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German Embassy releases stipulations on visa applications
June 12, 2018, 4:07 pm
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With the start of the travel season, many Kuwaitis and expats will choose to travel to Germany for a myriad of reasons, the most common ones being holiday, leisure and medical visits. The majority of applicants are Kuwaiti citizens and their families, but expats are showing growing interest in Germany for holiday, trade fair and business visits owing to the expanding business relationships between Kuwaiti and German companies.

With almost 55,000 applications processed by the end of 2017, the German Embassy in Kuwait has recorded a steady increase in Schengen visas over the last few years. The most popular destinations are the top tourist cities such as Munich, Berlin, Aachen and Frankfurt amongst others.

Many travellers, however, also discover the different regions of the country by car or train, where they enjoy a variety of scenic landscapes, unique shopping experiences and premium health care facilities at the same time.

Due to the long wait for processing visas, please apply early.

The German Embassy would like to call upon all travellers to start filing their Schengen visa applications for their annual vacation to Germany at the earliest and not just a few days before the actual trip in order to avoid any inconveniences.

At the moment, appointments at the application Centre Al Qabas can be obtained within 1-2 days, however, during the summer travel season, the waiting time for an appointment can be stretched to one week or more due to the large number of applicants. Last summer, the Visa Section of the German Embassy has processed between 10,000 and 12,000 visas per month.

Please bear in mind that for Kuwaiti nationals a minimum of 3-5 working days is required from the moment your application arrives at the Embassy until you get back your stamped passport. For other nationalities, the procedure might take 10-12 days. However, in individual cases the processing can take up to two weeks for all nationalities.

The visa clearance is a computerized process – the German Embassy has no influence on the processing time.

Schengen Visa – where to apply?

In accordance with the Schengen Code, a Schengen visa for a short stay up to 90 days has to be applied for through the Embassy of the country which is your main destination.

The main destination is understood to be the destination where the applicant intends to spend the longest time or where the main purpose of the intended journey is carried out.

However, for your entry and departure you may cross any Schengen border to reach your destination with a visa issued by any Schengen Member State.

Example:

A Kuwaiti national wishes to travel to Germany for a medical check-up (20 days) and has additionally organized a short holiday in Austria (10 days). He will arrive at and leave from Amsterdam (Netherlands) and travel from there by car.

The main purpose of the trip and longest stay is the medical check-up, and thus the application should be processed by the German Embassy, even though the arrival and departure to the Schengen area is through Amsterdam.

If no main destination can be determined due to equal duration and purpose of stay in several Member States, e.g. tourism round trip of 5 days in each country, then the Embassy of the Member State whose external border the applicant intends to cross first should deal with the application.

Please note:

At the border of entry or during other controls you may have to show the visa but also provide additional documentation, for example information on your travel destination or that you have sufficient means to cover the stay and the return trip. It is therefore recommended that you carry with you copies of the documents which you presented when applying for the visa (e.g. hotelbooking or letters of invitation, flight confirmations, travel health insurance or other documents stating the purpose of your stay).

What are the Schengen States?

Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have all acceded to the Schengen Agreement and are thus Schengen states.

The Schengen area includes all EU member states except the UK, Ireland and Cyprus; at present theEU members Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia only apply some of the Schengen provisions. Until these three countries apply what is known as the Schengen acquis in full, as is their aim, passport controls will remain in place at internal borders. In addition to the EU countries already mentioned, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are also Schengen states.

Did you know that….

- Applications can be handed in as early as three months prior to the intended travel date?

If you are a frequent traveller, then please attach copies of your previous Schengen visas to your application file in order to enable the Visa Team to check whether you might be eligible to a multiple entry visa with a longer validity period.

… for your convenience the external service provider Al Qabas Assurex is operating a Visa Application Centre supporting the German Embassy in Kuwait?

