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English

Contact Info for Foreign Embassies & Consulates

Germany

Country Information

Germany
Federal Republic of Germany
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Six months beyond planned date of departure from the Schengen area

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

Two pages

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under 90 days.

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

€10,000 euros or equivalent 

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

€10,000 euros or equivalent 

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Berlin

Clayallee 170,
14191 Berlin
Germany
Telephone: +(49)(30) 8305-1200 (routine calls, 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, except on U.S. and German holidays, and the last Thursday of each month.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(49)(30) 8305-0
Fax: +(49)(30) 8305-1215

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt
Giessener Str. 30
60435 Frankfurt am Main
Federal Republic of Germany
Telephone: +(49)(69) 7535-2100 (routine calls, 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, except on U.S. and German holidays, and the last Thursday of each month.
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(49)(69) 7535-0
Fax: +(49)(69) 7535-2252

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Destination Description

Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Germany for additional information on the U.S.-Germany relationship.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
  • Germany is a party to the Schengen Agreement. U.S. citizens may enter Germany for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa.  
  • Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay.  This regulation is strictly enforced in Germany. 
  • You may be denied entry into Germany or have your travel disrupted if your passport does not have sufficient validity. 
  • The 90 day period begins upon entry into any Schengen country.  For further details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet. You may also contact the German Embassy in Washington, or German consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or San Francisco to obtain the most current visa information.
  • If you are transiting Germany en route to other countries, know all entry and exit requirements for your final destination.  Incorrect documentation might cause you to be denied boarding for your connecting flight.  Travelers have also been delayed or refused entry to the Schengen zone for missing an onward non-tourism visa for their stay in another country - even if the appropriate visa is available upon arrival in the traveler’s final Schengen country.  If you are denied boarding for either of these reasons, you will need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket or an itinerary that does not require entry into the Schengen zone.

We are unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of Germany.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs information on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. 

Demonstrations occur regularly in Germany. Large, public demonstrations take place for a variety of political and economic issues. Demonstrations tend to take place on politically significant holidays like German Labor Day (May 1) and during international summits hosted in Germany. 

  • Demonstration organizers must obtain prior police approval, and police routinely oversee participants.
  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. 
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates on the situation and traffic advisories.  
  • Security messages issued regarding demonstrations are now posted on the U.S. Mission to Germany’s website.  

CRIME: Violent crime is rare in Germany, but can occur, especially in larger cities or high-risk areas such as on large metropolitan subway systems and in train stations, primarily during late night or early morning hours. Most incidents of street crime involve the theft of unattended items and pick-pocketing. Pay close attention to your valuables at all times.

  • Be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
  • U.S. citizens should exercise caution when congregating in known expatriate hangouts.
  • Hooligans, most often drunken “skinheads,” have harassed and attacked perceived foreigners or members of rival groups.
  • Seemingly racially-motivated assaults (because of a “foreign” appearance) against U.S. citizens have occurred. This could be further exacerbated by the arrival of more than one million refugees to Germany since 2015.
  • Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. They are illegal to bring back into the United States, and you could also be breaking local law.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police:  in an emergency dial 112 for ambulance and 110 for the police and contact the U.S Embassy at +(49)(30) 8305-0 or the nearest U.S. Consulate

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide information on victim’s compensation and support in Germany
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

We also maintain information on our website on how to report child abuse situations to the local authorities.

U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault may contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your district for information about support and resources

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy or nearest consulate for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Germany has strict customs regulations concerning:

  • Temporary importation or exportation of firearms, military artifacts (particularly those of World War II), antiques, medications/pharmaceuticals, and business equipment.
  • Under German law, it is also illegal to bring into or take out of Germany any literature, music, or paraphernalia that glorifies fascism, the Nazi past, or the “Third Reich.”
  • Contact the German Embassy in Washington or one of the German consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
  • Credit cards are not as widely accepted in Germany as they are in the United States. However, ATMs are widely available throughout Germany. 
  • Carry identification with you at all times.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events. Civil unions are legal for same-sex couples;  same-sex marriage is not available in Germany. The LGBTI community is protected by federal anti-discrimination laws and LGBTI Pride events are officially encouraged by most large city governments, including those in Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Munich. See our LGBTI travel information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Germany, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation different from what is found in the United States. Many existing buildings and public transportation systems are less adapted to individuals with disabilities.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Medical Care and Facilities: Germany has good medical care and facilities. If you are not a resident of Germany, doctors and hospitals may expect immediate payment in cash. Most doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies do not accept credit cards.

