Frequently asked questions about Schengen visa

09.06.2020 - FAQ

Check if your question about Schengen visa is answered here!


Applicants are recommended to arrive 15 minutes prior to their appointments. Any applicant not arriving within 15 minutes of his/her interview time will have his/her appointment cancelled and must re-apply for an appointment through VFS German Visa Application Centre. A missed appointment will require to follow the appointment booking process once again. The VFS service fee needs to be paid again.

Please contact VFS German Application Centre


Contact VFS for any information regarding the visa process:

By phone: +94 112 350 630 between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, from Monday to Friday

By email: info.germansl@vfshelpline.com

Please carefully read the visa sticker: it stipulates how many days in the given period of time you can stay in Germany and the other Schengen states. The visa sticker also stipulates how many times you are allowed to enter the Schengen area (1, 2 or multiple).

In order to be more flexible with your travel dates the Embassy recommends to take out a flexible travel health insurance or a health insurance which covers a longer period. This will enable the Embassy to issue the visa with a period of validity including an additional “grace period” of up to 15 days.

The maximum stay within half a year is 90 days. Once you have used the full 90 days per half year you have to wait at least three months (calculated from the day on which you left Germany or another Schengen state last time) before travelling to Germany or another Schengen state again.

Yes, you can. Holders of a Schengen Visa (text on the visa reads: “valid for: Schengen-Staaten”), a longterm national visa or a residence permit of a member state can stay up to 90 days (within half a year) in the entire Schengen area. The Schengen area consists of the following countries:

Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The Schengen Visa has to be applied for at the foreign mission of the country which is the main destination (generally longest stay). The country of entry and departure is not the determining factor. The entry into and departure from the Schengen area can thus occur at any border crossing.

Yes. Holders of Schengen visa (text on the visva reads “valid for: Schengen-Staaten” in the language of the issuing country), longterm national visa or a residence permit of a member state can also stay in Germany for a maximum of 90 days (usually without having to go through passport control at internal borders).

The visa should however have been issued by a mission of the country which is the main destination. The country of entry and departure is not the determining factor.

The Embassy decides what type of visa to issue (period of validity, number of days covered) on the basis of the documents submitted. If necessary, it may issue a visa that entitles the holder to enter the Schengen area on multiple occasions within the given period of validity. Such annual or multi-annual visas, which are valid for one or more years, are as a rule only issued to persons who have already been to Germany or other Schengen states several times in the past and are considered to be particularly trustworthy (e.g. because of their position in the host country). Please note that regardless of the length of validity, visas only entitle the holder to a maximum stay of ninety days per six-month period, calculated from the date of first entry.

If your travel plans change and the visa is not valid at the time of your actual travel you have to apply for a new visa and submit documents with altered travel dates (i.e. health insurance, invitation, travel itinerary).

Yes, we strongly recommend that you request the valid visa in your previous passport to be revoked and get a new visa with your new passport. As some Schengen countries do not allow entry with a visa in an invalid passport you may be turned away by the airline or denied entry at the Schengen border if you do not hold a valid visa in a valid passport. Your revocation request must be in writing.

While we strive to keep the waiting period for an interview and the processing time to a minimum, waiting times vary depending on the time of year. Bear in mind that there might be a backlog of several days for interview slots.

Although the standard processing time for the decision on visa applications is 15 calendar days, certain cases may require an extended review which can result in the extension of the processing time to 45 days. Therefore, please plan your travel and apply for a visa as far in advance as possible. You can lodge your application up to 6 months before the planned trip.

Complete your application fully and accurately, and make sure the form and all required declarations are duly signed. Submit complete and conclusive supporting documentation.

If your visa application is not complete gather the necessary documents first and file the application later. Incomplete applications may take longer to process or might be refused altogether.

Please understand that for various reasons (privacy, limited space, etc.) it is not possible to bring somebody along. The interview will be conducted solely with you.

Exceptions are made for handicapped or elderly people needing support of somebody. Minors must be accompanied by their parent(s), custodian(s) or by their legal guardian.

Documents of any kind in support of a specific application must be sent to the applicant and be presented by him or her during the application process. Neither the Embassy nor VFS German Application Centre can store such documents and they will be discarded upon receipt.

You will be handed a receipt of the application filed and the fee paid at VFS.

A formal pledge to cover all costs associated with the trip (declaration of commitment “Verpflichtungserklärung”) is usually required if the applicant does not pay for the travel expenses and costs of living in Germany by him-/herself. The person/firm/organisation wishing to invite the applicant can get the relevant form at the local aliens authority in Germany responsible for his/her place of residence or from the local agency for public order (Ordnungsamt).

If your visa application is not complete you should gather the necessary documents first and file the application later. Incomplete applications can result in rejection. Please bear in mind that if you file an application you will be charged a non-refundable fee each time you apply.

So please make sure you bring along all required documents to the interview in order to avoid being refused due to incomplete documents. Therefore please read the relevent information leaflet for your type of visa and apply only with complete documentation.

All applicants are welcome to re-apply but we generally do not recommend doing so unless the reasons for denial have been removed, the applicant's circumstances have changed or if they have new information to present.

For general questions on Schengen visa requirements and appointments as well on pending visa applications you may contact VFS

Please understand that enquiries regarding the current status of the proceedings will not be answered by the Embassy as these cause further delays. Due to German privacy laws no information will be given regarding refusals on the phone. Appeals (“Remonstrationen”) need to be filed in writing (please see FAQ for more information).

Complaints about the Schengen visa application process

Schengen visa applicants may submit complaints about the conduct of the consulate staff, the external service provider VFS Global or the visa application process via the E-mail contact form to the consular and visa section In the contact form, please select the option “Schengen visa complaints”. Please note that complaints may only be submitted in German or English. We are unable to follow up on complaints in languages other than German or English. Please enter one of the following three options in the “Subject” field of the contact form:

  • Complaint about the conduct of consulate staff
  • Complaint about the conduct of the external service provider VFS Global
  • Complaint about the visa application process

We will follow up on your complaint once it has been received.

Important information: No legal remedies against decisions to refuse, annul or revoke a visa – in particular no remonstrations – may be submitted via the complaints contact form.

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