The support of Al Qabas enables the German Embassy to offer better customer service hours and to shorten waiting times for all customers in order to facilitate a smooth application process. All visa applications for journeys to Germany have to be submitted there and customers can track the status of their applications online. For the travellers’ convenience, Al Qabas will ensure that the applications include all relevant documents, assist with the application procedure if necessary and offer you additional services. Application forms and further information can be obtained at Al Qabas offices or online at http://www.qavisa.com/

… There are now online tools to assist you with calculating the 90 days period of stay?

A Schengen visa entitles the holder to a stay not exceeding 90 days per six-month period, even if the Schengen visa has been issued with a validity of one year or more. This period of stay begins with the first day of entry into a Schengen state. Once a Schengen visa has been issued, the holder is eligible to travel within the entire Schengen zone for a maximum of 90 days within a period of six month, depending on the validity of the visa.

Customers sometimes find it difficult to calculate this period of stay. Therefore, you can find an electronic calculator on the homepage of the German Embassy under ‘FAQ Visa’ (www.kuwait.diplo.de) to assist you with your travel planning.

… your fingerprints will be stored in the Schengen Visa Information System (VIS) for 5 years

So that you don’t have to give them every time when applying? When arriving at an external border of the Schengen Area, the visa holder's biometric data is checked to confirm his identity. Thanks to the use of biometric data such as your fingerprints, a visa holder can easily be identified as the person who applied for the visa. Once finger scans are stored in the VIS, they can be re-used for further visa applications within the system over a 5-year period. Children under the age of 12 do not have to give their fingerprints when filing their application.

… the official visa fees for a Schengen visa are only 22,- KWD, even if it is a multiple entry

visa?

Depending on the daily exchange rate, the processing fee for a Schengen visa is currently KD 22, for adults regardless of the visas validity period (KD 13 for children between 6 and 12 years and for children below 6 years the application procedure is for free). Al Qabas is adding a standard service charge of KD 10 on top of the Embassy’s’ processing fee and you can find all these amounts transparently documented on their homepage. Unfortunately, some private businesses or agencies are claiming to render visa or messenger services to German Schengen customers without being appointed by the German Embassy. Please be aware of the prices and quality of service of such agencies since various complaints have been received about overpriced services and wrong visa information.

… you have to make a customs declaration if you enter Germany with a total amount of € 10,000 (ten thousand Euros) or more per person?

Anybody entering Germany from a non-European Union country carrying cash in a total amount of 10,000 euros or more is obliged to declare this amount of money to the competent German customs office in writing without being explicitly requested to do so.

The purpose of the obligation to declare is to prevent the illegal movement of money across the external borders of the European Union in order to combat money laundering, the financing of terrorist organizations and criminal activities. The obligation to submit a declaration and the customs inspections are not intended to restrict the free movement of capital in any way.

You will still be permitted to carry unlimited amounts of cash across borders in the future.

Travellers who intend to bring an amount of €10,000 or more per person to Germany can download the necessary cash declaration form at http://www.zoll.de prior to their trip and present the completed declaration form upon arrival to the German customs officers to facilitate entry procedures.

… I have renewed my passport. The Schengen visa in my old passport is still valid. Does it allow me to travel to Germany?

Yes. You can travel with your old passport that contains the valid visa together with the new passport. Travellers who have a valid Schengen visa for the duration of the planned trip in the old passport may use this old visa in connection with the new passport to travel to Germany,

- if the new passport is attached to the old one and

- if the spelling of the name and alphanumerical data is exactly the same between the two passports and does not differ (e.g. new visa required, if name spelling in the old passport ‘Mohammed AJ’ and in the new differently ‘Mohamad A J M’).

For travels to other Schengen countries please reconfirm with the respective Embassies.

If you prefer to obtain a new visa in new passport, please note that your old visa must be cancelled by issuing Embassy prior to filing your new application.

The visa validity depends on various factors such as your travel purpose and travel history. If you are a frequent traveler or owner of a business or property in Germany, please feel free to attach additional documents (property/company deed, old visas, copies of border stamps from previous travel to Germany, etc.) when requesting a multiple entry visa with longer validity period.

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