  • The U.S. Government does not pay medical bills.
  • Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not provide coverage overseas.  
  • Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas or purchase travel insurance for this purpose. 
  • Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation. 

Prescription Medications: Due to Germany’s strict customs regulations, you are not allowed to receive prescription medication by mail without special permission. For more information, please visit the German customs website regarding medicine.

  • On your trip, only carry the amount of medication you plan to use.
  • Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. 

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: German road conditions in general are excellent, although road conditions can be significantly different from those in the United States. Exercise caution while traveling on older roads in eastern Germany.  

  • If you hold a valid U.S. driver’s license, you can drive in Germany for up to six months without acquiring a German driver’s license.
  • Drivers should be aware that traffic signs in Germany differ from those in the United States, and it is important to be familiar with road signage prior to driving. Basic information about road signs in Germany is available here. Speed limits are posted on large stretches of the highway, or Autobahn, in urban areas or when the road has many curves.
  • High speeds permitted on the Autobahn, adverse weather conditions, and unfamiliar road markings can pose significant hazards.
  • Driver error is a leading cause of accidents involving U.S. citizen motorists in Germany.

Bicycles: German streets and sidewalks have dedicated bike lanes. Bicycles have priority use of bike lanes over pedestrians and automobiles.

  • Bicyclists also have priority over cars when turning onto side streets. If you are driving, check whether a bicyclist is approaching from either direction before attempting to enter side streets, even when the light is in your favor.
  • You will be held responsible for any injury or damage caused if you turn into a side street and hit a bicyclist using a marked bike lane.
  • If you are walking, watch for bicyclists before crossing or stepping into bike lanes.

Traffic Laws: Except on priority roads, vehicles coming from the right have the right-of-way.

  • It is generally illegal in Germany to pass vehicles on the right. 
  • It is illegal to operate a vehicle if the blood alcohol level is 0.05% or higher.
  • You may be fined and your driver’s license may  be suspended for specified periods of time depending upon the gravity of each violation.
  • It is illegal to use your cell phone while driving in Germany
  • For more information, please visit the U.S. embassy’s webpage on driving in Germany.
  • For more information on travel in Germany, visit the German National Tourist Board.

See our Road Safety page for more information.


Public Transportation:
Germany has an extensive and safe public transportation network consisting of buses, streetcars, trains, and subways.  Metered taxis are also prevalent throughout Germany, although taxis generally do not accept credit cards.  Use common sense safety practices, such as guarding valuables and remaining aware of your surroundings, on all public transportation.   

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Germany’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Germany’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Germany should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website  select “broadcast warnings”.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Berlin

Clayallee 170,
14191 Berlin
Germany
Telephone: +(49)(30) 8305-1200 (routine calls, 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, except on U.S. and German holidays, and the last Thursday of each month.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(49)(30) 8305-0
Fax: +(49)(30) 8305-1215

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt
Giessener Str. 30
60435 Frankfurt am Main
Federal Republic of Germany
Telephone: +(49)(69) 7535-2100 (routine calls, 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, except on U.S. and German holidays, and the last Thursday of each month.
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(49)(69) 7535-0
Fax: +(49)(69) 7535-2252

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General Information

Germany and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since December 1, 1990.

For information concerning travel to Germany, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Germany.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Germany.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State 
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI 
SA-17, 9th Floor 
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website:  travel.state.gov

The German Central Authority (GCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Bundesamt für Justiz, located in the Ministry of Justice.  The GCA has an administrative role in processing Hague applications.  The Ministry of Justice forwards completed Hague petitions to the appropriate German family court.  Among the more than 600 German family courts, only 22 have jurisdiction in proceedings concerning return, access, and recognition and enforcement under the Hague Child Abduction Convention. You can find the list of competent German courts here.  Parents or legal guardians and other parties (e.g., the child) have the right to their own counsel. 

The German Central Authority can be reached at:

German Central Authority
Zentrale Behörde, Adenauerallee 99-103
53113 Bonn. 
Tel: +49-228-99-410-5212
Fax:+49-228-99-410-5401
E-mail: int.sorgerecht@bfj.bund.de
Website: German Central Authority

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Germany, the USCA encourages a parent or legal guardian to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the GCA.  It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into German in order to be accepted by a German court.  Official documents (court orders, etc.) must be translated by a sworn translator (vereidigter Übersetzer).  Letters, statements, and other documentation may be translated unofficially. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the GCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or the German central authorities.  Attorney fees are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Germany.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Germany.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

The GCA can appoint an English-speaking attorney with Hague experience to represent left-behind parents in Hague cases. The fee for these legal services is 1500 Euros and must be paid at the time the applicant submits the Hague application. A parent who is unable to pay the fee may apply for German legal aid. Under certain circumstances, legal aid may also be available in cases of international child abduction from some non-governmental organizations, including Weisser Ring.  For more information, contact: info@weisser-ring.de.

Parents may also choose to retain private legal counsel in Germany to handle their Hague case.  A parent who hires private counsel should notify both the German and the U.S. central authorities.   

The U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany, posts lists of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

The German federal government is extremely supportive of mediation programs to resolve international parental abduction cases.  While courts cannot order cases into mediation, judges can and do strongly encourage mediated resolutions and can stay hearings to permit parties the time to mediate.  In general, social workers, family lawyers, and judges not hearing the case can serve as mediators in their particular geographic region.  Fees are normally based on hourly rates, but a sliding scale or negotiated rate is sometimes available. 

Bundes-Arbeitgemeinschaft für Familien-Mediation (BAFM), or the Federal Consortium for Family Mediation, is a privately-funded, countrywide mediation organization with a network of multi-lingual mediators in all 16 German states.  The German Central Authority and the judge hearing the Hague case work together to identify cases that are potentially suitable for mediated resolutions and make recommendations accordingly.  Participation in mediation is voluntary.
The non-governmental organization MiKK (Mediation in international Conflicts involving Parents and Children) deals with mediation in cross-border child abduction, custody, and visitation cases. This is a joint project of the two largest mediation associations in Germany, and their network includes 60 specialized and experienced family mediators who are fluent in 17 languages.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Both adoptions to the United States from Germany and from the United States to Germany are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Germany is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries must be done in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Germany.

Germany is generally not considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption. The information provided below is intended primarily to assist in rare adoption cases from Germany. This information may also be useful to U.S. citizens living in Germany considering adoptions from Germany or other countries.

Note: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008, (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force with respect to the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, identifying Germany as the country where you intended to adopt and the approval is still valid; 2) you filed a Form I-600,Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child from Germany, or 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s adoption could continue to be processed as a non-Convention intercountry adoption, provided the child’s country of origin agrees. For more information, read about Hague Transition Cases. Please contact adoption@state.gov with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.

U.S. Immigration Requirements For Intercountry Adoptions

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Germany, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.

 

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from Germany must meet the following requirements of Germany:                                       

  • Residency: There are no residency requirements to adopt a child from Germany. There is no restriction on the nationality or citizenship of the adopting parent. Germany allows non-Germans to adopt a German child. U.S. citizens who are resident in Germany may apply to adopt from other countries through the German intercountry adoption process. These prospective adoptive parents may contact the relevant central authority for the area of their residence in order to initiate the process.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: The minimum age for an adopting parent is 25 years old. However, in the case of an adoption of a stepchild, the lower age limit of the adopting parent is 21 years. In the case of a joint adoption by a married couple, one of the partners must be at least 25 years old and the other at least 21 years old. There is no legal upper age limit of an adopting parent. If a child is being adopted in Germany by foreign parents, the court has the right to take age restrictions in the laws of the parents’ home country into consideration. Although there is no statutory limit, pursuant to a recommendation by the Federal Working Group of the State Youth Welfare Offices, the age gap between the adopting parents and the child being adopted should not be greater than 40 years.
  • Marriage: We have received the following information from the German Central Authority:  An adoption is open to a single person as well as to one partner in an unmarried couple or to one partner in a registered partnership of a same-sex couple. A joint adoption by two partners of a couple is only allowed for married couples.  In turn, married couples may, as a rule, only adopt jointly. As an exception to that rule one partner of a married couple has got the legal possibility to adopt the other partner’s child (biological or adopted before the marriage) without severing the ties between this partner and the child. Since 2005, same-sex couples have got the opportunity to enter into a registered partnership. The registration opens up the possibility to adopt one registered partner’s child by the other partner without severing the ties between that partner and the child. This is the case for a biological child as well as for an adopted child, regardless of whether the child was adopted before or after registration of the partnership.”
  • Income: There are no specific income requirements related to adoption.
  • Other: None.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Germany is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Germany must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for intercountry adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Germany have determined that placement of the child within Germany has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.

