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How to get a Formal Obligation (Verpflichtungserkärung) for Schengen Visa Application

As I mentioned in a previous post about the requirements and procedures for applying for a Schengen Visa, we opted to get a formal obligation for my parents’ visit this coming July. This document is only needed if the visitor’s travel will be sponsored or paid for by a host in Germany. Applicable for the purpose of business, visiting family/friends and participation in a Language course. Remember this is just an option but you may have to provide other and sometimes more documents in absence of this formal obligation.


What is formal obligation or Verpflichtungserklärung and how to get it. |

In our case, since we will be sponsoring my parents’ travel, we opted to get a formal obligation rather than just sending my parents an informal invitation.  A formal obligation seems more, well, formal and binding as it involves going to the aliens authority (Ausländerbehorde) to get one. And because we want to make sure or at least increase our chances of getting a visa for them, this option seems more viable. Additionally, this means that my parents do not have to submit their bank statement of accounts for the last 6 months to the embassy but I asked them anyway to get one as well. More is better in this case.

By signing a formal obligation, the hosts agree to the following responsibilities:

  • to pay all costs of subsistence for the visitor
  • to refund any public resources, if the visitor should need social assistance (including accommodation, medical care, nursing care)
  • to pay any costs for removal procedures (if the visitor should have to be sent back to the country of origin by German authorities)

Hosts have to live in Germany. Non-EU nationals need to be holders of a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit exceeding the validity of the formal obligation. A formal obligation may also be signed by a company residing in Germany.

The obligation includes all the costs which are needed to ensure the visitor´s maintenance and accommodation during the stay, such as expenses for food, clothing, accommodation (private or hotel) as well as costs for seeing a doctor, medicine, nursing homes or other medical treatments that are necessary. For this reason, it is recommended to take out a health insurance policy. In the case of sickness, the inviting party also has to pay the costs which are not covered by the insurance company or which exceed the insured amount. The inviting party also has to bear the costs in case of enforced removal. Such removal costs are for instance travel expenses (flight ticket and/or other transportation costs), possibly the costs for escort as well as costs for detention.

Note that the formal obligation should not be older than six months when the visa application is submitted (interview). The original document should be sent by the sponsor/host to the visitor as part of the Schengen Visa requirements.


The host or inviting party should go or call the Ausländerbehorde responsible for their area of residence in Germany and make an appointment.

On the date of appointment, the host should bring the following.

  1. Passport or Identity Card of the host
  2. Salary statement for the last three months of the host. If not applicable, other proof of income (rental contracts, current statement of income, savings account, etc.) may be presented to show that the host is able to sufficiently support the visitors during their planned stay. To be sure, ask your Ausländerbehorde about which documents will suffice. Note also that there is a minimum required amount (income) that a host/sponsor should meet in order to be approved and it is different from municipality to another. In our case, it was a minimum of 1,200€ monthly net income to host both my parents.
  3. Personal details of the visitors:
    • Full Name (including middle name)
    • Date and place of birth
    •  Nationality
    • Residence address
    • Passport number or copy
  4. €25. This the issuance fee you have to pay per formal obligation. The formal obligation we got applies already for both my parents.
  5. Additionally, our Ausländerbehorde also required us to bring our Mietvertrag  (tenancy agreement/apartment rental contract). This is for them to check that we have enough space to accommodate them during their stay.  This was not included in the list of requirements when I did my research online. But the Ausländerbehorde in your area has the prerogative to ask for other supporting documents like this one.

The whole process of applying took us about less than an hour. Then we had to go to the  Payments counter to pay the fee. After paying we went back to the Ausländerbehorde to present the receipt and we were able to take the Formal Obligation with us on the same day.


Bebs here! I love to cook and try new things and DIY projects! And although I think of myself as a homebody, I like seeing other places from time to time.
If you are looking for a recipe and it ain't here, make a request and I will try my best to make it for you!

This Post Has 37 Comments
  1. I applied for german student visa in Nigeria and I got my approval mail two weeks after my interview but i couldnt send my passport immediately because my sponsor have not given sponsorship letter. aftera while i got a mail from embasssy requesting for financial proof which i later summitted when it was ready withinn the time limit the embassy gave me to summit it. But since then I have not had from embassy and my enrollment deadline have crossed and my school refused to give an extension. I have tried to contact the embassy they initially told me that the are processing my application later the only refer me to send mails which I have but no reply. I also contacted the city foreign office in germany the told me that the approved my application that i sould contact my local embasssy.
    what should I do?
    is there any tendency of getting visa so that I will apply for summer semester once i enter germany?

