Travelling to Germany: essential information
Do I need a visa? What kind of ID do I need? How can I make myself understood? You will find information to help you quickly and easily get your bearings in Germany here.
When entering Germany, does my passport need to be valid beyond my period of stay?
When entering Germany, your passport must be valid for at least four months beyond your period of stay. Unless you are a citizen of an EU member state, in which case a valid identity card is all that is required.
Who needs a visa for Germany?
Citizens of EU member states do not require a visa. As a basic rule, citizens of all other nations will require a visa. The exception being a few countries for which the European Union has waived the visa requirement. Citizens of these nations do not need a visa for stays in Germany of up to three months within a period of six months.
Goods from EU countries are duty free as long as you carry the goods with you, and they are intended for personal consumption.
Goods imported to Germany from non-EU countries are duty free up to a value of EUR 175. There are, however, certain restrictions on goods such as tobacco, alcohol and perfume.
What is the weather like in Germany?
Germany generally has a temperate climate with moderate rainfall and predominately westerly winds. Major temperature fluctuations are rare. Rain falls throughout the year. Mild winters (2 °C to –6 °C) and warm summers (18 °C to 20 °C) are the norm.
Which vaccinations are compulsory for entry into Germany?
There are no compulsory vaccinations for entry into Germany.
From spring to autumn, however, there is an increased risk of catching Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), both of which are transmitted through tick bites. Ticks mainly live low to the ground in areas of dense vegetation. So the best protection against them is clothing that covers as much of the body as possible. If bitten, you should see a doctor as a precaution.
The main at-risk areas are Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, as well as certain regions of Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia. We recommend a TBE vaccine for anyone who spends a lot of time in the countryside.
The official language is German. There are many dialects and vernaculars that reveal where a person comes from. Standard German is understood throughout the country.
A large proportion of the population also speaks English, so language barriers shouldn't pose a problem for many international visitors.
The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce consists of bilateral trade organisations, delegations and representatives of German industry. They advise, guide and represent German companies worldwide that want to set up or expand their international business. The German Chambers of Commerce Abroad are institutions that promote Germany's foreign trade and investment. The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce coordinates and constantly develops the network of German Chambers of Commerce Abroad. They are partially funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Its representatives can be described as Germany's 'eyes, ears and voice' abroad. They represent Germany, safeguard its interests and protect its citizens in host countries based on guidance from the German Federal Foreign Office. They negotiate with the respective foreign government and promote political relations as well as economic, cultural and scientific collaboration.
The embassies play a part in all aspects of international relations to promote bilateral – especially political – relations and German economic interests, to look after German nationals and to collaborate internationally on research and technology as well as social, agricultural and development policy.
Unlike embassies, which are responsible for one or more countries, Consulate Generals and Consulates have a regional administrative district. Their range of duties encompasses mainly legal and consular matters, export business assistance, cultural collaboration and PR work. However, political relations fall under the embassies' remit.
If you want to successfully learn German for everyday use, leisure, work or study, the Goethe-Institut is your partner for qualified German lessons. Choose from our range of focuses to best suit your aims. Most of our German courses are designed for beginners or intermediates.
Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) is the economic development agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. With more than 50 locations around the world and a network of partners, Germany Trade & Invest supports German companies on their paths to international trade, advertises Germany and guides international companies who want to get established in Germany.
The German National Tourist Guide Association (BVGD) awards its members credentials based on a three-star system. The badges for the BVGD Further Training Certificate and the new BVGD Certificate DIN EN 15565 are also a sign of quality-conscious, highly qualified tourist guides.
More information on the BVGD: www.bvgd.org
What does SOS mean?
Across Europe, you can call the standard emergency number 112 at any time to request assistance from the fire brigade and emergency services. Calls are free from all networks, even from a mobile phone.
The SOS distress signal originated in German government maritime radio regulations and stands for Morse code. It's not an abbreviation: it represents the Morse code 'three short/three long/three short'.