As from 1 November the Federal Foreign Office is phasing in cash-free payment at the around 200 German missions abroad. For both Germans and non-Germans needing consular services such as a new passport or a visa to enter Germany this will bring real practical benefits.
In this connection Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today (5 November) issued the following statement:
“Germany’s prosperity depends on its links with the wider world. Two thirds of German jobs are in the export sector. It is in our own best interest to offer people the most convenient and customer-friendly way of making the necessary arrangements prior to travel.”
Cash-free payment will be phased in gradually. Initially German nationals living outside Germany will be able to pay fees for new passports by credit card – every year German consulates issue some 250,000 new passports. The pilot phase for this has now begun. On 5 November cash-free payment of passport fees is possible in Milan, Stockholm, Oslo, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Berne, Tel Aviv, Budapest and Paris. More cities join the scheme every day. At the consulate in Boston, where cash-free payment has been piloted since 22 June 2010, 80% of passport fees are now paid by credit card.
The next phase – cash-free payment of consular services such as attestation and legalization –will start in January 2011. This is currently being piloted in selected German missions abroad.
In a third phase due to start in early 2011, visa applicants will be able to make cash-free payments at the missions’ 180 visa sections around the world.