    1. I am sorry Wills but I cannot help you with this question as I am not an expert. I was only sharing how we got a Family Visit Visa for my parents in the Philippines to Germany and yours is totally a different case. I am afraid you can only ask the embassy in your country about it.

  2. hi ms bebs,,i just finish my online application for schengen visa going to boyfriend send me the formal i need to have invitation letter from him? or is it enough to show the formal obligation to the embassy? thank you hope to get your reply.

  3. Hi, sorry that I keep asking questions .
    The same person in Germany is inviting and sponsoring me. my friend sent me the Formal obligation letter (verpflichtungserkärung) only, but is it enough document from her to apply for a visitor visa? if yes then thats fine, if not then what can I do what type of visa I should apply to, visitor or tourist, and should I mention that I will be staying with the host or what do you suggest.
    please I need an answer.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Mi, first of all, I would like to say that this is our personal experience in applying for a visitor’s visa in Manila embassy, other countries might have different requirements. In our case, the formal obligation was the only document we send my parents so they could apply for the visa. But I asked them to bring for the interview additional proof of our relationship, like a copy of my birth certificate and some photos of our wedding or anything to show that we are indeed related to each other, does not hurt to be ready, but they didn’t use it at all, they only asked for the formal obligation.
      When we filled out the online appointment and visa application form, we were already asked to indicate what kind of visa and who will be shouldering the cost of the visit. It is very important to apply for the right or appropriate visa and give the correct information from the beginning. Here are the links to the appointment system: and visa application form . I suggest you get a look first and see what info you need to complete.

  4. Hi Bebs,
    Thanks for the article,
    I have received the formal obligation letter from my friend in Germany but it doesnot has my passport number on it because at the time they got me the VERPFLICHTUNGSERKÄRUNG my passport was not issued so I gave them my visa (seperate paper not on passport). what can I do, would that affect my visa application, is it compulsory to have the passport number on the formal obligation letter.
    And what other documents required from the inviting and sponsor person?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Mi, I do not quite get it. What visa did you give them? In our case, the passport number was required but if your friend was able to get you the Formal Obligation without it then it should be fine, just explain it as it is if asked in the interview. Note that you should have the original document and not just a copy and it should not be older than 6 months at the date of your interview.
      I have a separate post for the requirements for Visa Application, here–>

      1. It is a humanitarian visa it comes as an A4 document not attached on passport it has your photo and details. thanks for thr quick reply very helpful website.

  5. Hello bebs, please with formal obligation letter how long will it take for a visa to be ready. I mean how many weeks? I am a student from Ghana and has admission in Germany.

    1. Hi Jonah, I think your sponsor needs to be in Germany because he or she will be responsible for you throughout your visit and not only financially but also answerable to the authority if, for example, you overextend your stay or things like that, which what the formal obligation is for.

  6. I please Want to know bebs that does one need a specific amount before he can invite some one who wants to sturdy his masters, if yes what are the processess.thank you

  7. Hi Ms Bebs,
    Please how long does it take to get a formal obligation (Verpflichtungserklärung) for Masters degree study in Germany?….Could it in anycase take up to a week or 2?

    1. As I mentioned previously (in a comment), we got the formal obligation for my parent’s visit on the same day we went to Ausländerbehörde to apply. Ask the issuing Ausländerbehörde directly as in may differ from one place to the other.

      1. Thanks a million Ms Bebs.

        The issue is, i am Nigerian and currently in Nigeria, it is not possible for me to ask the Ausländerbehörde directly my self which is why i asked you to shed more light on it for me. Reason being that my sponsor is a Nigerian who currently lives and hold a permanent resident permit in Germany told me that he already submitted the required documents but the verifications of those documents and other records about him is going to take 2 weeks or there about. So i got kind of confused when you stated that you yours the same you applied for your parents. Do you a different perspective to all u have said? Should i be worried?
        Thank you Ms Bebs

        1. Hmmm…2 weeks seems a bit long, but like what I said, it differs from one office to the other. Maybe your sponsor’s Ausländerbehörde is more strict than ours since we submitted the requirements and got the formal obligation in less than an hour, we did not wait for her to verify it since the documents are all certified and we live in a small town so it is easier for her to do it later (if needed at all). Perhaps my husband, being a German citizen also is a factor (who knows). But if all the documents check out and your sponsor qualifies then you should have nothing to worry about, just be patient.

        2. Hi miss want to ask if how i get the original formal obligation from my sponsor from Germany to manila, is it possible to get original formal obligation letter if my sponsor send it via email online or he really need to sent it via 2GO carrier or?

