2019 or IAP-66.
The US residence permit or visa should be valid at least 3 months beyond the intended departure from the Schengen member state territory.
Letter of continued employment including income statement. If you are self-employed a business license and tax return forms are required.
Step Three: Submit File
After successfully completing the two aforesaid tasks, approach the Germany Embassy in Washington DC to submit your file. Follow these simple points for submitting a visa application:
- Try to reach the Germany Embassy in Washington DC at the earliest possible official hours.
- Dress appropriately.
- Answer all the interview questions with confidence, calm and ease. If the interviewer wants to confirm any of the documents or details, he/she might field some extra questions before you.
As mention earlier, the embassy or consulate will take up to 15 business days to arrive on a decision of your visa application. However, exceptions exist under which the Germany Embassy in Washington DC may take extra time if the staffers are not satisfied with or seek additional information.
As of May 15, 2014, each individual applying for a Schengen visa in the USA must appear in person, so that the necessary biometric data – ten fingerprints and a digital photo – can be collected. The biometric data are stored for a period of 59 months and can possibly be reused. This means that future applications during that period of time may be filed through correspondence, provided your data are of good quality and can be retrieved from the VIS.
San Francisco, Atlanta, and Washington: visaonweb.diplomatie.be (printed application form and documentation must be sent by postal mail or courier service
San Francisco: by postal mail or courier service only
Exemptions for the fingerprinting requirements are granted to:
- Children under the age of twelve;
- Persons for whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible;
- Heads of State and members of National Governments and their accompanying spouses, as well as the members of their official delegation when invited by Member States’ governments or by international organizations for an official purpose.
Furthermore, the applicant can extract the aforementioned data from the Visa Information System (VIS) if he/she has submitted it within the duration of five months. In such a case, you can forward application either by mail or courier.
Step Four: Appear for Interview
The Germany Embassy in Washington DC will promptly notify the applicant via mail whether a personal interview is required or not.
However, if the interview is not required, the Germany Embassy in Washington DC will send the passport by using the prepaid envelope provided with the application once the visa is issued.
Step Five: Receive Your Visa
As mentioned earlier, the Germany Embassy in Washington DC usually takes up to 15 days to process your visa application. The Germany Embassy in Washington DC will notify you once they arrive on a decision on your visa application. The applicant has the option to collect his passport and visa (in case the application is approved) via UPS or USPS in the envelope that the applicant has provided.
Possible Reasons for Visa Rejections
We at FIFV wish you all the best for your visa application but there are certain reasons upon which your visa application may get rejected by the Germany Embassy in Washington DC:
These reasons include (but are not limited to):
- The applicant forget to sign the application
- Invalid passport
- Damaged passport
- Invitation Letter is missing
- Sponsorship Letter is missing
- NOC is missing
- Germany Embassy in Washington DC fails in establishing a clear reason for your travel
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, 4645 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC, 20007, USA.
Telephone: +1 (202) 298-4000