In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a child must meet the following requirements of Germany:

  • Relinquishment: The parents of the child must provide consent to the adoption; this consent cannot be accepted by the court if the child is less than eight weeks of age. If the child is over eight weeks old and under the age of 14, the child’s legal guardian (sometimes, but not always, the parents) must also consent to the adoption on the child’s behalf. If the child is over the age of 14, s/he must personally consent to the adoption, with the concurrence of his/her legal guardian. In the case of children born out of wedlock, the biological father can surrender parental rights and consent to the adoption any time after conception and prior to the child’s birth. In this case, the mother must still wait until the child is eight weeks old to consent to adoption.

    As an additional requirement in cases where the citizenship of the adopting parent and the child being adopted are different, this consent has to be approved by the family court. However, it does not apply in the case of a domestic adoption subject to German law.
  • Abandonment: Consent is not required from a parent whose whereabouts are unknown (the court will determine the whereabouts unknown after six months of searching unsuccessfully). In addition, the court may waive the need for parental consent in several circumstances, including those related to the parent’s treatment of the child and the parent’s mental capacity.

    Ultimately, the courts will look at each case individually to determine if consent of a biological parent is needed.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: A person can be adopted at any age. Parents must wait until the child is eight weeks of age before consenting to adoption. Adoption of a person who has reached age 18, the age of majority in Germany, must be justifiable. Please note that in order for a child to meet the definition of Convention adopteeunder U.S. immigration law, a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who has immigrated or will immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)). Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.
  • Sibling Adoptions: Sibling relationships are given consideration in adoption proceedings, but are considered on a case-by-case basis, with particular emphasis given to the positive or negative nature of the relationship between the siblings.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: On a case-by-case basis, the court may require evidence that an adopting family is aware of and able to cope with a child’s special needs and may require families to submit to follow up assessment.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: Typically, the child must live with the prospective adoptive parents for a probationary period prior to the court issuing the adoption order.
  • Other: None.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are available for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

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How to Adopt

Warning:  Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Germany before:

  1. USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country,
  2. The Central Authority of Germany has determined the child is available for intercountry adoption,
  3. USCIS has provisionally approved your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and
  4. A U.S. consular officer has issued an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.

Germany’s Central Adoption Authority
There is no centralized court system governing adoption cases in Germany. However, adoptions are governed by federal law. The main point of contact is:

Bundesamt für Justiz
Bundeszentralstelle für Auslandsadoption
Adenauerallee 99-103
53113 Bonn
Tel: +49 22899 410-5414 or -5415
Fax: +49 22899 410-5402
E-mail:auslandsadoption@bfj.bund.de 
Website: www.bundesjustizamt.de/auslandsadoption

Note: Special transition provisions may apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Read about Hague Transition Cases.

The Process

Because Germany is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Germany must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-800A)
  3. Apply to Germany’s Authorities to Adopt and Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee (Form I-800and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption (Art. 5/17 letter)
  5. Adopt the Child in Germany (or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption)
  6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Note: For residents of Germany who wish to adopt a child and remain in Germany, the process is different. Persons wishing to adopt a child in Germany should contact either one of the following institutions:

  • Youth Welfare Office (Jugendamt) of each district/major city
  • Youth Welfare Office (Landesjugendamt) of each German state (Bundesland)

In addition, there are also a few private non-profit adoption agencies arranging non-international adoptions. Youth Welfare Offices (Landesjugendämter) provide contact information. The details of the Youth Welfare Offices can be found on the website of the German Central Authority according to the 1993 Hague Convention on International Adoption (www.bundesjustizamt.de/auslandsadoption, section “Anschriften”).

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider

The first step in adopting a child from Germany is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. A primary provider must be identified in each Convention case and only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case. Your primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for supervised providers where used (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS by submitting Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. You will need to submit a home study, fingerprints, and a background check as part of this application. Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements.

3. Apply to Germany’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority
After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Germany as part of your adoption application. Germany’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Germany’s law.

Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority
If both the United States and Germany determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and Germany’s Central Authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Central Authority for Convention adoptions in Germany may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of the child. The adoption authority in Germany will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a specific child and must conform to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS for the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child Learn more about Health Considerations. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the central authority in Germany. Learn more about this critical decision.

4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to USCIS for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States by filing the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adopteeand will likely be eligible to enter and remain in the United States.