        3. Hi MJ, you need to submit the original to the embassy so your sponsor has to send it by mail or courier. We sent ours via post (DeutschePost-PhilPost) it is cheaper and only took about 2 weeks, more than enough time before my parent’s scheduled visa appointment.

  8. Hi Bebs..
    I had my visa interviews today for long stay visa( Marriage Visa). I got a formal obligation letter from my fiancee in germany..though the formal obligation letter was marked with “Nacht nach geweisen” however i am not sure yet whether i will be denied a visa or not because i had my interviews today at the germany embassy kampala and gave in all required documents without missing any. We have completed 1 year doing paperwork. And finally i had my appointment today. What are the possibilities of my visa being given to me?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Kicker, I cannot give you a guarantee as I am not in any way connected to the German Embassy, but I can only say that based on my experience, Marriage/Fiance Visas are usually approved as long as all of the requirements are complied with.

  9. Greetings from Kenya Bebs,
    Im just enquiring, in my case, I’m applying for German visa, my host had send me an invitation letter and her bank statements, I have also provided my bank statements, my question is, is it a must I also take an obligation letter? Thanks

    1. Hi Evelyn, I am not sure about the requirements of German Embassy in Kenya. In the Philippines, a formal obligation may be provided instead of a bank statement for the previous 6 months with bank confirmation. I would suggest asking the German Embassy directly to be sure in your case.

  10. Hi Miss Bebs, your Posts are very helpful!! Thank you so muchiiee! I want to invite my youngest brother in Manila using the Formal Obligation from Ausländerbehörde. I was able to book him visa appointment today using the links you included above, he must wait a month though but we are both thankful that we dont have to call the call center anymore. Manny many Thanks! Kind regards and please keep it up! 🙂 – ALLYSA

    1. I am glad the article was able to help Allysa. Yes, it was quite convenient being able to fill out the form and set the appointment online. Enjoy your time with your brother in Germany!

  11. Thanks for the article. My situation is I want to bring my parents and in-laws together but they agreed to give this document only for my parents as my salary was not sufficient. They told me the option of asking one of my friends to sponsor them. Now if my friend sponsors my in-laws, will they be able to stay with us?

    1. Hi Indranil, well usually the Ausländerbehorde would also check if your accommodation can fit all the people you are planning to invite. They only ask for a tenancy contract for this usually. So if you and your friend are approved and given the document then I do not see why they cannot stay with you afterward.

  12. Hi Ms Bebs,
    Please how long does it take to get a formal obligation (Verpflichtungserklärung) for Bachelor’s degree study in Germany?

    1. Hi Martin, we got the formal obligation for my parents’ visit the same day we went there and applied for it. As long as you have the requirements they need then they can print it the same day, usually. Of course, it can be different depending on the personnel or the office but I do not see a problem to delay it since it is only a form that they fill out and print. To get a direct answer I suggest asking the nearest Ausländerbehörde where your sponsor will apply for it.

  13. Gud am…..nice post….pls one of my uncle tried getting me such letter but he was told he could not due to the numbers of kids he has…….i wanted to know if himself and my other uncle can combine to get it for me?

    1. Hi Noble, I am not sure if this is possible. I think you can only get one sponsor unless they are a couple (husband and wife) and their combined income and accommodations are enough to cover your expenses and incidentals during your stay. To be sure, ask your uncle to call the Ausländerbehörde to ask for what other options that are acceptable to them.

  14. Hello bebs,

    Thanks for this post. i´d like to know if a student can invite his parents to germany with a verpflictung.
    if not, what are the process ?


    1. Hi Ola, I am not sure as I was only sharing our own experience. Although to be clear, a Formal Obligation is to show that the sponsor (you) will be able to cover the expenses and all the incidentals of the sponsored parties (your parents) while they are staying in Germany. Being a student, I am not sure if the Ausländerbehörde will accept that since they will ask for your income statements and living arrangements as mentioned above. If your parents can finance their visit, then I would say the best option is they apply for a tourist visa instead.

  15. Hello Ms. Bebs! I would like to ask if your parents showed the bank statement or not ? My situation is the same as your parents – sponsored visa. I hope for your response. Thank you!

    1. This is about the requirements for Schengen Visa, right? Just to be clear that you are not asking about the Formal Obligation. To be sure, I asked them to submit a copy of their bank statements as well. It is better to be prepared than to come back to the German embassy again for additional supporting documents. If your parents also have some properties, like land titles, etc (we even also included my dad’s car) ask them to bring the original and make copies.

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