The upfront amount you will have to pay for your visa depends on what kind you are applying for. There are many different types of German visas, but they fall into two categories: short and long-term. Short term visas all carry a cost of €80, this includes Schengen visas and airport transit visas. For citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia the cost of the short-term visa is reduced to €35. The price is also lowered to €40 for children between the ages of 6 and 12 and free for children under the age of 6. There are, however, many exemptions from this visa fee. These include the following (Germany Visa):
Long-term visas have a much more varied range of fees depending on country of application, citizenship of the applicant, and the desired visa. This visa type is broadly referred to as the National Visa or Category D Visa. It can be granted for many different purposes, some of the most common of which include joining a spouse, partner, or family member, working in Germany as a freelancer, academic or scientific research, searching for a job in Germany, to study at a German university, working as an au pair, starting your own business, and seeking refuge or asylum. Though one visa could be free for a citizen of one country and €90 for another, long-term visas typically cost between €50 and €100 (I Am Expat). To find the exact cost of your visa, consult the website of the immigration office or German foreign mission at which you plan to apply. Here is a complete list of German foreign missions around the world.
Many applicants struggle with the visa system. Conflicting information, bureaucratic feedback loops, and language barriers can make the process unnecessarily difficult for both tourists and those looking for a long-term stay in Germany. Often people will seek the help of an immigration lawyer or similar service, but this can cost around €100 to €200 for a single consultation (Law Office Grueneberg, Kanzlei Ersöz). We offer 20 minute consultations available over phone or video call, that can be easily reserved on our website.
All short-term visa applicants are required to have purchased their return flight in advance as it is one of the application documents (Germany Visa). Certain time limited long-term visas may also require the advance purchase of a return flight.
The Schengen Visa requires a bank statement from applicants proving they have at least €45 per day for the duration of their trip to prove they will be able to fund their stay. Many long-term visas require the holder to open a Sperrkonto, or blocked bank account. This applies for National Visa applicants coming to Germany for the purpose of university studies, seeking a job, an apprenticeship, an au pair job, and attending language school. Opening such an account usually entails a fee of €50 to €150 depending on the bank. The required amount of money in the account varies depending on the purpose of the visa, and though it is not technically a “cost” as it is not paid to anyone, the applicant does need to be in possession of the necessary sum of money at the time of application (I Am Expat).
Short-term visa applicants are required to show proof of accommodation booking for their time in Germany or, in the case of a stay with friends or family, a copy of their ID and passport (Germany Visa). For those applying for a long-term visa, accommodation costs are somewhat more complicated than simply booking a hotel. Many long-term visas, particularly anyone applying for a long-term visa in Berlin, will require proof of residence in Germany as a part of the application in the form of either a certificate of registration from the Bürgeramt (Citizens Registration Office) or a rental agreement and written confirmation from your landlord. Rent differs widely between different regions in Germany, southern and western Germany being generally more expensive than northern and eastern Germany. A one bedroom apartment in Berlin costs on average €796, whereas in Hamburg, Frankfurt, and München the average rent for a single bedroom apartment is €838, €867, and €1094 respectively (Studying in Germany). Additionally, a Kaution (security deposit) is usually paid at the beginning of a rental contract. This is most often in the amount of three times your Kaltmiete, or rent without utilities (All About Berlin).
Insurance is a requirement for both short and long-term visas in Germany. Short-term visas require travel health insurance for the duration of the visa that covers medical emergencies from a minimum of €30,000. Health insurance companies with travel insurance policies accepted by all German authorities include Europ Assistance, AXA Assistance, and DR-WALTER (Schengen Visa Info). One month of coverage from these companies costs approximately €55, €65, and €35 respectively. Long-term visa holders may have a more complicated health insurance process. Working holiday visa holders, for example, need travelers insurance to apply for their visa, but in order to start working upon arriving in Germany will need German health insurance. Public health insurance in Germany costs 14% of a beneficiary’s gross salary, half of which is paid for by the employer and half by the employee. This amount is capped at yearly earnings of €54,456 and above, meaning no one pays more than €360 a month for public health insurance. International students studying in Germany, however, only pay a flat rate of between €80 and €110 a month depending on the provider. Many freelancers opt for private insurance (Expatrio).
There are many small costs that come into play in the process of obtaining your German visa and putting it to use. It is best to do research not only on your visa type, but also the application requirements of the specific office at which you plan to apply for it in order to best understand the fees that your visa will entail.