Submit an Immigrant Visa Application
After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Germany.

You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number. Use this information to log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to file the Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form. A consular officer will review the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and the visa application and, if applicable, advises you of options for the waiver of any ineligibilities related to the visa application.

The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to Germany’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Germany if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Germany’s Central Authority that the parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Warning: Do not attempt to adopt (or obtain custody) of a child in Germany before you receive provisional approval of your Form I-800 petition AND a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” for your adoption case.

Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5. Adopt the Child in Germany (or Obtain Legal Custody of Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption of the Child)

Remember: Before you adopt (or obtain legal custody of) a child in Germany, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption (or a grant of legal custody by Germany for the purposes of emigration and adoption).

The process for finalizing the adoption (or obtaining legal custody) in Germany generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: Each of Germany’s 16 Federal States has a central adoption agency that oversees intercountry adoptions.
  • Role of the Court: The Family Court (Familiengericht) hears an application for an order to change the legal status to that of parent and child and, if appropriate, issues such an order. The court must investigate and review all relevant facts, including information from the adoption agency or public authority involved and the child (as permitted by age).
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: Adoption services are provided by public youth welfare agencies as well as private, nonprofit agencies that have been qualified to provide adoption services in international adoptions under Germany’s Adoption Placement Act. The adoption agency is responsible for key aspects of the adoption process, including providing information to the family court on the prospective adoptive parents.
  • Time Frame: After an investigation and interview, the Jugendamt issues an initial approval valid for two years. There is no specific time frame for the adoption process. It varies from case to case and primarily depends upon the duration of the qualifying process and/or the difficulty of identifying a child for adoption. The paperwork and investigation process generally takes between four and nine months. A foster period is required to adopt a German child. By law the foster period should be “adequate in length.” The court will decide in each case individually whether a parent-child-relationship between the adopting parent and the child to be adopted has been developed.
  • Adoption Application: For both domestic and intercountry adoption, the prospective adoptive parent(s) must first approach one of four sources for an initial consultation: 1) either one of the youth offices listed above, 2) the German Central Authority for intercountry adoption, 3) the Central Authority in the country of the child’s habitual abode, or 4) an intercountry adoption agency. After a favorable evaluation, the parents will be subject to a home study by their local youth welfare office. The translated home study will be sent to the adoption authority office. When a child has been identified, the adopting parent(s) and the child’s legal guardian sign an agreement before a German court or notary public. Before the family court decides if the adoption may take place and issues the final decree, the adopting parent(s) have to prove that the child will be lawfully admitted into their home country.
  • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

    Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either directly or through your U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to the Convention, U.S. law, or the law of Germany with your adoption service provider. Please also refer to information concerning the Hague Complaint Registry. Improper payments may have the appearance of buying a child, violate applicable law, and could put all future adoptions in Germany at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to bribe foreign government officials to obtain or retain business. Further, the IAA makes it unlawful to improperly influence relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing Central Authority functions.

    In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
  • Documents Required: Both the German Youth Welfare Department (Jugendamt) and the adoption agencies require the following documents at the start of the adoption process:
    • An application for adoption;
    • Birth certificates;
    • Proof of citizenship;
    • Resume/curriculum vitae for both parents;
    • Police certificate for both parents;
    • Identification (passport, photo identification, etc.);
    • Marriage certificate (if applicable);
    • Termination of previous marriage(s) (death certificate, divorce decree, etc. if applicable);
    • Medical attestation;
    • Proof of parents’ income (including bank statements); and
    • Character references. 

Note: Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office has information on the subject.

    Note: The United States and Germany are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.

6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate
If you have finalized the adoption in Germany, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.

If you have been granted custody for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.

Birth certificates are issued by the Standesamt (City Registrar) in the locality where the child was born. Adopting parents need to present the final adoption decree, their marriage certificate, and both of their birth certificates with the application. For any documents not originating in Germany, the document must bear an Apostille from Hague convention countries or an authentication from non-Hague countries. In all cases of unmarried couples, single parents or same-sex relationships documents requirements vary and should be verified with the local authorities prior to application.

German Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Germany.

German passports are issued by the Passstelle (Passport Branch) at the local Standesamt (City Registrar). To obtain a German passport, the adopting parents must present the final adoption decree, the child’s German birth certificate in his/her adoptive name, one biometric photograph of the child, and valid proof of identity for both parents. Both parents must provide written consent to the issuance of the passport until the age of 16. Any child over the age of 6 must also be present to be fingerprinted.

