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11 words you need to know for your German visa appointment

Tom Ashton-Davies
Tom Ashton-Davies - [email protected]
11 words you need to know for your German visa appointment
Application form for a residence permit. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Wolfram Kastl

From the ‘Antragsformular’ to the ‘Familienzusammenführung’, grasping these 11 essential words will help you navigate the complexities of your German visa application with ease.


If you're applying for a visa outside from Germany, depending on where you are, you may need to know - or will benefit from - knowing some German terms.

Das Antragsformular 

This document (application form) needs to be completed with personal information and details about the purpose of your visit. It serves as the primary application for the visa. 

Der Reisepass 

Your Reisepass (passport) serves as the primary identification document, confirming your personal information. It is then used to assess your travel patterns and visa application history.

Be sure to have enough blank pages left, as your passport will be stamped and the visa will be affixed to a blank page, indicating the dates of validity and the type of visa granted. 

Das Passfoto 

Two identical passport photos are normally required as part of your application.  They should adhere to specific size and format requirements for the visa application and have been taken in the past three months. 


Over the next few years, Germany is planning on phasing out paper photos in favour of digital ones, which can be taken during your appointment at the immigration office. 

READ ALSO: How Germany wants to speed up applications for e-residence permits

Die Aufenthaltsgenehmigung / Aufenthaltserlaubnis 

Die Aufenthaltsgenehmigung or Aufenthaltserlaubis translates to ‘residence permit’ and refers to an official document issued by the immigration authorities in Germany that grants the holder permission to reside in the country for a specified period. 


A German residence permit or 'Aufenthaltstitel'. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Karmann

It is essential for individuals who plan to live in Germany beyond the duration permitted by a standard visa. It serves as legal proof of the individual’s right to reside in the country and may be required for various administrative and legal processes.

Die Visumgebühr 

The visa fee is required to process the visa application.  

The fees vary depending on the type of visa, with shorter visas tending to cost €40 for children and €80 for adults, then longer term visas ranging from €75 to €200 depending on the visa type, applicant’s nationality and other factors.

READ ALSO: Germany or Austria: Where is it easier to get an EU Blue Card?

Das Einladungsschreiben

This ‘letter of invitation’ is a formal letter issued by a host in Germany to invite someone from another country to visit for a specific purpose. It typically contains essential details such as the purpose of the visit, the duration of the stay, the relationship between the host and the guest, and the host’s commitment to providing accommodation and financial support during the guest’s visit. 


Der Nachweis über ausreichende Mittel/über Unterkunft

Evidence of sufficient funds (ausreichende Mittel) and accommodation (Unterkunft) are prerequisites in the visa process. 

Documentation demonstrating the capability to cover expenses during the stay (accommodation, transportation, and living costs) can include bank statements, proof of income and a sponsorship letter.

Proof of accommodation can include hotel reservations or a letter of accommodation from a host for instance. 

Die Krankenversicherung 

Krankenversicherung (health insurance) is required to cover your entire visit, ensuring access to medical care while in Germany. 

The policy should include comprehensive coverage, a minimum coverage amount (usually €30,000 or more), repatriation coverage, immediate coverage, and Schengen Area coverage if you are applying for a Schengen visa. Statutory healthcare is usually mandatory if you are coming to Germany for work, and your employer will pay half of the costs. 

Health insurance cards from statutory insurer AOK.

Health insurance cards from statutory insurer AOK. German health insurance will pay your medical bills, including sick pay for up to 78 weeks. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

Die Botschaft/das Konsulat 

Die Botschaft (embassy) and das Konsulat (consulate) can both help you with your visa whilst abroad. 

The embassy diplomatically represents one country in another, providing consular services, including visa processing and the consulate is a branch within this that assists with visa applications and other consular matters for residents in a specific region.

READ ALSO: The vocabulary you need to understand the German citizenship process

Das Arbeitsvisum/das Studentenvisum 

A work visa and a student visa respectively, these are two of the most common visa types.

An Arbeitsvisum is typically issued based on a specific job offer or employment contract, whereas a Studentenvisum requires specific documentation from the educational institution. 


Die Familienzusammenführung / Familiennachzug 

Familienzusammenführung, or family reunification in English, is the process of bringing family members to join a foreign national who is already residing in Germany, often requiring specific documentation and proof of relationship.

By familiarising yourself with these vital terms, you can approach your often daunting visa appointment with confidence and clarity. 

Whether you’re navigating the Krankenversicherung requirements or understanding the nuances of Familienzusammenzuführung, having these German terms up your sleeve are sure to make the visa process smoother and more successful. 


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