Visa and residence permit
Here you can find out how to extend or apply for your visa / residence permit in Germany.
Table of content
Which visa do I have?
Visit visa (Type C)
A Type C visit visa is valid for a maximum of 90 days. This visa is for tourist purposes such as holidays or visiting family, relatives and friends. It is very difficult to get an extension for a Type C visa. The following are conditions under which it may be extended:
- Force majeure (e.g. severe weather, air traffic strikes, pandemic)
- Humanitarian reasons (e.g. illness)
- Personal reasons (travel cannot be reasonably expected as a result)
- Delayed arrival (if you arrive later than planned, your visa may be extended by the applicable number of days)
Important: The visa can only be extended if it is still valid. You must have enough money to cover your costs for the entire duration of your stay
Type D visa (national visa)
The Type D visa is intended for longer stays with a duration from 91 days up to a maximum of 6–12 months. If this visa has a territorial restriction, the 90/180-day rule applies, which we will cover below. This visa can be extended under certain conditions.
A territorial restriction means that you are only allowed to stay in the country for which you are applying for the visa. This means free movement within the Schengen Area is not possible.
The 90/180-day rule
The 90/180-day rule means that you are allowed to stay in the Schengen Area outside Germany for 90 out of a total of 180 days. Of course, this only applies as long as your visa is still valid. The 90 days outside Germany must not be exceeded.
The Schengen Area consists of 26 countries, of which 22 states are members of the EU. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have also joined the Schengen Agreement. The only three European countries not part of the agreement are the United Kingdom, Ireland and Cyprus. Your health insurance will cover you during your time in the EU or even throughout the Schengen Area, depending on the type of insurance you have.
Important: The Type D visa is issued once and becomes invalid when you travel outside the Schengen Area. You must have enough money to cover your costs for the entire duration of your stay.
To support you with this, some health insurance companies work together with providers of blocked accounts, such as Fintiba. They can set up a blocked account for you. Find out more about this here.
Airport transit and visitor in transit visas (Type A and B)
There are also visas known as Type A and B visas. However, it is uncommon for students to get them, so we have only shown in the diagram below and have not provided any additional information about them here.
Type A/B: Only for changeovers at the airport, for example; valid for only a few days at most
Type C: Short-term stay
Type D: National long-term stay – day/days, months
How and where do I extend my visa?
You can extend your visa at the foreigners’ registration office in the town or city where you live. Alternatively, you can apply for an Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit). As it takes some time to process your application, you should apply for an extension about two months before your visa expires.
Visas are not designed to be converted into long-term residence permits. Therefore, this is only possible if:
1. you are legally entitled to a residence permit according to the residence law of the country in question
2. you became entitled to this after entry into the Schengen state.
Checklist for extending your visa
Costs for extending your visa
The costs vary according the case.
What types of residence permit are there?
Permanent residence permit
EU long-term residence
Niederlassungserlaubnis (permanent resident card)
EU long-term residence permit
How do I apply for a residence permit?
You must apply for a residence permit at the foreigners’ registration office in the town or city where you live before your entry visa expires. To do this, you must show proof of permanent residence. This is required for all persons who are staying in Germany for more than three months. You can register your permanent residence at your local residents’ registration office.