Entering Germany – Information for Myanmar Citizens
Over the past year we have received many inquiries from our Myanmar colleagues and friends about the entry requirements for Germany. In response to these growing inquiries, we provide you here with our understanding of what is required for Myanmar citizens. All information is backed up by governmental links to help you navigate.
Table of contents
- Entering Germany – Information for Myanmar Citizens
- How to enter Germany?
- Short-term stay (maximum 90 days, for example for tourism or business travel)
- Long-term stay (more than 90 days, for example to study, to work, or for family reunion)
- Work Visa
- Studying in Germany
- Study visas
- Vocational training visa
- Visa for the self-employed or to start a business
- Visa to join a family member living in Germany
- Recognition of Myanmar Qualifications in Germany
- Language requirements
- Proof of Funds
- Traveling from Myanmar to Germany in pandemic times
How to enter Germany?
To enter the Federal Republic of Germany, all Myanmar citizens require a visa. Therefore, you have to apply for a visa before traveling to Germany. The application should be made at the German diplomatic mission in Myanmar, which is the German Embassy in Yangon.
The German Embassy Yangon is the first website you should check out, as they provide you with the most useful and up-to-date information on the ground in Myanmar. The Visa Navigator is a tool of the German Foreign Office that lists information about all options to enter Germany for non-EU citizens.
The kind of visa Myanmar citizens require to enter Germany depends on the duration of your stay in Germany. Would you like to stay for a short time only, for example as a tourist, to visit family or friends, or for business travel? Or are you planning a longer stay in Germany, for example to study or to work? We are providing you with information for all options.
Short-term stay (maximum 90 days, for example for tourism or business travel)
Schengen Visa (= a short-stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the 26 countries of the Schengen States of the EU)
In general, the German Embassy Yangon does not issue new Schengen Visas for Myanmar citizens at the moment. Only in exceptional cases would Schengen Visa applications be accepted. This is due to the requirement of providing a return ticket. Because of the closing of Yangon International Airport to commercial flights in 2020, this key requirement (of a return ticket) for a Schengen Visa cannot be fulfilled, and thus Schengen Visas are generally not being issued.
Those who have a valid Schengen visa that was issued before the closing of Yangon International Airport to commercial flights can still enter Germany for a short-term stay. The German Embassy in Yangon states:
As long as there are no regular commercial flights to Myanmar we will generally not be in a position to issue Schengen visas, even in urgent cases or for fully vaccinated persons, due to the fact that returning to Myanmar within the validity of the respective visa cannot be ascertained. We therefore suggest that you apply for your visa as soon as flight restrictions to Myanmar are lifted.
Therefore, the best option to enter Germany from Myanmar is to apply for a long-term visa.
Long-term stay (more than 90 days, for example to study, to work, or for family reunion)
According to German law, there are various options for non-EU citizens to apply for long-term stay in Germany. You can either choose to apply for a work visa, for a study visa, for a vocational training visa, for a research visa, for a visa for the self-employed, or for a visa to join a family member living in Germany.
The Visa Navigator of the German government is an invaluable resource to understand your options and what’s required for each one. And the website ‘Make it in Germany’is an excellent resource to check out your visa options, and to better understand how it is to be living in Germany, what working or studying in Germany would entail, and what jobs are currently being offered to non EU-citizens. Pre-warning: many - but not all! - of the visas require a minimum of German language skills, as well as proof of funds to cover some of your expenses during your stay (more on this in the ‘language and funds section’).
Upcoming skill shortages in Germany
Germany will face skill shortages of around three million workers by 2030 according to the German government, and other studies. The main reasons include an increase of aged citizens, and a decreasing birth rate. Hence Germany is looking for qualified and skilled workers, specifically in certain regions and sectors.
The German Federal Government has introduced the ‘Skilled Immigration Act’ on 1st March 2020 to regulate the immigration of people from countries outside of the EU. Germany has issued more than 50,000 visas since its introduction. You will find plenty of information online about the Skilled Immigration Act for qualified workers, for example here and here.
There is a shortage of medical and healthcare service professionals, engineering professionals (mechanical, automotive and electrical engineering), software development and programming, supply and waste management, and professions in the STEM-related fields (science, technology, engineering, math), also referred to as the MINT sector (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology). Germany is also looking for electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, toolmakers, welders, and elderly care professionals.
