Information about the hospital system and about getting medical treatment in Germany.

Saturday, 30 December 2006

What are the Visa Requirements?

Unfortunately, Germany (with the other so-called Schengen countries) has adopted very strict regulations to reduce illegal immigration. Citizens of many foreign countries need a valid "Schengen Visa" in order to travel to Germany or any other Schengen country.

Basically, there are three types of visa: Tourist visa, business visa and visa for medical treatment. For the first two, travelers need an invitation from either a private person or a business company. Such invitations can only be obtained from special agencies in Germany, and the inviting person has to sign an obligation declaration, that he will cover any costs that might be caused during the stay in Germany.

For the medical visa, the requirements are usually the following (although you should ask your local German Embassy, what their specific requirements are):

  • An official letter from a doctor in the home country, confirming that the patient needs medical treatment abroad.
  • An official letter from the hospital in Germany, that the desired treatment will be offered to the applicant, together with a statement about the estimated costs and the duration of stay in Germany.
  • An official document to proove that the full amount of the estimated hospital costs has been paid to the hospital in advance.
  • Proof of sufficient funds for the costs of living during the stay in Germany.
In this way, the visa authorities want to ensure that no-one comes to Germany seeking hospital treatment but not having the funds to pay for the treatment. Because: If a patient presents himself at a hospital and is definitely in need of treatment, the hospital cannot refuse to treat him - even though the payment of the costs is not secured.

In order to obtain the two official letters from the hospital, it is very useful to employ a patient referral organization like German Hospital Service Ltd. They can help foreigners to find the right hospital (which can be trusted with an advance payment of many thousands of Euros), they can also make sure that the documents are sent to the patient by safe courier services; and they can help in the visa application process by contacting the embassy and providing additional information if necessary.

From all this, it is also clear: If a foreigner is seeking medical treatment in Germany, and he has ways and means to obtain a normal tourist or business visa to any one of the Schengen countries, this will be the preferable way to come to Germany. Once you are in the country, nobody looks at the visa status, and the hospital of your choice can be approached for treatment immediately. Furthermore, as for most medical procedures there are no waiting lists in German hospitals, you will be able to find a treatment possibilty right away - at least if you employ a referral organisation like German Hospital Service Ltd.

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