U.S. citizens do not require a visa to enter Germany. Without a visa, however, they may not stay longer than three months every half-year or take up gainful employment requiring a work permit. If required, citizens may obtain a residence and/or work permit after entry.
For more information, visit the German Embassy site in the U.S.
Welcome to Germany:
The meeting, convention and tourism destination for successful business representatives from around the world. What defines success in business also defines Germany: technology, innovation, flexibility, expertise, efficiency, organization, and mobility. Add drawing power in the form of brilliant natural beauty, majestic castles and regal palaces, world-class culture and cities steeped in history and you will come to see why no other destination for business travel even begins to compare. Visit the German National Tourist Board website and discover what attracts two-thirds of the world's top international trade fairs to one place: Germany.
Domestic flights are well developed. All major cities are frequently served from many cities. Frankfurt and Munich are hubs to Lufthansa, Germany's national airline. Flight time is short (about 1 hour) to get anywhere in Germany.
International Airports in Germany (IATA-Code):
National Airports in Germany (IATA-Code):
The Deutsche Bahn AG offers a network that will get you almost anywhere in Germany. Rail travel is of no comparison to that in the United States. Highspeed trains operate between major cities, making it a real alternative to flying, as railstations are always located in the city center.
Germany's highway - the Autobahn - is famous. They are in excellent condition and very well developed. However, to keep such quality, maintenance is necessary and construction sites are common.
From several seaports on the North-Sea and the Baltic-Sea you may find your desired ferry connection.
There is a growing network of affordable long-distance bus routes in Germany. The following website identifies connections of various bus companies incl. booking (German only): http://www.busliniensuche.de
Time zone Germany is located within the Central European Time Zone.
To convert U.S. time to German time:
Eastern Standard (EST): +6 hours
Central Standard Time (CST): +7 hours
Mountain Standard Time (MST): +8hours
Pacific Standard Time (PST): +9 hours
Alaska Standard Time (AST): +10 hours
Hawaii Standard Time (HST): +11 hours
Click here to receive more information about Germany's currency and economy.
International Calls from the USA
To Germany: 011 + 49 + Area Code (disregard 0) + number
Example - German number 030 83051900: Dial 011 49 30 83051900 from the US.
To U.S.: 001 + Area Code + number
In Germany, cell phone coverage is almost 100% - you will always have service! However, frequencies throughout Europe differ from those used in North America. Your service provider can tell you if your phone is compatible with the German / European system and offer you alternatives if it is not. Network frequencies: EGSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900
Computers & Internet
Bringing a laptop to Germany is simple: most run on both 110 volts, as in North America, or 230 volts, as found throughout Europe. Although the voltage is universal, you will still need an adapter to plug your computer into an electrical outlet.
While in Germany, the Internet is easily accessible. You can often log on at your hotel, either right from your room or in computer rooms, and at business centers, which offer internet access to guests. If neither is available, ask your hotel about an Internet café – chances are excellent one is right around the corner!
Germany uses 230V. Therefore, a converter will be needed in order to use American 110V devices.
The climate is similar to that of the North Eastern U.S. The current weather can be found at: http://www.wunderground.com/global/DL.html.
ATMs/ Banks: ATMs are as easily found in Germany as they are in North America. They are located at bank branches and standing alone in shopping, tourist and other busy areas. Major credit and debit cards, along with all other bank cards carrying the PLUS and NYCE symbols, are universally accepted. When located indoors, use your card to gain access if the door is locked, just as you would normally do.
Credit Cards: Credit cards are commonly accepted in Germany, although they are not always used for everyday expenses. Restaurants, hotels, stores, train stations and other places regularly frequented by tourists will almost always accept them.
Tipping: The bill you receive at a hotel, restaurant, cafe or bar often includes a service charge already. A tip is an indication of your satisfaction – 5% is average, whereas 10% indicates exceptional service. Tip taxi drivers about 5% and porters and others who assist you with baggage one Euro per item.
Hours of Business
Stores in Germany generally open between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Most close between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The regulations vary slightly between the federal states, but are currently being liberated in most parts of Germany. On Sunday almost all stores are closed, the exceptions being gas stations and convenience stores, which carry some food items, snacks and beverages, newspapers and journals as well as a basic supply of toiletry articles.
Banks and post offices are generally open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; some banks have extended hours on Thursday. Pharmacies open at 8 a.m.
Museums are generally closed on Mondays. Throughout the year, many cities have a “Long Night of the Museums”, where all the city’s museums are open throughout the night.
VAT Refunds & Tax-Free Shopping
Prices for goods and services in Germany always include a 19% value-added tax (VAT). Some or all of the VAT may be refundable for goods purchased at stores displaying the “Tax-Free for Tourists” sign. You will receive a tax-free form upon making a purchase. Before leaving the country and before checking any luggage, present the purchased goods, the tax-free form and your receipt to German customs officials. They will certify the form as proof of legal export.
You may then obtain a cash refund at one of the Tax-Free Shopping Service counters located at all major border crossings, airports, ferry ports and train stations.
Links to interesting pages:
Web page of the German Federal Government
Information about Germany
German places - Get impressions of German travel destinations