U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany. After the adoption (or custody for purposes of emigration and adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Consulate for a final review of the case, and if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child if you did not provide it during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please be sure to complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes at least 24 hours. It is usually not possible to provide a visa on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt before making final travel arrangements.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s entry into the United States and before the child turns eighteen for the child (if he or she otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child has acquired U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any international travel. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Germany
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa to travel abroad. Where required, visas are affixed to a traveler’s passport and allow him or her to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Germany, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Germany, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Germany, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
Once an adoption order has been granted, you are legally the child’s parent with the same rights and responsibilities as if they were born to you. Post-adoption reporting requirements will be determined by a German local authority.

We urge you to comply with Germany’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that Germany’s history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

Post-Adoption Resources
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of content.

COMPLAINTS

If you have concerns about your adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Consulate in Frankfurt, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case. The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously. Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-800 petition process.

The Hague Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers. If you think your provider's conduct may have been out of substantial compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Hague Complaint Registry.

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Contact Information

U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany
Immigrant Visa Unit
Giessener Strasse 30
60435 Frankfurt Am Main
Tel: (069) 7535-0
Internet: https://de.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/frankfurt/

Germany’s Adoption Authority
Bundesamt für Justiz
Bundeszentralstelle für Auslandsadoption
Adenauerallee 99-103
53113 Bonn
Tel: +49 22899 410-5414 or -5415
Fax: +49 22899 410-5402
Email: auslandsadoption@bfj.bund.de
Internet: www.bundesjustizamt.de/auslandsadoption

Embassy of Germany
2300 M Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20037
Tel: (202) 298-4000
Internet: www.germany.info/relaunch/index.html

Germany also has consulates in: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: Adoption@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:

USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC)
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Hague@uscis.dhs.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 120 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 120 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 1 None Multiple 12 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Such certificates are available from the local registrar's office (Standesamt) where the birth or death occurred. For the former East Germany, this applies only to those civil status cases that occurred after October 2, 1990. For events occurring prior to this date, documents from this part of Germany are issued by the district office where the event occurred.

A registrar's office charges a fee for each certificate and for any additional copy as well. The same amount is charged for certificates issued on an "international" form. The requested certificates are usually mailed out by the registrar's office with the fees being collected on delivery. The applicant may enclose a self-addressed and stamped return envelope and use German postage stamps or a collection-only cheque for payment.

Civil status certificates from former German areas east of Oder and Neisse (boundaries of 1938), now belonging to Poland or Russia, are difficult and sometimes impossible to obtain. After World War II, a number of these documents were returned to Germany. Information regarding these documents can sometimes be requested from local registrars' offices. More detailed information pertaining to these documents can be obtained at the Standesamt I in Berlin, Rueckerstr. 9, 10119 Berlin.

The following substitutes may be used for unavailable personal documents:

  1. The Familienstammbuch which some German families maintain. Births, marriages and deaths are entered in such books, and officially certified at the time of the event;
  2. Extracts from church books and parish registers. Access to or copies of these books can be requested from the following archive offices:Evangelische Kirchenbuecher:

    Evangelisches Zentralarchiv
    Kirchenbuchstelle
    Jebensstr. 3
    10623 Berlin

    Katholische Kirchenbuecher:
    Bischoefliches Zentralarchiv
    St. Petersweg 11-13
    93047 Regensburg

    If the desired documents cannot be obtained, these archive offices will furnish a negative response (Negativbescheinigung). In such cases, it is generally recommended that the document-seeker apply for a Familienbuch under the provisions of section 15a of the German Law on Civil Status (Personenstandsgesetz), which is maintained by the civil registrar having jurisdiction over the family's place of residence. The civil registrar issues extracts or copies from this book that are fully recognized as formal certificates of birth, death, or marriage.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Certificates are available from the local registrar's office (Standesamt) where the marriage occurred. For the former East Germany, this applies only to those civil status cases that occurred after October 2, 1990. For events occurring prior to this date, documents from this part of Germany are issued by the district office where the event occurred.

A registrar's office charges a fee for each certificate and for any additional copy as well. The same amount is charged for certificates issued on an "international" form. The requested certificates are usually mailed out by the registrar's office with the fees being collected on delivery. The applicant may enclose a self-addressed and stamped return envelope and use German postage stamps or a collection-only cheque for payment.

