Citizens of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Kazakhstan need an entry visa to travel to the Federal Republic of Germany. Today, we will tell you about the document necessary for issuing a visitor’s visa (a visa for a private trip). Those who are already familiar with the list of documents required for obtaining a German visitor’s visa and have visited relatives or friends in Germany, know about the necessity to submit an invitation (Verpflichtungserklärung) to the consulate.
What is an invitation?
An invitation (Verpflichtungserklärung) is an official document that confirms the commitment of the inviting party towards its guest. This means that the inviting party (in case the guest does not have enough financial means to pay) is responsible for the costs related to the foreigner’s stay in the country (for example medical services or tickets for the return journey of the guest to their home country). This does not apply to the costs related to the guest’s travel arrangements (tickets, health insurance, visa fee).
The invitation is valid for 6 months from the date it is issued. You can start the visa application process 3 months before the start of your planned trip.
In order for the visa application to be processed, the original invitation must be submitted. This means that once the invitation is received (in Germany), it must be sent by post or courier service. When submitting the documents for a visa, a copy of the inviting party’s passport (the person who issued the invitation) should be attached to the invitation.
Where can I get an official invitation letter?
An invitation can be issued to both German citizens and persons who do not have German citizenship but are legally residing in the Federal Republic of Germany. When issuing an invitation, it is necessary to provide information on the level of income that allows you to make a commitment for the period of stay of the foreign visitor in the country.
The Verpflichtungserklärung is available at the foreigner’s bureau in the place of residence of the inviting person. The foreigner’s bureau has a list of necessary documents and application forms for the invitation. For the Verpflichtungserklärung it is necessary to make an appointment in advance, because applications and documents can only be made by appointment.
An alternative to the formal invitation is to write a free-form invitation. A free-form invitation does not require official registration with the Ausländerbehörde and therefore does not require proof of the income level of the inviting party. This type of invitation can be printed by the person (inviting party) that accepts the liability of a foreign guest, using a computer. Free-form invitation forms can be found on the visa application centers’ websites in your country. Before issuing this type of invitation, we advise you to consult a visa center or a travel agency that specializes in issuing visas to Germany.
The free-form invitation must be written in either German or English, and must include the following information:
- information about the inviting person: surname, first name, residential address, telephone number;
- information about the person who issued the invitation (the host): name, surname, date of birth, residence address, telephone number;
- information about the planned trip, specifying how long it will last and what its purpose is.
A free-form invitation submitted for the opening of a visa must contain the original signature of the inviting person. Consequently, after “writing” the invitation, its original must be sent by post or by means of a courier service. It is also important to indicate the date of creating the invitation.
The free-form invitation must be accompanied by a copy of the passport of the person who wrote it.
Schengen visa or national visa: what are the terms and purposes of your stay in Germany?
A Schengen visa is required for short-term trips to Germany (for a stay not exceeding 90 days). A national visa is required for a long stay, residence in Germany (stay in the territory of the country more than 90 days).
When applying for a national visa for the purpose of marriage or spousal reunification (if the marriage was not concluded in the Republic of Germany), an official letter of invitation with proof of income of the spouse is required.