Visa for personnel on passenger ships

28.05.2024 - Article

General information

You can apply for a visa to work on a passenger ship if you

  • stay predominantly in Germany, i.e. on German river sections and
  • aim for a stay of at least 91 days within a 180-day period (or at least 181 days within a 360-day period).

If you will work as technical personnel on inland waterway vessels and, in cross-border traffic, operating and service personnel on passenger ships required for the care of guests, the approval from the Federal Employment Agency is not required.

Basic information

  • If you want to have an appointment to apply for the visa, you need to register on the appointment waiting list of the German Embassy Nairobi and mention “other employment” as purpose of stay
  • All application documents must be submitted in original with 1 copy.
  • Please sort the documents in the order listed below.
  • Documents not in the German or English language must be submitted with a certified German or English translation.
  • The Embassy reserves the right to request additional documents in individual cases.
  • Incomplete application forms as well as applications with incomplete documents will delay processing and may lead to rejection of the application.
  • Processing time is as a rule ca. 1 to 2 months but can take longer in individual cases.
  • Please do not contact the mission abroad to check the status of your application during the normal processing period. Such inquiries are extremely time-consuming for the visa section and can thus not be answered.

For your application we require the following documents:

  1. Passport and 1 copy of the data page. If you are a foreigner residing in Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan or the Seychelles, you have to show a valid residence permit for the country of residence.
  2. 1 completed and duly signed application form.
  3. 2 current, identical biometric passport photos with a white background
  4. Signed information pursuant to section 18 (2) no. 4a of the Residence Act (AufenthG) – Requirement to have a concrete job offer
  5. Curriculum vitae in German or English, gapless
  6. Completed form signed by your employer: “Declaration regarding a contract of employment
  7. Completed Questionnaire for crew members of river cruise ships
  8. Invitation letter from the employer
    • The Invitation letter has to explicitly mention the ship on which the applicant will start working. Moreover, the employer has to declare that the ship will not be changed during the visa process or prior to arrival in Germany.
  9. Guarantee letter from shipping agent in Germany according to Sections 66, 67 and 68 of the Residence Act:
    • The shipping agent must undertake to cover all costs arising from your stay in Germany, including the costs of any medical treatment and repatriation to your home country. The declaration of commitment must cover the entire period of employment.
  10. Ship Register
  11. Employment Contract signed by the employer and the applicant containing the following information:
    • Compliance and guarantee of the minimum wage law in Germany
    • Countries in which the work will take place
    • Working Hours
    • Off days and periods of rest
    • Name of the ship
    • Ship’s route
    • If the above points cannot be included in the employment contract, the employer can also issue a separate confirmation letter with the required information.
  12. Proof of qualification - Secondary school qualification, possibly vocational school or university qualification
  13. Proof of professional experience on passenger ships or in the hotel/catering sector
    • Please submit reference letters from your former employers or similar documents (employment contract, salary slips, etc.)
  14. Proof of incoming health insurance coverage, valid for the entire duration of employment on the passenger ship beginning with date of entry to Germany
  15. Visa fee in the amount 75 Euros, payable in Kenyan Shillings

This fact sheet reflects the legal situation at the time of drafting it. It is regularly updated but makes no claim to be complete. Authoritative version of the fact sheet is the German version.

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