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FAQ – Frequently asked questions

Do I need a visa?

  • Patients from EU member states do not require a visa 
  • Citizens of other states have to apply for a visa for the purposes of medical treatment prior to entry 
  • Exception: the EU has lifted the visa requirement for a number of countries (e.g. Central and South American states, the UAE, Japan, Canada, USA etc.). Citizens of these countries who spend up to three months continuously in Germany within a six-month period likewise do not require a visa
  • Additional information about entry requirements can be found on the website of your home country’s German Embassy 


What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is intended for those wishing to enter or travel within the Schengen Area (26 European member states). If you have been granted a Schengen visa for medical treatment in Germany, you must travel directly to Germany for your treatment. Brief transit via an airport in another country is of course possible. However, you cannot enter another Schengen country and then continue your journey to Germany for treatment. Once you have completed your treatment, it is possible to travel to other Schengen countries. A Schengen visa is issued for a maximum stay of three months.

What is a national visa?

If it is likely that treatment will take longer than three months, the patient and an accompanying person can apply for a national visa that entitles them only to enter and then remain within Germany. It is important to note that it can sometimes take longer for a national visa application to be processed than a Schengen visa application.

What documents do I need to apply for a visa?

  • Passport
  • Letter from your doctor in your home country, describing your medical situation
  • In some cases the doctor in your home country will need to confirm that the treatment to be carried out in Germany is not available in your home country  
  • An invitation from the medical institution in Germany that is to provide your treatment. This must include a description of the proposed treatment method, as well as details of the expected treatment costs. In addition, a date for treatment must be proposed
  • Proof that you will be able to pay the costs of treatment yourself, and possibly an advance payment
  • Information about your personal financial situation

Further information about applying for a visa can be found on the website of your home country’s German Embassy.

How are the costs of medical treatment in Germany calculated?

The costs of outpatient treatment are calculated on the basis of the GOÄ (the medical fee schedule). Some hospitals bundle costs together and may offer you a single all-in price for a check-up, for example. If you require inpatient treatment, the cost estimate will be based on the DRG (Diagnosis Related Groups), the hospital calculating the costs according to the diagnosis and recommended treatment. Optional extras (such as accommodation on a comfort ward or treatment by a chief physician) will be charged additionally. Services not available to German patients, such as an airport transfer or interpreter service, can also be charged on top. Inpatient treatment in rehabilitation or a psychiatric facility will be calculated according to daily rates and the length of the overall stay. To discover the likely cost of your medical treatment, please contact the hospital or doctor’s surgery in question directly. Please note that it is always difficult to recommend treatment from a distance, which means that the costs may differ according to the actual treatment provided.

Who pays the costs of medical treatment in Germany?

Patients from abroad who travel to Germany for a medical examination or treatment are generally regarded as self-pay patients.   
EU citizens can use their EU insurance card to obtain emergency treatment at German hospitals. If surgery is recommended and planned in advance, the costs may be covered if the insurance company agrees. There are international insurance companies which cooperate with German hospitals. Please contact your health insurance provider in advance and in good time to ascertain whether inpatient treatment costs will be covered. Please also check at the hospital whether your health insurer’s guarantee to pay the costs will be accepted. Insured patients normally pay for outpatient treatment up front and then seek reimbursement from their health insurance provider.
In some countries, the state – via specific authorities that cooperate with the ministry of health – may pay the costs of medical treatment. Please check with the competent authority in your home country whether this is the case.

Who can I contact if I am interested in medical treatment in Germany?

You can use the listed e-mail address on the pages of the hospitals and medical practices or communicate your concern via the direct link in the contact box. Larger hospitals often maintain an International Office, where multilingual staff members take care of a wide variety of patient concerns.

I will be travelling with my family. Can my family members be accommodated with me in hospital?

Many hospitals can accommodate one additional person at most in the patient’s room – you should check in advance whether this will be possible. If an additional bed is provided, this will also incur additional costs. You can also use our website to find suitable accommodation nearby. Please check prices in advance and compare the costs of accommodating the person accompanying you in the hospital or in a hotel.

Who should I contact if something is unclear when I am in Germany, for example when it comes to invoicing or if I experience problems during my stay?

The hospitals and doctor’s surgeries will do everything they can to make your stay as pleasant as possible. However, it is possible that you will experience waiting times, or that a particular invoice will turn out to be higher than expected due to more complex treatment. Staff will try to let you know this as soon as possible.

What do I need to consider if my child is going to travel to Berlin for treatment?

One parent will always be allowed to stay with their child while in hospital. Please let the International Office know as early as possible that you want this and remember that your accommodation will incur additional costs.

Why have I been asked to send in a test for bacterial infections (MRSA, ESBL)?

In certain situations (e.g. when a patient has previously been treated in a different hospital), or in case of any suspicion, hygiene regulations in Germany require that an examination be carried out for possible multidrug resistant bacteria.  This is intended to protect all patients, and especially those weakened by disease.

Your Checklist – for a pleasant stay

  • 1 Preparations

    Describe your concerns and send the necessary documents to the hospital.

  • 2 Relevant documents

    Inform yourself about your medical visa and select all documents. 

  • 3 Stay

    Inform yourself in time about your hospital and a appropriate accommodation. 

  • 4 After discharge

    Verify if you will need a medication or further treatment. 

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