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Visas for longer stays and/or stays entitling the holder to take up gainful employment

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As a rule, all foreigners require visas for stays of more than three months or stays leading to gainful employment. Exemptions apply to EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and Swiss nationals.

Furthermore, citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and the United States of America may obtain any residence permit that may be required after entering Germany. Citizens of all other countries planning a longer stay in Germany must apply for visas at the competent mission before arriving in the country. Such visa applications must be approved by the relevant foreigners authority in Germany, i.e. the foreigners authority in the place where the applicant intends to take up residence. If the approval of the foreigners authority is necessary before a visa can be issued, the procedure can take up to three months, in some cases longer, since the foreigners authority will often consult other authorities (e.g. the Federal Employment Agency). Missions may only issue visas once they have obtained the approval of the foreigners authority.

Visas entitling holders to take up gainful employment often do not require the approval of the foreigners authority, which speeds up the application process.


Preparing the application

You should start to prepare your application as soon as you are planning to stay for a longer period in Germany. Applications for visas entitling the holder to a longer stay or to take up gainful employment may take several months to process.

Please prepare your application as follows::

  • Please fill in the visa application form in German or English and in Latin letters and sign the form. Any false statements can lead to

    the application being rejected or to the annulment of a visa already granted. Visa application forms can be obtained from the relevant mission free of charge. They can also be downloaded .

  • Necessary documents
    Please collect all necessary documents. Uncomplete documentation can be a reason for the application to be rejected.
    All applicants must provide the originals of all documents required, along with 2 copies. If necessary, documents have to be legalized and translated into German.
    Please find below a checklist for each type of visa.

Visa for family reunification


Visa for family reunification, joining your spouse who lives in Germany and is a German citizen

  • Passport
    Your passport must have at least 2 blank pages, have been issued within the previous 10 years and the validity has to extend the duration of the visa you are applying for by at least 3 months
  • Residence Permit
  • A valid Bulgarian residence permit (lichna karta or long-term visa)
  • Passport Photos
    2 (for Schengen visas), 3 (for long-term visas) recent passport sized photographs with biometric criteria:
    3,5 cm x 4,5 cm, good contrast, light background (single-colored white or light grey), height of the face must be 32 mm - 36 mm from chin to hairline
    (photograhs can be purchased e.g. at the photo shop in Elemag Street right behind the Embassy)
  • Application Form
    2 fully completed visa application forms for a long-term visa (in German or English)
  • Marriage certificate (on a multilingual form according to the CIEC-agreement or depending on the country an apostille, legalization and certified translation into German might be necessary)
  • Proof of valid health insurance in Germany
  • Proof of place of residency of the partner in Germany, e.g. certificate of registration not older than 6 months
  • Proof of A1 German language certificate (Goethe Institute)
  • Informal written confirmation of the partner who lives in Germany, confirming the intention of a marital relationship

Visa for family reunification, joining your spouse who lives in Germany and who enjoys the Right of Free Movement

  • Passport
    Your passport must have at least 2 blank pages, have been issued within the previous 10 years and the validity has to extend the duration of the visa you are applying for by at least 3 months
  • Residence Permit
  • A valid Bulgarian residence permit (lichna karta or long-term visa)
  • Passport Photos
    2 (for Schengen visas), 3 (for long-term visas) recent passport sized photographs with biometric criteria:
    3,5 cm x 4,5 cm, good contrast, light background (single-colored white or light grey), height of the face must be 32 mm - 36 mm from chin to hairline
    (photograhs can be purchased e.g. at the photo shop in Elemag Street right behind the Embassy)
  • Application Form
    2 fully completed visa application forms for a long-term visa (in German or English)
  • Marriage certificate (on a multilingual form according to the CIEC-agreement or depending on the country an apostille, legalization and certified translation into German might be necessary)
  • Proof of valid health insurance in Germany
  • Proof of place of residency of the partner in Germany, e.g. certificate of registration not older than 6 months

Visa for family reunification, joinng your spouse who lives in Germany and is a non-EU citizen

  • Passport
    Your passport must have at least 2 blank pages, have been issued within the previous 10 years and the validity has to extend the duration of the visa you are applying for by at least 3 months
  • Residence Permit
  • A valid Bulgarian residence permit (lichna karta or long-term visa)
  • Passport Photos
    2 (for Schengen visas), 3 (for long-term visas) recent passport sized photographs with biometric criteria:
    3,5 cm x 4,5 cm, good contrast, light background (single-colored white or light grey), height of the face must be 32 mm - 36 mm from chin to hairline
    (photograhs can be purchased e.g. at the photo shop in Elemag Street right behind the Embassy)
  • Application Form
    2 fully completed visa application forms for a long-term visa (in German or English)
  • Marriage certificate (on a multilingual form according to the CIEC-agreement or depending on the country an apostille, legalization and certified translation into German might be necessary)
  • Proof of valid health insurance in Germany