Civil status certificates from former German areas east of Oder and Neisse (boundaries of 1938), now belonging to Poland or Russia, are difficult and sometimes impossible to obtain. After World War II, a number of these documents were returned to Germany. Information regarding these documents can sometimes be requested from local registrars' offices. More detailed information pertaining to these documents can be obtained at the Standesamt I in Berlin, Rueckerstr. 9, 10119 Berlin.

The following substitutes may be used for unavailable personal documents:

  1. The Familienstammbuch which some German families maintain. Births, marriages and deaths are entered in such books, and officially certified at the time of the event;
  2. Extracts from church books and parish registers. Access to or copies of these books can be requested from the following archive offices:Evangelische Kirchenbuecher:

    Evangelisches Zentralarchiv
    Kirchenbuchstelle
    Jebensstr. 3
    10623 Berlin

    Katholische Kirchenbuecher:
    Bischoefliches Zentralarchiv
    St. Petersweg 11-13
    93047 Regensburg

    If the desired documents cannot be obtained, these archive offices will furnish a negative response (Negativbescheinigung). In such cases, it is generally recommended that the document-seeker apply for a Familienbuch under the provisions of section 15a of the German Law on Civil Status (Personenstandsgesetz), which is maintained by the civil registrar having jurisdiction over the family's place of residence. The civil registrar issues extracts or copies from this book that are fully recognized as formal certificates of birth, death, or marriage.

Adoption Certificates

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Identity Card

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Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

(Fuehrungszeugnis) Available.

Each person over the age of fourteen may obtain an individual certificate of conduct. The application can be made verbally by personal appearance or in simple written form to the registration authority at the following addresses mentioned below. Former residents of Germany, no longer registered in Germany, can apply for an individual record through the German Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence, or directly with the Bundeszentralregister in Bonn. The application form is available at the German Embassy/Consulate, or directly from the Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof Dienststelle Bundeszentralregister. Personal appearance: Besucherservice, Adenauerallee 99-103, 53113 Bonn. Their office hours are Mondays - Wednesdays: 7:30 - 16:00; Thursdays: 7:30 - 15:30; and Fridays 7:30 - 14:00. Written requrests may be sent to: Der Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof, Dienststelle Bundeszentralregister, Sachgebiet BZR 32 - Internationale Rechtshilfe, 53094 Bonn.

The fee for every certificate of conduct is €13. Payment may be made by remission of a non-negotiable check or bank transfer to the following account of the "Bundeszentralregister" - Deutsche Bundesbank, Bonn Branch, Sortcode: 380 000 00, Account no.: 380 010 05; IBAN-No.: DE24 3800 0000 0038 001005; BIC/swift-No.: MARKDEF1380. Fees charged by banks for the redemption of a (foreign) check must be added to the fee for the certificate of conduct.

Processing time - minimum of three to four weeks. More detailed information about downloading the application form and payment of fees can be obtained directly from their website.

Court Records

Available. Court records involving criminal or civil proceedings are available from the court that has jurisdiction.

Military Records

Available. Records may be obtained from the Kreiswehrersatzamt having jurisdiction at the time of service.

