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Wikimedia Conference 2017/Visa Process and Assistance

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General visa information[edit]

Please check the following website to find out whether you need a visa for travelling to Germany: http://wmde.org/visagermany. WMDE would be happy to welcome all registered participants at WMCON17. For this reason, we advise you to apply for a visa sufficiently early to ensure you receive your visa in time.

We recommend you to apply for so-called ‘Uniform Schengen Visa -Type C ‘, which allows a maximum of stay of 90 days.

Depending on your country of origin, you will need to make an appointment with the nearest German embassy or consulate. We advise you to check the appointment availability now, as in some countries longer waiting times and scarcity of appointment options are likely, and to make an appointment straight away. Please also check the processing time for a visa. We recommend you to submit the visa application 6-8 weeks before the conference.

Please note that if you are transiting certain countries (e.g. USA, United Kingdom) en route to Berlin, you may also be required to apply for a transit visa.

We would also like to highlight that you need to have a passport that is at least valid for six months beyond the period of your stay.

WMDE will assist you with your visa application (please indicate the need within the WMCON registration form) and will provide the following documents:

  • Letter of invitation
  • Foreign travel health insurance
  • Copy of registration of association of WMDE
  • Copy of identity card from WMDE’s Executive Director

The documents will be sent to you via email. Please print these documents and bring them along to your appointment at the embassy/consulate. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Berlin confirmed that it is generally not necessary to present the original documents at the embassy/consulate, which reduces the mailing expenses extremely. Prior to your appointment, we however advise you to double-check this with your contact person at the embassy/consulate. Should the original documents be required, please inform us accordingly and we will send them to you in the fastest manner.

Furthermore you will need the following:

  • Travel plan (group 1 self-organized, group 2 and 3 provided by WMF)
  • Hotel room booking confirmation (group 1 self-organized, group 2 and 3 guarantee provided within letter of invitation)
  • Visa application form (see here for an example)
  • Passport and photocopy of passport
  • 1-2 Biometric photo(s), no older than 6 months
  • Proof of roots/ties back home:
    • Birth certificate
    • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Document confirming occupation situation:
    • Employees: Certificate of employer (including original signature)
    • Scholars/ Students: current proof of school/ university enrollment etc.
    • Unemployed/ Retired: Proof of residence (utility bill/rental agreement/signed letter from property owner)
  • if applicable: copies of old visas

Please note that this is just a compilation of the most common documents that need to be provided by visa applicants. The full set of required documents majorly depends on the country of origin. Please check this in advance on the website of the consulate/embassy.

Within the application form of the Schengen visa, the purpose of stay needs to be specified (business, family and tourist purpose). We advise to choose the business purpose as the proof of financial means can be provided by your chapter or WMDE and there is no need to present personal financial means.

In some countries a personal visit and interview at the embassy/consulate for visa processing is required. Below is a list with the most commonly asked questions in such an interview. We advise you to prepare for these questions in order to be able to give satisfactory answers.

  • Where are you going?
  • Have you been there before?
  • What are you going to do there? What is the purpose of the trip?
  • What kind of event is it that you will attend?
  • How long will you stay?
  • What is your organization? What does it do?
  • What is Wikimedia? How are you involved with Wikipedia/Wikimedia?
  • What is your relation to Wikimedia Deutschland?
  • Who is paying for your trip?
  • Why should you be permitted to go?
  • What is the purpose of the conference?
  • How were you selected to attend the conference?
  • What is your profession?
  • What do your family members do?

Visa approval[edit]

As WMDE wants to keep an overview on the status of all visa applications and travel is only booked (for group 2 and 3 participants) after the visa is approved, we kindly ask you to immediately inform us via wmcon@wikimedia.de.

Visa problems or denial[edit]

In case you experience any problems during the visa application process or your visa application is denied, we like to advise you to contact us immediately via wmcon@wikimedia.de. We will try our best to get in contact with the German embassy or consulate and to support you as good as possible.

Visa fees[edit]

The fee per visa amounts to approximately 60,- €. Participants from group 2 and group 3 may get the visa fee refunded. Please fill in WMDE’s reimbursement form and bring it along with the original invoice to the Wikimedia Conference. After presenting all the correct documents at the registration desk, you will receive the reimbursement in cash.

Checklist for participants from outside the Schengen Area[edit]

To do
1. Check here whether you need a Schengen visa
2. Check whether you need a transit visa
3. Check validity of your passport (must be valid at least six months beyond the period of your stay)
4. Register for WMCON as soon as possible and indicate visa need
5. Check whether you need to make an appointment with the nearest German embassy/consulate and make an appointment straight away in case it is necessary
6. Check the processing time for a visa
7. Check with your contact person at the embassy/consulate whether the original documents provided by WMDE are required or if copies are sufficient
8. Check which other documents are required (e.g. birth and marriage certificate, copy of your passport, biometric photo etc.)
9. Collect all the required documents and submit the visa application, the latest by 6-8 weeks before the conference
10. Prepare for the interview at the embassy/consulate in case that one is required