  • Proof of place of residency of the partner in Germany, e.g. certificate of registration not older than 6 months

  • Copy of the residence permit of the spouse living in Germany

  • Proof of A1 German language certificate (Goethe Institute)

  • Informal written confirmation of the partner who lives in Germany, confirming the intention of a marital relationship

  • Contract of employment, business registration or trade register excerpt of the spouse living in Germany

  • Proof of stable source of income, e.g. wage statement/payslip, tax assessment, proof of other sources of income

  • Copy of rental Agreement

Visa for Students, University Applicants and Language Course Participants

All applicants must provide the originals of all documents required, along with 2 copies. Depending on the country where the document has been issued, legalization or an apostille might be needed. Foreign-language documents must include a German Translation.

  • Passport
    Your passport must have at least 2 blank pages, have been issued within the previous 10 years and the validity has to extend the duration of the visa you are applying for by at least 3 months
  • Residence Permit
    A valid Bulgarian residence permit (lichna karta or long-term visa)
  • Passport Photos
    2 (for Schengen visas), 3 (for long-term visas) recent passport sized photographs with biometric criteria:
    3,5 cm x 4,5 cm, good contrast, light background (single-colored white or light grey), height of the face must be 32 mm - 36 mm from chin to hairline
    (photographs can be purchased e.g. at the photo shop in Elemag Street right behind the Embassy)
  • Application Form
    2 fully completed visa application forms for a long-term visa (in German or English)
  • certificate of admission or confirmation of application *
  • educational certificates qualifying applicate for admission to university
  • proof of educational background, that qualifies to commence academic studies (e.g. school graduation diploma, university diploma or if applicable study certificates)
  • proof of German language skills (where applicable registration certificate for intensive language course in Germany) **
  • proof of sufficient financial means for the first year (the monthly minimum is the standard rate laid down by the BAföG, currently 720,00 €)

* University Applicants

- If you haven't yet applied to a university in Germany, but would like to inform yourself about possible local study options, you should apply for a visa for university applicants sufficiently in advance to your planned departure date. Alternately to the confirmation of application, please indicate your preferred place of study in the visa application form.

- After the enrollment has taken place, the visa can be renewed or converted into a residence permit by the locally competent foreigners' registration office (Ausländerbehörde) during your stay in Germany.

- If the admission to study is denied, you are obligated to leave the country upon expiration of your visa.

** Language Course Participants

- If you solely intend to attend a long-term intensive language course (more than three months, not less than 18 class hours per week), you need to submit a registration certificate from the language course institute, proof of health insurance cover for the period of your stay and a letter of motivation. (The documents listed at the top of this page are not required).

- If you intend to study in Germany immediately subsequent to your language course, please indicate this in your visa application. If all the requirements are met, a visa for university applicants and students can be granted which entitles participation in a language course as well for study purposes.

- Visas for language course participants will initially be issued for a period of three months and can be renewed or converted to a residence permit by the locally competent foreigners' registration office (Ausländerbehörde) during your stay in Germany. You are obligated to leave the country upon expiration of your visa.


  • Declaration of commitment by a third person before a German foreigners registration office (Ausländerbehörde) according to §§ 66-68 AufenthG (including a credit check) covering the entire duration of the stay.
  • Deposit of a security on a blocked account in Germany, from which only 1/12 of the deposited amount can be paid out every month (minimum coverage: 8.640,00 €).

    Please choose a provider of such services, according to your own preferences. You are welcome to consult this website for a list of globally operating providers. You may as well consider opening a blocked account with a bank at your future place of study. For further information, please contact the local branch of your preferred bank directly.

  • Proof of an adequate scholarship sponsored by German public funds or a scholarship provided by an organisation that awards financial support to individuals, which is well-recognized in Germany. Also possible is a scholarship sponsored by public funds of the country of residence, providing the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD) or another German organisation that awards financial support to individuals was responsible for the mediation of the German university.
  • Presentation of the income and assets of the parents, for example a notarially certified confirmation of cost coverage in the amount of at least 720,00 € per month for the entire duration of the stay and a bank reference showing a credite of at least 8.640,00 € or a corresponding amount in another currency (in this case, the counter-value in Euros must be stated in your bank attestation).
  • Bank guarantee of a financial institute in Germany, which has to be renewed every year (minimum coverage: 8.640,00 €)

Entry Visa for EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card allows third-country nationals with a university degree to take up employment in Germany commensurate with their qualifications. The EU Blue Card, like all long-term residence permits, is issued exclusively by the relevant foreigners' authority in Germany. You must hold a valid long-term visa before traveling to Germany.

