If you want to invite your parents or some friends to Germany and they need to apply in their home country to apply for a visa there are 3 ways to support them:
1. Formless invitation:
The immigration office Dresden issues a formless proof that you are registered and legally staying in Germany. Your guest must prove that s/he has enough financial funding to finance their stay in Germany. An appointment at the Immigration office/Welcome Center is not necessary. You can do that within their regular office hours.
2. Official Invitation with formal obligation letter:
When inviting guests who cannot travel by their own means, a host living in Germany could alternatively obligate himself to cover all costs associated with the guest's stay in Germany, including costs for potential medical treatments. This is the so-called Formal Obligation (German: Verpflichtungserklärung) at the Immigration Office. (to § 68 of the German Immigration Law or "Aufenthaltsgesetz").This can only be done if you have a working contract, not a fellowship, and your current residence permit must still be valid for at least 6 months. Depending on your income, you may be allowed or may not be allowed to invite a person. Usually a Predoc salary is sufficient to invite one person but not two. You will need to have an appointment to do a formal obligation.
Experience of one of our expats:
“Step 1 - Get an appointment at the Welcome center. Do it via the International office and not in your individual capacity, that helps.
Step 2 - Go to the Welcome center. On the day of the appointment, you need to present the following:
Last three salary slips - Original and one copy of each
- Your work contract - Original and a copy
- Your residence card and the additional information sheet (if you have one) and your passport.
- An application form that contains information about the people you want to host, your salary etc.
- A declaration form - This is to be filled and signed during your appointment.
- 25 euros processing fee
Necessary papers to print out and fill in:
Erklärung des Verpflichtungsgebers vor der Ausländerbehörde zur Abgabe der Verpflichtungserklärung.pdf
Erhebungsbogen für die Verpflichtungserklärung.pdf
Step 3 - Once you have obtained the invitation letter, you need to send it back to your family in India.
Step 4 - After they have received the invitation letter, they can apply for a tourist visa.
Visa application process
You have to apply to the nearest VFS office. The German consulate does not entertain applications for tourist visa directly. So find out the relevant VFS office and apply there with all the proper documentation.
VFS website: www.vfs-germany.co.in
The documents that you need can be found from the attachment (This list should be available from the VFS website but unfortunately it was not. I had to email them and ask them for a check-list).
Few things to keep in mind:
1) There is no personal interview for tourist visa. However, this might NOT be a rule. Some of the people I talked to indeed had to visit the German consulate. We need to get more data about this (how does this work with a PhD student who invites his/her parents versus a post-doc who has a contract versus a post-doc who has a stipend).
2) The processing is generally fast. It takes 3-4 working days.
3) After your application has been processed, you get a text message stating the same. The message does not tell you whether your visa was approved or your application was rejected. You will only get to know about it when you have your passport back from the embassy.
4) The visa fee is a bit tricky. The VFS website clearly states that you have to bring a demand draft, yet they refused to accept the demand draft and asked for cash instead in my case. If I were to go again, I will carry both, and get the demand draft cancelled later if it was not needed.
5) The way the system works is that you have to book your flight to Germany before you apply for visa. This means that you do indeed risk wasting money on these tickets if the visa is not approved in time.
Disclaimer: My parents applied for a tourist visa at the German Embassy, New Delhi via the VFS Office at Chandigarh. So whatever has been stated above is based on their experiences with VFS-Chandigarh/German Embassy-New Delhi".
3. Paying a deposit:
If neither the first nor second option work out, you can transfer a deposit of €3000/per guest to a blocked account belonging to the Immigration Office. For this option your current residence permit must still be valid for at least 6 months and you would also need to have an appointment.
How to arrange an appointment
Please send an e-mail to terminauslaenderbehoerde.de and let them know what kind of invitation you would like to do or ask the International Office to do so.