Due to the predicted shortage of skilled workers with vocational qualifications, the German government has implemented a fast-track procedure for visas for skilled workers, if the employer provides a pre-approval from the local foreigners’ office in Germany. More information on what type of skilled workers are sought in Germany and how to begin the application process can be found online here and here, and here.
Below you will find a summary of long-term visa options. Most of it is based on the information provided by the Visa Navigator and the German Federal Government website ‘Make it in Germany’, but there are plenty of additional resources to be found online.
Work visa – job seeker (academic, non-academic, vocational)
In accordance with Section 20 (1) (2) AufenthG (German Residence Act), you are eligible to apply for a job seeker visa for academic and non-academic (vocational) purposes and stay up to six months in Germany to find a job corresponding to your academic or professional qualifications. To obtain the academic job seeker visa, you will need a recognized University degree and proof of funds to cover you during this time. For the non-academic job seeker visa, you will need to have finished working experience of at least two years that has been recognized in Germany.
Work Visa – work with a contract
A recognized qualification (University degree or vocational qualification) and a contract with a Germany employer makes you eligible to apply for a work visa. Skilled workers that are currently being sought in Germany include the sectors of health care, IT, engineering, STEM/MINT fields, and also others.
Work Visa - with qualification that is partially recognized
If you have a (vocational or academic) qualification that is not yet fully recognized in Germany, you can receive the necessary qualifications through additional training in Germany while already working. After the additional training is fully recognized you can apply for a long-term residence permit to work. You can stay in Germany for up to 18 months to acquire these additional qualifications.
Work visa – to work as an IT specialist with work experience
A recognized degree is not necessary in Germany to work as a IT specialist if you have considerable IT work experience (at least three years within the past seven years). To apply for this visa, a job offer in Germany is needed that pays a minimum of 51,120 Euro (before taxes).
Work Visa - Blue Card
The Blue Card is a special residence permit for foreign academics seeking qualified employment in Germany. A University degree recognized in Germany and a job offer that pays 56,800 Euros per year (before tax) will make you eligible to apply for a Blue Card EU.
Studying in Germany
If you’re interested in studying in Germany, the first website to explore is the one by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which you can find here in English. You will find out how to plan your studies in Germany and get a taste about student life. The four-steps planner will help you decide on what approach is best suited for your study interests and skills, and where and how to apply.
In Germany there are three types of higher academic institutions: universities, universities of applied sciences, and also film academies and universities of the arts and conservatories.
Most University courses in Germany are taught in German language, which means that B2 level is required (more information about language requirements below). An increasing number of German universities also offer courses taught only in English. You can search which courses are taught in English and apply directly with the University for admission. Here, here, here and here you will find overviews of German universities that offer courses taught in English.
The DAAD also offers a searchable database of courses taught in English. In order to be accepted for an English-taught University course in Germany, you must provide either TOEFL or IELTS evidence of English proficiency.
In summary: most undergraduate courses are taught in German, except of private Universities, of which many also offer English-taught undergraduate courses. There are many postgraduate courses that are taught in English, which you can apply for if you have a Myanmar University degree (which is recognized by Germany, see below in the recognition section).
The DAAD website is the most important website to check out first. The DAAD is one of the most important funding organisations in the world for the international exchange of students and researchers. In particular the scholarships section would be very interesting, providing opportunities of funding for those who are skilled and can navigate the application system. Please browse around the site, there is plenty of information available.
Scholarships are available for Myanmar students wishing to study in Germany. Please check out here what scholarships are available for Myanmar, as well as here and here. Here is another excellent overview of what scholarships are available, specifically for Myanmar students. And here is a list of scholarships available EU-wide, including in Germany.
Study visa with admission to a German University
If you have already found a University, sent your application and have been admitted (either direct general admission or admission under certain conditions) you are eligible to apply for a study visa for Germany. The trick is that you must prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself. More on this below in the funding section.
Study visa without admission
If you haven’t yet received notification of admission to a German University but can prove that you are in the application process, you can apply for a prospective student visa. Please see the information by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research on this topic. This visa is valid for three months (extendable up to six months). Once you are admitted to a higher education institution in Germany, you can then apply for a student residence permit. Therefore, you don’t have to provide evidence that you have been admitted to a German University to apply for a visa, but that you’re in the process of application. You can apply for the study visa without admission, by fulfilling all criteria and especially by proving that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in Germany during your study application process.