General information can be found under the following links:

The website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees:

http://www.bamf.de/en/startseite/startseite-node-html

http://www.banf.de/shareddocs/anlagen/en/publikationen/flyer/flyer-blaue-karte.html?nn=1371038

The website of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research:

https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/tools/berater/en/berater/list

The portal for qualified professionals:

http://make-it-in-germany.com/en

General Visa requirements

All applicants must provide the originals of all documents required, along with 2 copies.

  • Passport
    Your passport must be vailid, have at least 2 blank pages and have been issued within the previous 10 years
  • Residence Permit
    A valid Bulgarian residence permit (lichna karta or long-term visa)
  • Passport Photos
    3 recent passport sized photographs with biometric criteria: 3,5 cm x 4,5 cm, good contrast, light background (single-colored white or light grey), height of the face must be 32 mm - 36 mm from chin to hairline (photographs can be purchased e.g. at the photo shop in Elemag Street right behind the Embassy)
  • Application Form
    2 fully completed visa application form for a long-term visa (in German or English)
  • Curriculum vitae of your professional career, including certificates, diplomas, etc.
  • Employment contract including details of gross annual salary and working hours
  • German university degree or recognised foreign degree comparable to a German degree (depending on the country where the degree has been issued: legalization or an apostille might be needed)
  • To evaluate your foreign degree and check recognition of foreign professional qualifications in Germany please consult the ANABIN database (website is in German only): http://anabin.kmk.org
  • Health Insurance
    Following approval of the visa application and before the visa can be issued, you must provide evidence that you hold travel insurance (with a coverage of at least 30.000,00 Euros, valid for all Schengen countries) for the period between your departure date and commencement of employment, if such has not already been submitted.
  • All visa applicants are required to make an appointment!
    Visa appointments for the Embassy in Sofia can only be booked online with the German Foreign Office. To make an appointment online please visit their website: BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
    Please note that the appointments offered on this system are the earliest and the only appointments available. Due to a high demand there can be a waiting period for appointments. Therefore we are unable to offer you a short term appointment. We ask you to make an appointment as early as possible (and not earlier than three months before your travel date).
    Before booking an appointment, please read carefully all information. Uncomplete applications must be rejected, and a new appointment is required.
    It is not possible to book an appointment just for information without application.

Appointment for application

As a rule, applicants must submit visa applications, together with all necessary documents, in person at the German mission responsible for their place of residence. In order to avoid time‑consuming requests for additional information or documentation, applicants should consult the website of the respective mission well in advance of their departure date to find out about the visa procedure and about the documentation which has to be submitted.

Please be on time to avoid any delays. You will submit your application, answer questions about your travel plans, leave your finger prints and pay the fee (75 €, to be paid in bulgarian Leva). More information about the fees you can find here.


Process of the visa application

Applications for visas entitling the holder to a longer stay or to take up gainful employment may take several months to process. When applying each application is given a registry number. With this number, the applicant, his/her legal guard or a Person duely entitled by him can inquire for information about the procedure.


Passport pick-up

Once the decision has been made you can come and pick up your passport during the opening hours for that purpose.

Should a visa application be rejected, the applicant will be informed of the main reasons for the rejection. Every applicant is entitled to take legal recourse against the mission’s decision.

It is also always possible to submit a new application with complete documents.


Enjoy your trip! Some information for visa holders

Please check upon picking up your passport, if all data on your visa sticker are correct. You will find your complete name, your passport number and your photo. The visa also contains the period of validity (this is the time within which you should have got your national residence permit). Therefore, please do not forget to contact the foreigner's autority upon your arrival in Germany. With the national visa you can travel within the Schengen Area.

The National Visa does not automatically entitle to enter the Schengen Space, though. The decision about your entry is made at the border by the Border Police. Possibly you will be asked to present next to your valid visa more documents proving the purpose and length of your stay as well as how you are going to finance it. You should also always have some proof of health insurance with you.

More Information you can find here (FAQ)


Please note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with utmost care, we cannot accept any responsiblity for inaccuracies contained herein. Please be advised that in order to give specific advice on any visa application it is necessary to view all documents relevant to each case. Additional documentation may be requried in individual cases.

Weitere Informationen

Please note that all fees must be paid in Bulgarian Leva (BGN), in cash or by credit card (visa, mastercard). Fees are to be paid when submitting an application. Further fees will not be charged.

Since 14 May 2008, the fee for all types of visas has been BGN 118,-.

Exemptions may be possible. Please refer to our fees page for information

Here you can find information about biometric passport photos which can be purchased e.g. at the foto studio behind the Embassy, ul. Elemag, / ul. Konstantin Kisimov

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