A visual artist from Essen plans a work stay in the U.S. Over a period of half a year, he/she will be working at various locations: a six-week stay at an artists’ residence in Portland, combined with a grant from the organizer, supervision of two workshops at a university in San Francisco on a fee basis, and the setup of a group exhibition, also in San Francisco. What kind of residence title must he/she apply for?
Travels of artists or creatives based in Germany to one of the approx. 140 non-European countries and the approx. 10 state-like structures (such as Taiwan, North Cyprus, the Palestinian territories, Western Sahara) to engage in artistic activities require detailed inquiries with the responsible diplomatic representations in Germany.
The spectrum of visa procedures and required documents is so broad (for example when comparing Uzbekistan and the United States or Indonesia and China), that no detailed advice can be given. This also applies for visa extensions, the possibility of express visas, or “visa on arrival,” at the border or an airport of the host country.
Germany maintains diplomatic ties with numerous countries represented by embassies and consulates that should be contacted as early as possible for further information. Their websites often list all information, prices, and conditions concerning visa procedures.
For moving to a non-EU country, German citizens usually need a national visa as well. The conditions for obtaining a visa must therefore be clarified in advance at the foreign mission of the destination country. Many countries also maintain websites that explain step by step the path to immigration. For self-employment one of the conditions for visa issuance is often that an economic concept must be presented. Even though German citizens can enter many countries without a visa, in many cases the national visa must be applied for from Germany. Sometimes it is also possible to apply for a residence permit locally after entering the country.
Non-EU citizens who are only in Germany for a short stay (e.g. with a Schengen visa or by visa-free entry) can apply for a visa for a third country only at its diplomatic representation in their home country or in the country of their habitual residence, but not at a diplomatic representation in Germany.
The same rules normally apply to applications for national visas, i.e. for moving abroad.
In exceptional cases (e.g. due to war or during the Corona pandemic) these regulations are sometimes temporarily suspended. In this case, it is important to obtain information in good time from the local authorities or the foreign missions and to clarify the conditions for the issuance of visas.
Guidelines on migration law for cooperation between artists and art associations in Germany, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart 2023
BMI information: Verpflichtungserklärung (declaration of commitment)