Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Bild einer Computertastatur mit der Aufschrift F A Q (Frequently Asked Questions / Häufig gestellte Fragen)

FAQ, © picture alliance / Zoonar

04.04.2024 - Article

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions in the area of legal and consular affairs.

National visa procedure

The embassy will endeavour to process your application as quickly as possible. In many cases, however, the local Aliens' Authority or the Federal Employment Agency in Germany must give their consent. The processing time can therefore not be predicted exactly.

However, you should expect several weeks or months.

The involvement of the Aliens' Authority is only part of the procedure and processing is not yet complete. As soon as a decision can be made, we will contact you. Please be assured that the embassy will endeavour to complete your application as soon as possible.

The visa is valid for between 90 days and twelve months, depending on the purpose of your stay.

Please contact the local immigration authority in Germany as soon as possible after entering the country. You can apply for a residence permit there. You can obtain further information on this from the local immigration authority.

You can find out which foreigners authority is responsible for you at https://bamf-navi.bamf.de/en/Themen/Behoerden/?typ=ABH

You must provide proof of your means of subsistence in the visa procedure. The following options are available to you:

  • Blocked account (further information can be found here)
  • Formal declaration of commitment (“Verpflichtungserklärung”) by a person living in Germany
  • Recognised scholarship

Please note that a visa application without proof of funding has no chance of success.

You must also prove that you can pay the tuition fee or language school fee. You can submit a bank statement, for example.

For every rejection, you will receive a rejection notice in which you will be informed of the reasons for the rejection. You will also be informed of your further options (information on legal remedies). Please read the decision carefully.

Language certificate

The required language level depends on your desired purpose of stay:

  • Family reunification with spouse: A1
  • Au-Pair: A1
  • Voluntary service: A1
  • Professional Formation: B1
  • Child reunification, if children are already 16 or older: C1 if applicable
  • Study in the German language of instruction without prior language course: C1 (German language examination for university admission - DSH)

With a language certificate from an ALTE-certified provider. As far as the embassy is aware, this is currently only the Goethe Institute Senegal based in Dakar. The embassy itself does not carry out any language examinations or classifications.

The embassy does not accept certificates that are older than one year.

It is possible to take the exams separately by module (reading, listening, speaking, writing) and submit the certificates of the module exams together to the embassy. The language certificate is only complete if all four modules have been passed. The oldest individual module examinations must not be older than one year.

No, the decisive factor is a certificate after passing the exam. How you prepare for the language exam - whether in a language school, on your own with a self-study book, with a private teacher or online courses - is up to you.

No, the legal situation here is clear: without an A1 certificate, a visa for spouse reunification is generally not issued, i .e. it must be presented before entry.

According to case law, an exception to the A1 certificate is possible if the applicant can demonstrate sustained efforts to learn German over a consecutive period of one year, e.g. if examination attempts have been made at regular intervals of 2-3 months. Please keep your certificates, even if you have not passed the exams, and present them when applying for a visa.

No, illiteracy does not count as a case of hardship according to case law. Illiterate people and people with low literacy levels should first complete a literacy course for adults and then take German lessons. Literacy courses are offered at numerous locations in the consular district as evening courses specifically for adults.

Appointment waiting list

Appointments for visa applications for family reunification are allocated via the appointment waiting list. All other residence and travel purposes (visit, education, etc.) are not included in the waiting list. Anyone attempting to apply for a visa for another purpose of residence or travel during an appointment for family reunification will be rejected!

People who wish to enter Germany with a family reunification visa should register on the waiting list. People who are already living in Germany are not eligible to register!

You will usually receive a registration confirmation by e-mail approx. 5-20 minutes after your registration. Please also check your spam folder for this. You will be notified of the date by e-mail approx. 4-6 weeks before the application date.

You will find a confirmation link in this appointment notification. Please confirm your appointment immediately by clicking on the confirmation link. Appointments that are not confirmed will be cancelled after 7 days and allocated to other people on the waiting list.
Several months may pass between registration and notification of your appointment. Therefore, please check your e-mail inbox regularly.

The embassy endeavours to limit the waiting time, but cannot make any precise statements about waiting times. Please refrain from making any enquiries in this regard.

Over the past few months, many people have registered without turning up for their allocated appointment. This penalises those who make a serious effort to get an appointment and put up with long waiting times.
To reduce these cases of no-shows, appointment confirmation was introduced in all appointment notifications in September. People who received their appointment before September 2023 do not have to confirm the appointment.

No. In this case, you must cancel your previous registration and then register with the desired data.

Yes, the embassy regularly checks the plausibility of registrations and deletes entries that are obviously incorrect. Please take your time when registering and make sure that your details are correct. Subsequent corrections are not possible. If your registration details do not match those in your passport, you will not be allowed to attend your appointment at the embassy.

Please bring a copy of your old passport to the appointment.

No, please register as a group by specifying the total number of people you wish to apply for when you register. This does not include the person already living in Germany!

The embassy compares e-mail addresses when allocating appointments and can usually find entries that belong to the same family and allocate them a joint appointment.

No! Please refrain from multiple registrations! This may lead to longer waiting times for everyone! The embassy also regularly deletes duplicate entries, whereby only the oldest entry is retained.

Please provide a working number within our consular district so that the embassy can reach you quickly in the event of postponements, such as public holidays or embassy closures.

Schengen visa procedure

Various financing documents are available to you. These can be found here on our website, depending on the purpose of your journey.

As far as financing is concerned, sufficient funds must be available for the outward and return journey (flight), for accommodation and to cover living expenses. The embassy will examine these documents with an open mind.

A maximum of six months may elapse between issuing the declaration of commitment (“Verpflichtungserklärung”) and the visa application date at the embassy.

The embassy will decide on your Schengen visa application within 15 calendar days.

For persons with Gambian citizenship, the decision on visa applications will only be made 45 days after submission of the complete application documents. The legal basis for this is the Implementing Decision (EU) 2021/1781.

Please take into account when planning your trip (especially flight reservations) that the processing time and the shipping time from Dakar to Banjul must be added to the 45 days. The passport can be expected to be returned 60 days after application at the earliest.

For every rejection, you will receive a rejection notice in which you will be informed of the reasons for the rejection. You will also be informed of your further options (information on legal remedies). Please read the decision carefully.

Top of page