Passports & Other Travel Documents


  • Biometric Passport (ePass): A Bordeaux-red, hard cover booklet with biometric chip and machine-readable zone.
  • Regular passport (Reisepass): A bordeaux-red, hard cover booklet with a machine-readable passport card.
  • Temporary passport: A green, hard cover booklet with machine-readable zone, fully acceptable, issued to individuals who urgently need a passport, but cannot wait the processing time needed to issue the ePass.
  • Diplomatic passport: A dark blue, hard cover booklet, with or without machine-readable zone.
  • Departmental passport (Ministerialpass): A black, hard cover booklet, issued to some higher federal and state officials, certain employees of the Foreign Office, other governmental employees on assignment abroad who do not qualify for diplomatic passports, as well as their spouses and children.
  • Service (official) passport (Dienstpass): A red, hard cover booklet, issued to the majority of governmental officials for official travel, with or without machine-readable zone.
  • Children's Passport: Similar to the new temporary passport, dark red cover.
  • Children's Travel Document in Lieu of Passport (Kinderausweis): A light-green tri-fold with or without photo, issued to children under sixteen years of age. A child may have a normal passport (Reisepass). A Kinderausweis may be issued to non-FRG citizens permanently or temporarily residing in the FRG. Nationality is noted in the document.
  • Travel Document for Recognized Refugees (Reiseausweis): A medium-blue hardcover booklet, issued in accordance with the 1951 Geneva Convention to asylees, refugees, and stateless persons who reside permanently or temporarily in the FRG. This document does not guarantee the holder an indefinite right to return to the FRG. The date until which return is guaranteed is specified in the document. (The German government also issues a Travel Document for Stateless Persons in accordance with the Geneva Convention of September 28, 1954.).  The document may contain a notation (“Die Personendaten beruhen auf den eigenen angaben des Antragstellers”) stating that the individual’s identity has not been confirmed by German authorities and that identifying information is based solely on statements made by the alien. In those instances, a consular officer should request other evidence in order to establish the applicant’s identity.
  • Alien's Passport (Travel Document for Foreigners and Stateless Individuals - Fremdenpass): A medium-gray hardcover booklet issued to persons who evidently do not possess a passport or passport substitute and for whom it is unreasonable to demand that they obtain such a document. The document may include a notation (“Die Personendaten beruhen auf den eigenen angaben des Antragstellers”) stating that the individual’s identity has not been confirmed by German authorities and that identifying information is based solely on statements made by the alien.  In those instances, a consular officer should request other evidence in order to establish the applicant’s identity. The alien must hold an unlimited residence permit (unbefristete Aufenthaltsgenehmigung) or a so-called "Aufenthaltserlaubnis." Possession of a limited residence permit and Fremdenpass is sufficient to serve as a passport, if the alien is a family member of a German citizen, or if he/she is the spouse or minor child of an alien who holds an unlimited residence permit. Without the accompanying unlimited residence permit, the Fremdenpass does not meet the INA 101(a)(30) definition of  a passport.
Other Records

Certificates of Residence

Certificates of residence, formerly Aufenthaltsbescheingung, now referred to as Auszug aus dem Melderegister, may be obtained from the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) of the applicant's place of residence. There may be a fee for this service.

Note: Former residents of Germany may request personal documents from the proper German authorities in writing, or authorize residents of Germany to obtain such documents on their behalf.

Visa Issuing Posts

Berlin, Germany (Embassy) -- Nonimmigrant Visas only

Mailing Address:
PSC 120 Box 3000
APO AE 09265

Street Address:
Clayallee 170
14195 Berlin-Dahlem

Tel: +49 (0)30 8305-0
Fax: +49 (0)30 831-4926

ConsBerlin@state.gov

Frankfurt, Germany (Consulate General) -- All categories, including K and E visa applications

Giessener Strasse 30
60435 Frankfurt am Main

Tel: +49-(0)69-7535-0
Fax: +49-(0)069-7535-2277

FrankfurtSpecialNIV@state.gov

Munich, Germany (Consulate General) -- Nonimmigrant Visas only

Koeniginstrasse 5
80539 Munich

Tel: 49-(0)89-2888-0
Fax: 49-(0)89-280-9998

ConsMunich@state.gov

Visa Services

All IV, E-1/E-2 and K NIV applications are serviced at Frankfurt.

Area Post
Baden-Wurttemberg Frankfurt
Bavaria Munich
Bayern Frankfurt
Berlin Berlin
Brandenburg Berlin
Bremen Berlin
Hamburg Berlin
Hessen Frankfurt
Mecklenburg-Vorpommem Berlin
Niedersachsen Berlin
Nordrhein-Westfalen Frankfurt
Nordrhein-Westfalen (non-German applicants) Frankfurt
Rheinland-Pfalz Frankfurt
Saarland Frankfurt
Sachsen Berlin
Sachsen-Anhalt Berlin
Schleswig-Holstein Berlin
Thueringen Berlin

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 298-4000 (202) 298-4249

Atlanta, GA (404) 659-4760 (404) 659-1280

Boston, MA (617) 369-4900 (617) 369-4940

Chicago, IL (312) 202-6714 (312) 202-0466

Houston, TX (713) 627-7770 (713) 627-0506

Los Angeles, CA (323) 930-2703 (323) 930-2805

Miami, FL (305) 358-0290 (305) 358-0307

New York, NY (212) 610-9700 (212) 940-0402

San Francisco, CA (415) 775-1061 (415) 775-0187

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Berlin
U.S. Embassy Berlin
Clayallee 170
14191 Berlin
Federal Republic of Germany
Telephone
+(49)(30) 8305-0
Emergency
+(49)(30) 8305-0
Fax
+(49)(30) 8305-1215
Germany Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.