Germany visa for Indians: The 2016 process

logo-3.3-with-bgIf you’re applying for a Germany tourist visa (which is actually a visa that lets you travel to all the Schengen countries), you can either apply as a tourist or as someone going to visit family or friends.

I prefer the second because in that case, you do not have to furnish the details of all your hotels bookings. Consequently, this lets you be more elastic about your trip. Since I do not have any family in Europe, I requested a German friend to send me an invitation letter and she agreed. Things went pretty smooth from there.

 Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

Following is a list of the things you need to apply for a Germany travel visa.

  • Passport: Of course, you’re going nowhere without a passport. It needs to be valid for at least three months after your scheduled return date.
  • Signed application form and declarations: You find these online on the VFS Germany website (VFS handles the Germany visa application process). You need to fill it up and take a printout of the seven-page form and declaration. Then you need to sign in several places before submitting it.
  • Travel insurance: Required or not required, you must always buy travel insurance. However it is important to remember that Germany does not accept all travel insurances. But they do accept all the major ones and you will find the list of accepted ones here.
  • Personal covering letter: You need to write to the German consulate explaining the purpose of your visit.

Sample of cover letter

January 1, 2016
The Consulate General
The Federal Republic of Germany
1, Hastings Park Road, Alipore
Kolkata 700027.
Sub: Application for tourist visa
I would like to go to Germany to meet some friends and revisit the beautiful country that I had last been to in 2014.
I intend to visit in Berlin, Munich and Dusseldorf this time. 
I intend to land in Frankfurt (Main) on June 1, 2016 and leave via the same airport on June 17, 2016.
I hope you will find my application satisfactory and grant me a visa.
Thank you.
Yours truly,
Passport No. A1234567
5, ABC Street
Kolkata 700001
Phone: +91 9999999999
  • Leave letter: Either a leave letter from your employer if you are employed or a no-objection letter from your university in case you are a student.

Sample of letter from employee 

ABC Pvt Ltd
1 ABC Road, Kolkata 700001
January 1, 2016
This is to certify that Mr NAME SURNAME (Employee No. 12345) has been an employee of this organisation since January 1, 2013.
He has been granted leave from June 1, 2016 to June 17, 2016. He will resume duty on June 18, 2016.
We do not have any objection to his visit to any country abroad during his leave period.
Signature of person concerned

  • Tickets: Your to and fro flight tickets.
  • Accommodation: The difference between tourism and visiting friends is right here. You either submit booking confirmation of all your hotels or just have a friend email you an invitation letter, along with a scanned copy of the data page of their passport.

Sample of invitation letter

January 4th, 2016
The Consulate General
The Federal Republic of Germany
1, Hastings Park Road, Alipore
Kolkata 700027
Sub: Invitation for tourist visa
I am a German citizen and I work as a DESIGNATION at COMPANY NAME AND ADDRESS.
I am inviting my Indian friend, NAME SURNAME (Passport No. A1234567, issued on 00.00.2015 and valid till 00.00.2025), who stays at ADDRESS to spend his holiday in Germany.
During NAME’s trip to Germany (June 1, 2016 to June 17, 2016), I will take care of his accommodation. He will be back in India on June 18, 2016.
I request you to please grant him a tourist visa.
Thank You.
Yours truly,
Passport No. XXXXXX, Date of issue: 00.00.2015, Date of expiry: 00.00.2025
  • Proof of funds: If you have a sponsor, you need to furnish a formal obligation letter of your sponsor. If you are funding your own trip, you ned to furnish your bank statement of the last three months with sufficient funds.
  • Proof of financial status: Payslips of the past three months or employment contract. If self-employed, certificate of proprietorship or other proof of ownership or sales forms, etc. Income tax returns of the past three years.
  • Proof of civil status: Marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, etc.
  • Pictures: Two passport-size pictures taken within the past six months according to the required biometric specifications.
  • Apart from all that, take a few copies of your passport data and address pages and a couple of extra photographs. You never know when you need them!

My visa application process couldn’t have gone smoother. Like every time, I first went to the application centre to understand clearly what they wanted. Then I booked an appointment online and returned a few days later with the exact documents.

VFS handles the Germany visa application process. I needed to record my fingerprints and they did it right there at the centre. Though they said my passport would be ready for collection within fifteen working days, it was ready is just three days. Also, VFS has started accepting cash payments and I didn’t have to get a bank draft made.


28 thoughts on “Germany visa for Indians: The 2016 process

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for a great post with relevant information.
    One question though, does the invitation letter need to be from the person directly, or it needs to be certified by any german authority (for instance KVR office)?