Study visa with a prior language course or training / internship
Known as the ‘German language course visa’ or the ‘German internship visa’, this type of study visa can be applied for if you can prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in Germany, and if you can prove that you have been admitted to a language course, or have been accepted for an internship position. The German Federal government is providing a lot of useful information for this type of visa.
Study visa to undertake a PhD
If you wish to study towards a PhD in Germany and have already been accepted into a PhD programme, you can apply for a study visa proving that you have enough funds to cover your living expenses (either private, or through a scholarship). Please apply for the visa immediately after receiving your notification of admission as a doctoral candidate (acceptance of your doctoral mentor) because any application process to receive a visa may take a while. Here is more information on this subject.
Vocational training visa
Germany is well known worldwide for its high-quality products and services. This is not least due to the system of vocational education and training (VET), which is based on its combination of theory in the classroom and training in a real-life work environment. Within this dual system, mainly small and medium sized companies are cooperating with publicly funded vocational schools that are regulated by law, in order to provide the “Ausbildung” (= training). Trainees in the dual system usually spend some days of the week at the vocational school and the other days at a company. This dual training can last between two to three and a half years, depending on what you’re training for. Every year, about 500,000 apprentices in Germany take the skilled professional training route. It is a very popular route as school leavers can immediately begin to earn a salary whilst learning the necessary skills to fulfill a well-qualified job.
Vocational training is good way to prepare yourself for employment or perhaps even further tertiary study in Germany. This is particularly interesting for younger Myanmar citizens who possess basic German language skills and are keen to gain considerable working and studying experience. A visa for vocational training allows non-EU citizens to apply for a residence permit. However, coming from a country outside of the EU, you should not just simply apply for a vocational training in Germany, because you must first get your school leaving certification and any other academic qualification documents translated and recognized in Germany (more on this below under ‘recognition’).
You can learn a profession in Germany if you have a contract with a company as an apprentice and you speak German at B1 level. You also have the option to learn German first in Germany before starting your vocational training. Here is a link that provides an excellent overview of the steps required for non-EU citizens to apply for a vocational training visa.
Vocational training visa with a contract as a trainee or apprentice
For the vocational training visa, German B1 level is required, as well as a contract with a company as an apprentice. There is plenty of information online about what companies are looking for apprentices – please see some of them here, here, here, and here.
Vocational training visa to look for a company with a vocational training program
For those of you who can speak German at level B2 and are younger than 25, there is the possibility to enter Germany on the visa for the purpose of applying for training. Here and here you will find more information about both types of visas in relation to apprenticeship in Germany for foreigners.
Visa for the self-employed or to start a business
This visa is for those who are independent and are working as freelancers, or for those who wish to start a business in Germany. To apply for this type of visa you would need to provide evidence that you have the funds to undertake your project (including living expenses) and that you have the permit from Germany to exercise your self-employment. A visa for self-employment is initially issued for up to three years, and if your business idea is successful and you are able to cover the costs of living, the residence permit can be extended. More information on how to start a business in Germany coming from non-EU country here and here.
Visa to join a family member living in Germany
Also known as the German family reunion visa, this visa can be applied for if you have a German spouse, a German child, or a German parent. You can also apply for this visa if your spouse is not German but holds a permanent residence permit for Germany, a Blue Card EU, an ICT card, a permanent settlement permit or a permit for permanent stay in the EU. In general, you have to prove that you have basic German language skills at A1 level. You will find more information on this visa here and https://www.bamf.de/EN/Themen/MigrationAufenthalt/ZuwandererDrittstaaten/Familie/familie-node.html.
Recognition of Myanmar Qualifications in Germany
In order to obtain a visa to study or to work for example, you first need the certificate of recognition of your foreign qualifications in Germany. The recognition of your Myanmar qualification is an essential prerequisite in order to secure a visa. You must successfully prove that your qualification is considered as equivalent to the German qualification.
