Fees are charged and expenses reclaimed for consular services provided by the German missions and honorary consular officers outside of Germany (attestations, authentications, assistance for Germans abroad, etc.). Until 30 September, these were based on the Law on Fees and Expenses Charged Abroad (Auslandskostengesetz – AKostG) and the related Ordinance. Fees for visa and passport matters have their own separate statutory Basis.
A new statutory basis for the fees charged by the Federal Foreign Office and its missions will apply from 1 October 2021. The Law and the Ordinance on Fees and Expenses Charged Abroad will cease to have effect. As of 1 October, the new statutory basis for the collection of fees is the Act on Fees and Expenses for Federal Services (Bundesgebührengesetz – BGebG) and the General Fee Ordinance (Allgemeine Gebührenverordnung -–AGebV), plus, for the Federal Foreign Office, a Special Fee Ordinance (Besondere Gebührenverordnung – AABGebV).
The law regarding fees charged abroad and the provisions on determining the value of services – with the exception of visa and passport/ID card matters – are thus undergoing a fundamental change and the rates charged are being overhauled. The rates valid from 1 October 2021 are to be found in the Index of Fees and Expenses in the AAGebV (Annex 1). This is the new price list for consular services.
Many missions require the fees to be paid in local currency, not in euro. Details can be found on the missions’ Websites.
How were the new fees set?
The Act on Fees and Expenses for Federal Services totally overhauls the law on fees for Federal Government services, simplifying it, modernising it and standardising it. The prime goals were to make fees more transparent and to cover costs more reliably. The fees applicable from 1 October 2021 are intended to cover all costs incurred in connection with administrative services that are individually allocable to the person taking advantage of those services. A computer program will be used to ensure that the rules are applied efficiently and without error by the consular officers at the missions abroad. Notices of the fees assessed for each administrative service will be generated by the software.
In order to implement the new law in its area of responsibility, the Federal Foreign Office collaborated with the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) to determine the level of fees required to cover costs for the individually allocable public services it provides. From now on, in addition to fixed fees that apply worldwide, two other kinds of fees will also be charged by the Federal Foreign Office. These are, firstly, fixed fees that vary by region to reflect differences in staffing and property costs, and, secondly, time-based fees for official acts that are performed only rarely and/or require vastly disparate amounts of time, and for which fees are accordingly based on the time actually required. Other kinds of fees applied to date (additional fees, fees per line, fees per page and value-based fees) will no longer be charged.