    Thanks, and regards
    – Atul Acharya

      1. Hey Andy. I read about your blog and when I applied, I thought everything was in order. But the VFS lady said I need the certified invitation letter by german authority. That really got me confused but I applied anyways with the invitation letter and passport data copy.
        Has the rules been changed recently? I’m not depending on the family financially. Only for accommodation.

        1. Aashay,
          If you are going to Germany on a tourist visa, I’m not sure why some Germany authority will issue you an invitation letter anyway! I have applied and got a Germany (Schengen) tourist visa on two occasions and every time, an invitation letter from a German friend worked. Just like your situation, they wrote they would take care of my stay and food in the letter. I showed my bank balance separately because I was funding the trip myself and things worked perfectly.
          Since I am not aware of all the details, I cannot comment on why the VFS lady said so. But in my experience, VFS often tends to misguide applicants. But whether this is an example of that I cannot say for sure.
          I do hope you get the visa.

          1. Thanks Andy for the reply. Even I can’t wrap my head around this logic. I am already showing bank statements and the letter with their passport details should be enough. I would think, the invitation letter is for people who are getting fully sponsored by their hosts or something. confusing. Well, let’s see what happens? Do you think some visa rules could have changed since your last visit? Thanks once again. 🙂

          2. Hi Andy, Got the letter of refusal today.
            It mentioned that I’m unable to show my source of subsistence (I have more than 2,70,000) in the account, although money was credited only recently and that I have didnt show enough reason to leave Germany (maybe I could have attached fixed asset papers from my father and stuff)
            Anyways, Í’m reapplying soon. Any advice? Thanks.
            This letter from Rathaus everybody keeps mentioning and yet you had no problem.

  2. Hey! Great post. Can you provide a sample of the ‘formal obligation letter’ and also do i need to show my bank statement if i am being sponsored?

    1. Nilu,
      Glad you found the post useful. As you see, the post is about the tourist visa and I have only travelled to Germany on tourist visas and I have not needed the formal obligation letter for my trips. Consequently, I don’t have personal experience with this but I’m sure you’ll find enough info on it online. But I know this, if someone is sponsoring you, they need to show their bank statements. I don’t think your’s is compulsory in that case.

      1. I looked up details on formal obligation letter. It is actually issued by a local goverment office in each German city where sponsorer has to show his ID, job details etc. Also, he has to take responsiblity of expenses for the visiting friend, in case the friend overstays and has to be deported

  3. Very useful. Further I need to know if you can advise.My DOB is 9.4.1956 and I am an Indian by birth. I am a retired Central Government employee and now a pensioner. I have never been to any other country outside my own though holding a passport issued by Passport Authority of India. Recently my younger son has been awarded DAAD scholarship for admission to Master of European Law at the University of Saarlands from 1.10.17 to 30.9.18. Now he is taking the preparatory language course in Marburg till 30.9.2017. He will be provided single room accommodation at Saarland and I intend to stay with him for 60 days during which period I shall get a chance to visit some other nearby European countries. I have gone through the guidance and documents needed for Visa application. I have enough money in my Bank account. My doubt is (1) whether my son can send an invitation to me..(2) How much Euro he must have with him in his bank account in Germany(3) whether I have to purchase return air ticket before applying for visa.(4) whether I shall have to provide exact itinerary of visiting Schengen countries. (5) How much Euro I shall have to take with me,
    Any other advice relevent to it

    1. Mr Mishra,
      I’m glad you found the post useful. I’ll try to answer your questions below.
      1. Since you son has a long-stay visa, he should be able to send you an invitation.
      2. Since you have enough money in your bank account, your son doesn’t need to show money. He can send you an invitation to visit him and you should tell the visa office that you are paying for the trip. That way, only you need to furnish your bank details.
      3. You will need to furnish a return air ticket for a tourist visa. Since this is your first trip outside of India, you are likely to get the visa from your arrival date in Germany till the date you leave.
      4. For all practical purposes, you do not need to go into too much details here. You can just mention that during your stay, you intend to visit Places A, B, C, etc.
      5. That depends on your travel plans. They will not ask you for that. But a very ballpark figure would be EUR1500-2500.

      Please understand that I have answered all your question based on my experiences. Before you apply for the visa, you should pay a visit to the local visa office and have all your queries cleared.
      All the best!

  4. Hello Andy,

    Thanks for the detailed post, cleared some of my doubts.
    I’m currently deputed to Germany from my company for 1 year, I’m planning to bring my wife along, I”m sponsoring her, however I tried to obtain formal Obligation letter, which they told will be given only if I hold any bank account in Germany, I don’t own any bank account in Germany,
    I have a Federal Approval letter and detailed invitation letter from my company which states my stay, salary and tenure, will this be enough to obtain a Formal Obligation letter.?