The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) is the only authority for the evaluation of foreign qualifications in Germany. One of their services is the database called Anabin, which lists foreign institutions and degrees and how they relate to German diplomas and degrees. There are around 80 institutions listed from Myanmar in the Anabin database. After you check out the Anabin database to ensure your education provider is listed, go to this ZAB site, and follow the instructions to get your Myanmar qualification recognized in Germany.
Many, but not all, long term visas require proof of German language skills. You can obtain those qualifications in Myanmar at the Goethe Institute Yangon. The Goethe Institute Yangon offers language classes in person, or online, and their new Burmese website is very useful. If you’re short on cash, there is also the possibility to request the schedule for examinations from Goethe, and study by yourself online. Here, here and here are only some of the many free resources available online for learning German and to prepare you for the exam at the Goethe Institute. The Goethe Institute also provides excellent information on the process of studying German first and then applying for a University degree taught in German language.
In order to get a good overview of what language requirements are needed in Germany, please check out My German University. They provide invaluable guidance for international students throughout their journey of studying in Germany. To assess the level of language proficiency, German institutions use the Council of Europe in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). There are six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2, with A1 designating that the student is a beginner and C2 being the highest level one can gain.
Proof of Funds
The proof of financial resources, showing that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in Germany, is possibly the most difficult to obtain. For students wishing to study at a German University, the minimum required is currently 10,322 Euros per year (plus health care insurance while studying in Germany). The Ministry of Education and Research is providing a good summary on what the process entails in order to obtain the visa for students. For all other visas that require proof of funds, please check out the website of the German Federal Foreign Office on this specific topic, as well as here or here, to name a few.
The requirement of a 1) blocked account, and/or a 2) commitment declaration by a German citizen (Verpflichtungserklaerung) appears to be the standard at the moment for Myanmar citizens wishing to enter Germany. The blocked account is easiest set up through Fintiba, which is recognized by the German government and is accepted worldwide by all embassies and consulates.
Traveling from Myanmar to Germany in pandemic times
Since the emergence of the Covid19 pandemic, international travel has become very difficult. Each country is struggling to contain the virus as much as possible, which is why entry requirements have become very strict. It is a fluid situation all over the world, and depending on the official epidemiological situation in each country, travelers nowadays have to provide a lot of documentation in order to board the plane and to be allowed entry into a country. Therefore, please understand that special restrictions also apply for entry into Germany.
The German Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI) sets the rules and regulations for entry, and is the first website for you to examine. Here you will find the link to their very useful FAQ section, which is always up to date, and will answer your most pressing questions regarding the latest Covid rules for entry into Germany.
In short, you must provide a negative Covid test result, you must have proof of vaccination with an EU-recognized vaccine, you must provide a digital entry registration, and in case Myanmar is being classified as a high-risk country, you may have to do quarantine (at home) upon arrival for a minimum of 5 days up to 14 days. Some exceptions to the rules may be applicable for skilled workers. Upon arrival all must adhere to the latest hygiene rules and regulations in Germany.
Any person entering Germany is required to complete a digital entry registration. After completion, you should make sure that you obtain the confirmation of registration in electronic form or printed out on paper (PDF document here) to be handed over to your airline and later to the immigration official in Germany.
The list of current high risk areas and areas of variant of concern can be found here (in English) on the website of the Robert Koch Institute, the German public health institute. The Ministry of Health provides an updated overview on the latest entry regulations here (in English).
You have to provide a negative Covid19 PCR test result, upon check-in at the airport and also upon arrival at your destination. Usually the PCR test must be done within 72 hours before boarding the plane, depending on airline and transit place and time spent in transit (e.g. Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Dubai). The German Embassy Yangon provides a useful list of PCR testing centers, which you will find here in German language. The US Embassy Yangon publishes an updated list of testing centers in Yangon here, in English language.
The German Foreign Office has issued that entry from any country for any purpose is only possible for fully vaccinated people (except of children younger than 12 years of age), and travelers must have received the last vaccination dose at least 14 days before departure. The German Ministry of the Interior has issued more information on this subject, as has the German Embassy Yangon. Only vaccines that are recognized by the EU, which are listed on the website of the Paul Ehrlich Institute (the German Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines) are accepted. Those vaccines are Biontech/Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca (Covishield), Johnson & Johnson, and Nuvaxovid. Some exceptions to these rules may apply for fast-tracking skilled worker visas.