Customs Regulations and Visa Requirements of Germany
Germany is part of the Schengen area, so a Schengen visa is required to stay in this country. The requirements for obtaining this document for Russians have been tightened since 2014. But, despite this, the number of visa centers in Russia continues to grow, and some of them offer a tourist visa in absentia, without a personal presence at the Consulate.
At the beginning of 2015, the conditions for obtaining a tourist and visitor visa to Germany have changed somewhat. Check a2zdirectory for history of Germany.
To become a candidate for a standard German tourist visa, you need to prepare the following:
- Passport with several blank pages and valid for at least 90 days from the date of entry into Germany. You will also need a color copy of the cover page with photos and personal information. If you already had international passports before, then you need to present them, along with all the copied pages.
- Russian passport and copies of all completed pages.
- One color photo 5×4.5 cm. The face should occupy 80% of the picture, it is forbidden to be photographed in hats, tinted glasses. The photograph must be printed only on matte paper.
- Help from the place of work. The document is valid for 30 days. Since 2014, a number of requirements have changed specifically for certificates of this kind. They must indicate:
- Personal data of the employee and his official position;
- Salary (salary + bonuses) for the last 12 months;
- Information that the employee will be absent for the specified period, being on official leave and retaining the position and salary upon return.
- Entrepreneurs will need a copy of the company registration certificate, the necessary certificates of the absence of tax debt.
- For schoolchildren and students – a certificate from the educational institution.
- Bank account statement. The amount on the account must be sufficient for the stay in Germany for the specified period. The amount is calculated according to the formula – 45 euros per person per day (until 2014 – 50 euros per person per day). Also, all transactions with the account for the last 3 months at the time of the request must be indicated. The document is valid for 7 days.
- Sponsorship letter for non-working tourists. The letter must be accompanied by a certificate of income and a certificate from the sponsor’s place of work.
- An insurance policy of international standard with a coverage amount of at least 30 thousand euros. The document must be valid for the entire period of stay in Germany. Policies are accepted from any companies licensed in Europe. Very often, travel agencies and even specific visa centers offer services for obtaining such insurance. It is not worth giving up on them.
- Hotel booking confirmation with full prepayment. A must have item recently. The reservation must be valid until arrival in Germany. If for some reason, after receiving a visa, it was canceled, then this is immediately reported to the Consulate, and the visa is canceled within 24 hours.
- Copies of round-trip air tickets with the indicated dates of arrival and return to Russia.
- Homecoming guarantee. Until 2014, they were only needed for visitor visas, but now this is a mandatory item for tourist types of document. For a guarantee, certificates of ownership of real estate, vehicles and others are suitable. Marriage certificate is also suitable, if one of the spouses remains in Russia.
For a visitor visa to Germany, you will need an additional package of documents:
- An invitation from an organization, official authority or other German party registered as a non-private person. Only the original of the invitation, certified by the competent German authorities and sent by registered mail to the name of the recipient and to the name of the Consul, is accepted;
- Invitation from a private person. In this case, the document can be typed on a computer or written by hand. It must also be certified by the local authorities and provide a copy of the inviting person’s passport and a certificate of income for the last 6 months.
- Financial guarantees are signed only by a private inviting person. With this document, he confirms the ability to ensure the stay of the guest, even if he has his own funds in a bank account.
- For relatives, it will be necessary to issue proof of kinship – marriage certificates, birth certificates, confirmation of the change of surname.
After collecting all the necessary documents and confirming them, the visa candidate will be invited to the nearest German Consulate. You will need to arrive at the agreed time and day, you also need to be prepared for a small survey from the consul. Questions will relate to the purpose of the trip and the possible route of travel around the country.
Visa processing time
For 2015, the term for issuing any type of visa to Germany, regardless of the location of the Consulate, is 14 working days. During this time, the candidate will be contacted to confirm or deny the visa. The consular fee is non -refundable in case of refusal.
The most common reasons for refusal to issue a visa are incorrectly executed documents, loan debt, and a criminal record.
The consular fee for Germany, as for most European Union member states, is 35 euros. There is no service fee for obtaining a visa to Germany.
If there is confirmation of kinship with the inviting person, the tourist is exempt from the consular fee.
Since Germany is one of the countries that dictate the rules and laws for the entire European Union, most of the customs nuances correspond to the EU border crossing rules. However, Germany has its own nuances for the import and export of certain things. See Germany import restrictions.
Allowed duty-free import to Germany
- Tobacco products – no more than 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars ;
- Tobacco in its pure form – no more than 200 grams ;
- Alcohol with a strength of over 22% – no more than 1 liter per person over 17 years old ;
- Alcohol with a strength of less than 22% – no more than 2 liters per person over 17 years old. The category of such alcohol includes red and white wine, sparkling wines, liqueurs and beer;
- Coffee – no more than 500 grams in grains or 200 grams in soluble form. Children under 15 years old are not allowed to carry coffee in Germany ;
- Vintage perfume – no more than 60 ml ;
- Eau de toilette – no more than 250 ml ;
- Medications – only if there is a prescription with the seal of the attending physician;
- Personal hygiene items – only in the luggage compartment in sealed packaging ;
- Cash in any currency – no more than 15 thousand euros at the current exchange rate.
Prohibited from importing to Germany
- Firearms, gas and pneumatic weapons, ammunition and spare parts for it;
- Narcotic substances of organic and inorganic origin;
- Psychotropic drugs, including antidepressants (even with a prescription);
- Meat and dairy products produced outside the European Union. Including: sausages, cheeses, canned food, bacon, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.;
- Red and black caviar without factory packaging and trademarks;
- Pornographic products of any kind;
- Books, films, music albums and video games banned in Germany and the European Union;
- Hunting and fishing accessories without a German license;
- Fighting dogs.
Prohibited export from Germany
- Gasoline and diesel fuel over 10 liters;
- Items of cultural and historical value for Germany or the European Union;
- Things that fall under the protection of international environmental organizations – the skins of rare animals, ivory products, crocodile skin.