    It will very helpful if you guide me on this query.

    Kind Regards

    1. Arjun,
      I’m happy the post cleared some of your doubts. But as you realise, it is on tourist visa and I have no experience with the formal obligation letter. Consequently, I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything more that what you will find on the Internet. I think it is best if you speak to the authorities concerned.

  5. Hello Mr Andy,

    I am glad I found your page! I have a friend who works has a permanent job here in Germany has issued a letter of obligation for my parents,since I couldn’t do the same yet. In her personal letter she mentions that they will stay at her accommodation and gave her residence permit as proof of accommodation.Along with this is it also required to give her rental agreement or owner’s confirmation? Hoping to hear from you!

    1. Ganesh,
      I am not sure if it’s a good idea to show your friend is sponsoring your parents’ trip at a time you are in Germany. But of course, I do not know all the details and it may work just fine.
      During my visits to Germany, my German friends have sent me invitation letters for visa. Since I myself was paying for my trip, they only had to send the letter and scanned copies of their passport pages. So, I don’t have experience of the formal obligation letter.
      I think it’s best if you ask this directly to the visa office guys.

  6. Hi Andy,

    Your inputs have been extremely helpful.
    I have a few questions – maybe you could help. My Indian friend is working in Germany and has emailed the invite letter to me. Is that good enough ?
    Also, is there a requirement of the invite letter to be in German language or would the letter in English work fine?

    Another thing, would flight itinerary work fine instead of getting confirmed flight tickets booked ? (in case the visa gets rejected due to some reason)


    1. Ankita,
      I am glad you found my post useful. An email should work. But s/he would need to send scanned copies of their passport and also possibly the work visa. A letter in English is fine. As far as I am aware, for an Indian applying for a tourist visa, an in and out flight ticket is essential.

      1. Thanks. Another thing hit my mind, I plan to take a vacation of 20 days to visit Germany; but got feedback from some consultant that German Embassy does not grant that visa for that long a duration without a justified reason. Would you have any inputs in this regard ?

  7. Hi Andy,

    Your post was really useful. My friend from India wants to visit Germany for 2 months. He wants to explore the places in Germany and some other countries in Schengen region. An indian friend of his who stays in Germany is sending him letter as proof of accomodation (no sponsorship). My question is, whether 2 months stay could be considered too long? He will be showing all the tickets and hotel bookings of whichever other countries he intends to visit. Plus he is showing adequate balance to show proof of subsistence.

  8. Dear Andy, thank you, so helpful, your report! At the moment I am buisy with inviting a friend from India and I found out I have to send him an official document that is called “Verpflichtungserklärung”. It is issued by a city authority (I just googled “Verpflichtungserklärung” and my city, and found my local authorities. For inviting 1 person I need a monthly income at least 1290 or 1590 Euro (typically for Germany in every city the authorities give different amounts, so inviter has to check in his own city) Inviter needs to show wage slips or, in my case as self employed, other official proofs of means. Then inviter gets an official document and has to send it to India (best with DHL Express, otherwise it might get lost) and the invited person takes it to the visa application. I hope so much it will work! I only wonder why the invited has to proof his income, too, as flight tickets are provided so why they make fuss about invited’s income

    1. Isabell, I’m glad you found the post useful. From what I figure, one person has to show her/his income/bank balance. If the Indian person visiting Germany is financing her/his own trip, then the German person does not have to show their income… which is what happened in my case. But if the German person is sponsoring the visitor, it is then I think the question of the Verpflichtungserklärung arises. The two times I have had German friends send me an invitation letter, I financed my trips, so they did not have to show their income.

  9. hi Andy,

    Thanks a lot for the useful information,
    I am an Indian citizen and on a deputation to Germany for half a year and I wanted to invite my parents here.
    when I went to Rathaus to get the “Verpflichtungserklärung”, i was asked to deposit 2500euro as security, so I decided to bring them over tourist visa instead of visit visa.

    I have 2 questions now:
    1.does in tourist visa, accommodation can be provided by me or is it mandatory to book a hotel?
    2.can I send them only an invitation letter for accommodation + my rental agreement+ no objection letter from my landlord for the tourist visa process related to accommodation?

    1. Sima,
      I am glad you found the post useful.
      1. It is not mandatory to book a hotel. It’s ok if you can ensure accommodation.
      2. That should work.
      All the best.

Talk to me