I want to apply for an extended stay visa for Germany to visit a friend. I want to visit beyond the 90 days that American can visit Schengen countries without going through an application process. The German embassy website indicates that I need to fill out an on-line visa application form. The form asks for the length of stay but indicates that a number greater than 90 days can't be entered. I'm also asked to provide a copy of a plane reservation but I don't want to buy a plane ticket without knowing if I can stay longer than 90 days.

Does anyone have pointers for navigating the process?

UPDATE: After some digging around I found from the German Embassy Website that anyone who wishes to stay in Germany more than 90 days must obtain a residence permit. This information was hard to find because it is only stated in the section that deals with permanent residence. From the website:

Citizens of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the Republic of Korea, as well as EU citizens may apply for their residence permit after entering Germany without a visa.

  • could you perhaps put your UPDATE as an answer?
    – Mark Mayo
    Jan 8, 2012 at 19:27
  • As a new resident in Germany, I have found the bureaucracy to be surprisingly friendly, accommodating, competent, and English-speaking. I think a few phone calls would be the quickest way to resolve your query. It might not be hard to get a residence permit. Just explain what you want to do and see what they suggest.
    – nibot
    Jan 11, 2012 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


I think you may be looking at the wrong form.

As I understand it, as a US passport holder, you're allowed to spend up to 90 days in any 6 month period in the Schengen area without needing a visa. See Visa for European countries for US passport holder

To go beyond that, you generally need a long stay visa (typically in the form of a residents permit) for one country in the Schengen area. Once in possession of that, you're allowed to stay in that one country for as long as you want / your visa allows. Visits to other Schengen countries are normally covered by your US passport visa waiver, so you're limited to 90 days in any 6 months in the remainder of the Schengen area.

Depending on the Schengen country you're heading to, as a US passport holder you may need to apply for the long stay visa / residence visa / residency permit before you leave, or on arrival.

For Germany, it looks like you normally do it when you're there on your 90 days. It's actually a two step process, first you need to go to the local Einwohnermeldeamt with your passport and proof of German address, to get a Meldeschein or a Anmeldebestätigung. Then you can go to the Landratsamt with this and various other paperwork, and get a Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence visa). See this site for a really good walkthrough of the process.

That said, the German Embassy in America do say on their website that Americans can apply for a Permanent Residence Visa before getting to Germany if they wish. This page explains the process and required documentation, as well as the application form and fees. You'll need to contact the appropriate consulate for where you live (different ones cover different states), see this page for how to identify the one covering you and how to get in touch with them.

  • I looked at the German Embassy website again and it has a link for applying for a relative/friends visa but I suspect that it is for people who do need a visa to stay 90 days in Germany. Thus, not applicable to me. The information given is not clear. Thanks for the link to the website and the information on the German agencies to visit once I'm in Germany.
    – user221
    Jul 6, 2011 at 17:30
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    It's probably worth ringing the German Embassy in Washington (or one of the other consulates) and ask them, they should at least be able to point you at some German information you can get translated, even if there's nothing official in English.
    – Gagravarr
    Jul 6, 2011 at 17:45
  • I tried that. The message said to email them but there is no email address on the website and none was given on the recorded message. In my experience German bureaucracy excels at being Kafkaesque.
    – user221
    Jul 7, 2011 at 0:37
  • Several of the consulates do offer a way to email them, have a look at the German Consulates in America list and see if the one/ones near you do offer this?
    – Gagravarr
    Jul 7, 2011 at 14:06

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