How can I use expat health insurance for my visa to Germany?
The river mosel

How can I use expat health insurance for my visa to Germany?

Summary: Visas are complex, so it’s important to know what’s required for your application. In Germany, health insurance is a legal requirement to visit, live, and work here. One problem many people have is knowing which visas accept expat health insurance and which ones don’t. 

Here, we cover which visas accept expat health insurance and what to watch out for when using it for your visa application. 

Time limitation of expat health insurance

Expat health insurance can be used for up to 5 years starting from your arrival date in Germany. If you’ve already been in Germany for 2 years and just now apply for expat health insurance, that means you’ll only have 3 years left before your expat health insurance expires. 

The time limit applies to everyone regardless of visa.

Working holiday visa or Youth mobility visa („Working Holiday“-Programm)

Because this visa is only available for one year, as long as you haven’t been in Germany for more than 4 years, you can use expat health insurance unless you have pre-existing conditions.

You can find more information on our health tool. 

Freelance visas (Visum zur Selbstständigkeit)

If you’re applying for your first-time freelance visa, then we recommend you get public health insurance unless you’re not coming from another EU country, then you would need to consider private health insurance or expat health insurance. If you have pre-existing conditions, expat insurance probably won’t be accepted for your visa application.

You should also see our health tool to find out what the best fit is for your visa, which can help determine which health insurance you’re eligible for. 

German tourist visa (Schengen Visum)

If you’re planning to come to Germany for only a few weeks, getting simple travel insurance will be just fine while you’re here – We don’t offer this yet, but we’re currently working on it! Still, if you plan to stay for more than one month, expat health insurance is perfect for you since it covers you throughout the entire EU and can be canceled on a monthly basis. 

For some passport holders, this travel visa is granted on arrival. For others, you’ll need to contact the German embassy in your country to apply. With expat insurance, you can apply online from anywhere around the world, so there is no need to worry about any paperwork.

Visitation visa (Besucher Visum)

If you have a formal invitation to Germany from a friend, family member, event, or company, you’re still going to need health insurance that covers at least €30,000 in costs, which expat fulfills – Depending on the German city you’re applying in. To find out the specific requirements for your visa, go to the specific city’s visa website and look for the visitation visa. Under additional information, you’ll see a list of links to related documents. The one you’ll need to look for is regarding additional information on health insurance requirements. 

Medical visa (Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur medizinischen Behandlung)

For people seeking medical treatment in Germany, the requirements for a visa are vastly different from city to city. The general rule is that you’ll need health insurance to cover you while getting medical treatment, but since expat health insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions (a requirement for this visa), you’ll need to prove that you’re able to cover the costs of the surgery through another insurance or through bank statements. 

You will need at least travel insurance during this time, though (expat health insurance will not work in this case).

Student visas (Visum zum Studieren)

If you’re 29 years old or younger, we highly recommend signing up for public health insurance

On our website, you can see four different public health insurance providers, which you can choose from. All of them are nearly identical in terms of coverage with small perks like travel vaccinations. 

This is only possible if your university is accepted by the state. If it is a private institution and not approved you will have to take out expat insurance. But don’t worry, we will check that for you in the sign-up process.

If you’re 30 years old or older, then public health insurance won’t accept your student insurance status unless you’re working for the university as a Ph.D. student. Your university will have specifically told you that you would be covered under their insurance as a researcher or guest academic. We offer expat and private health insurance, but you can check out our health insurance tool to learn more about the options available to you.

Visas for employment (Blaue Karte EU)

Expat insurance is not an ideal solution and doesn’t always work for your visa appointment unless you have a very specific situation. It’s best first to see if you would be covered by public or private health insurance before applying for expat – which you can check on our health tool

Someone might need expat insurance because they’re coming to Germany on a temporary employment visa and need to apply before starting work. Expat insurance can be canceled on a monthly basis, so you can use it until your employer enrolls you into a public or private health insurance plan. 

Job searching visa (Visum zur Arbeitsplatzsuche)

If you qualify for a job searching visa, then you almost always have less than 2 years to find a full-time position. This means that expat health insurance is perfect for this period of time when you don’t qualify for public or private insurance. 

Visa renewals

Expat health insurance is meant for people who are unsure if they want to stay in Germany long-term or not. If you’re getting a visa renewal, this is no longer the case, so expat insurance is almost always denied

We recommend that if you already have expat health insurance with Feather, you upgrade to public or private health insurance in your account. Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for private or public health insurance, but you can check in our health tool. 

Pre-existing conditions

In the information document on the application (this is available on the website of the Foreigner’s Office in the city you’re applying in), they will almost always deny expat health insurance if you’d pay more than €300 out of pocket per year, which is the case if you have pre-existing conditions. Since expat insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, this ends up being a problem. Pre-existing conditions include chronic illnesses like lung disease, kidney failure, or diabetes that an expat plan won’t cover.

Is your visa not listed here?

We know how complicated visas can be because most of us have also had to get them for Germany. Depending on the country you’re from, if you’re applying to a German National Visa or a Schengen Visa, things can change drastically. This guide is meant as an introduction to visas and health insurance requirements.

If the visa type you’re applying for isn’t listed in this article and you’re wondering if expat health insurance would fulfill the requirements, feel free to send an email to, and we’ll add it to the article for others to see as well!