Visa-free travel destinations for German passport holders

Getting Around By Cate Lawrence Jan 10, 2020

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

Ever plan the vacation of your dreams, only to be discouraged by complicated visa documentation required by the destination country? Luckily, there are plenty of countries around the world where Germans can enjoy visa-free travel.

You’ve probably heard the claim that a German passport is one of the most powerful in the world. It is indeed, according to the Henley Passport Index, which measures travel access according to each country’s travel documents. It puts Germany in second place along with Finland and South Korea (topped only by Japan and Singapore) with 188 visa-free countries for Germans to visit.

Visa-free travel destinations

The duration of your visit to a country visa-free is typically divided into 30, 60 or 90 days. These should always be double-checked before your trip as the requirements may change. A 60-day stay is not two months; it’s 60 days. The day of arrival counts as day one and the day of departure also counts as a full day. Even if you leave or arrive five minutes after midnight, that “new” day will be counted as a full day.

As noted by VisaHQ at the time of publishing, some places where Germans can travel visa-free for up to 90 days include:

  • Israel
  • Turkey
  • Qatar
  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Japan
  • Macedonia
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Serbia

Among these and many other countries, German citizens can also enjoy unrestricted visa-free travel throughout the other 25 other countries in the Schengen area.

Other visa requirements

It’s worth taking a careful look at these lists, as there are a few countries where you don’t have to visit their embassy beforehand, but you do need either a visa upon arrival (including Bangladesh) or an e-visa (including Kenya, Australia and the United States). You should, of course, always check the government website of the country you are visiting before making any reservations.

It’s worth noting that, even when travelling to countries that don’t require a visa, you may need other documentation upon arrival, and other conditions may apply.

There are many advantages to being German, the right to travel the world with ease is just one of them.

Documentation to have on arrival

Most countries can ask for proof of onward travel, such as a return airline ticket or ticket to another country. This is not always enforced but could be a reason to refuse you entry.

It is unlikely that you will be asked, but just in case, you should be able to show proof of income, such as a credit card or bank statement, and an address where you will be staying upon arrival. In the case of an emergency and to avoid carrying lots of cash, the Western Union® app can reliably wire money directly to your bank account or to the nearest agent location.

People can often forget to check the expiration date on their passports before travelling, assuming they’ll be fine as long as the date hasn’t yet passed. However, many countries still need a certain amount of time on a passport before they allow you in. In some countries, this can be up to six months, so you should always check before you book your flight. As a general rule, you should always make sure your passport will remain valid for six months beyond your planned trip. You never know if your travel plans are going to change, and the last thing you want is to be stuck. Your passport should also be undamaged and have at least two blank pages.

While Germans aren’t required to show their national ID card or passport when travelling between border-free Schengen EU countries, it’s highly recommended to take a passport or ID card with you to prove your identity. Schengen EU countries may adopt national rules where you have to carry your documents while inside their borders. Note that driving licences, post, bank or tax cards are not accepted as valid travel documents or proof of identity.