"Total number of visas (A, B, C) issued by the Schengen member state authorities during the year 2006:7,359,017
Total number of visas (A, B, C) issued by the German authorities during the year 2006:1,797,924"
EU Statistics on Visas 2009
Generally, the laws governing the issuance of visas and residence permits require all
non-EEC-alien to hold a visa or permit for any visit to Germany. Thus, most foreign nationals require an
entry clearance in the form of a visa. Only certain privileged nationalities are exempt from this requirement
due to treaties between Germany and the respective home country (visa waiver programmes).
Those benefiting from such visa waiver programmes may travel to Germany for up to three months without officially applying for a business or tourist visa.
Under the 1985 Schengen Agreement, a business visitor may be granted a short-term visa for a maximum duration of three months (90 days) out of every six. However, a business traveller must not spend more than three months out of every 12 on business in Germany, as a business trip of more than 90 days in 12 months is, by law, considered to be work, which requires a work visa or residence permit.
Furthermore, a 'regular business visitor' is strictly defined as an individual who, despite living and working outside Germany, comes to Germany for not more than 90 days within 12 months to:
Other occupations in Germany require a residence permit.
A special visa may be granted to a third country national, legally employed in one EU-member state to provide services to a customer in another EU-member state.
Because of the variety of categories and detailed limitations it is recommendable to ask a specialised attorney if a business visitor asks you to provide him/her with an invitation letter.
The abuse of a Schengen visa or of the visa-waiver-programme for illegal work is a criminal offence and people who helped with the application for such a visa on false information can be held liable. In addition, according to the EU-Ordinance EG No. 767/2008 before long there will be installed a visa-information-system (VIS II) which records all inviting companies and names of contact person for 5 years in orer to check the legality of such visas.