Generally speaking, entering Germany requires a valid visa. Visa are issued by the German embassies and consulates or the local missions of a Schengen state. But there are numerous exceptions to this general rule, since many nationalities are dispensed from requiring a visa for merely touristic purposes, so long as they don’t stay any longer than 90 days in the Schengen area.
Visa issued by a so called Schengen state are valid for transit through all Schengen states.This is possible due to the establishment of a common visa code as part of the Schengen agreement and the Schengen Implementing Convention of 1990.
At this time the following countries are part of the Schengen area:
Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic and Hungary.
EU nationals do not require a visa to enter the Federal Republic of Germany. The same applies to nationals of the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) and likewise to Swiss nationals.
Swiss nationals will receive a residence permit for Swiss nationals if they wish to stay in the Federal Republic of Germany for longer than three months
Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South-Korea, New Zealand and the USA may enter Germany for long-term stay purposes without a national or a Schengen visa. These foreign nationals have to apply for a residence permit within 90 days from their arrival if they desire to stay longer than 90 days and start a gainful occupation.
Provided that citizens of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino don’t plan on taking up a gainful occupation, they also don't require a visa for entering Germany.
Foreigners' Registration Office
Rechts- und Ausländeramt
Tel. 02 51/4 92-36 36
Fax 02 51/4 92-79 71
Opening times information desk:
Emergency office hours:
Opening times for appointments:
Mondays to Fridays:
8 am - 12.30 pm
Mondays and Tuesdays:
1.30 pm - 4 pm
Thursdays: 1.30 pm - 6 pm
Hotline +49(0)251/4 92-36 36:
Wednesday and Friday:
8 am - 12 pm
Monday and Tuesday:
8 am - 4 pm
8 am - 12 pm
3 pm – 6 pm