Which health insurance do you need for your German visa?

Which health insurance do you need for your German visa?

In Germany, everyone must have health insurance, it's the law. If you apply for a German visa, you must prove that you will have valid health insurance when you arrive in Germany.

In this guide, we show you how to get valid health insurance for your visa application. We also show you what to do after you get your visa and arrive in Germany.

What types of health insurance are available in Germany?

In Germany, there are 4 types of health insurance:

Public health insurance

Public health insurance is the most common option in Germany. 90% of Germans have public health insurance. If you work in Germany, and you make under 62550€ a year, this is your only option.

Related guide: Public vs private health insurance in Germany

Private health insurance

Private health insurance is only available to some people: freelancers, students, employees who make more than 62550€ a year, etc. Private health insurance is cheaper if you are young and healthy, but it can get very expensive with time.

Related guide: Public vs private health insurance in Germany

Expat health insurance

Expat health insurance or incoming health insurance is a temporary health insurance. You use expat health insurance to get a residence permit. When you arrive in Germany, you must switch to public or private health insurance as soon as possible1, 2, 3, 4.

Expat health insurance is cheaper than public and private health insurance, but it's not as good:

Expat health insurance is more expensive than travel insurance, but it's better:

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is only for short stays in Germany. It's only valid for a few months, and it only covers emergency situations. If you get really sick, your travel insurance will usually pay to bring you back home. It will not pay for long term treatments in Germany.

Travel insurance is accepted for tourist visa applications. It is not accepted for residence permit applications.

Which insurance do I need for a German visa?

The German embassies, consulates and Ausländerbehörde have specific health insurance requirements for each visa.

For a German tourist visa

When you apply for a tourist visa, you just need travel insurance. The insurance must cover you for the duration of your stay. It must cover you for at least 30000€1, and it must be valid for the duration of your stay.

For any type of German residence permit

If you apply for a work visa, a Blue Card, a student visa, a freelance visa, a job seeker visa or any kind of Category D visa, you need expat insurance, private health insurance or public health insurance. Travel insurance is not accepted.

If you apply for a long term visa for the first time, you have two options1:

  1. Get expat health insurance, then switch to public or private health insurance as soon as possible. You use the expat health insurance to get the visa, and when you arrive in Germany, you apply for private or public health insurance.
  2. Get public or private health insurance immediately. The health insurance company will give you a document (Mitgliedsbescheinigung). This document confirms that you will be insured as soon as you get your visa and arrive in Germany. This option is not always possible.

If you already have a German visa and you want to renew it, you need public or private health insurance. Expat insurance is almost never accepted for visa renewals1. This guide will help you choose the best public or private health insurance.

Related guides:

Which expat insurance works for a German visa?

If you apply for a work visa, a Blue Card, a student visa, a freelance visa, a job seeker visa or any kind of Category D visa, pick one of these options:

There are many more options. If you need help, ask a health insurance broker. They will find the best insurance for your needs. Their help is completely free.

How long can you stay on expat health insurance?

Expat health insurance stops working after 5 years. You must get public or private health insurance before it expires.

If you have expat health insurance, switch to public or private health insurance as soon as possible. Don't wait 5 years! You should switch at least 6 months before your expat insurance expires.

When you are a freelancer, health insurers can refuse to cover you. If you get really sick while you are on expat insurance, no one will want to cover you. Your expat insurance will expire, and you won't have any health insurance1, 2. Without health insurance, you can't renew your visa. You will have to leave Germany when your visa ends. If you find an insurer who wants to cover you, it might be very expensive.

If you are a student, public health insurance is very cheap. It's a little more expensive than expat insurance, but it's much better. Switch to public health insurance maximum 3 months after you start university. If you wait too long, you will be stuck with expat insurance.

Where to get help?

First, read our guide on German health insurance. It explains everything you should know about insurance.

If you still have questions, ask a health insurance broker. Their help is free. They get paid by insurance companies when they bring new customers.

If you already know what you need, use Tarifcheck to compare health insurance prices.

If you just want health insurance for your visa application, try Feather or Ottonova. Many people confirmed that it worked for their visa. I often work with Feather, and I trust them.

For general visa questions, see our other guides: