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How to Get a German Student Visa

How to Get a German Student Visa main image

If you have gained admission to study at a university in Germany, you will need to find out whether you need to apply for a German student visa. Many students do not need a student visa to study in Germany, but just need a residence permit. If you do need a visa, be sure to apply as early as possible, as the process may take a few months.

Do you need a German student visa?

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Applicants within the European Union (including Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein):

If you are applying to study in Germany from within the EU (including Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein) you do not need to obtain a German student visa before entering the country.

Applicants from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, South Korea:

If you are from any of these countries you do not need a visa to study in Germany. However, you will need to register at the local Residents’ Registration Office and the Aliens’ Registration Office (Ausländeramt) to obtain a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) within two weeks of arrival in the country.

Applicants from Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco, San Marino or Taiwan:

If you are from any of these countries, you will only need a German student visa if you plan to work before or after your degree. In this case you should apply for the visa in your home country via your local German embassy or consulate. Both visa holders and non-visa holders will also need to apply for a residence permit within two weeks of entry. Students from Taiwan must have a passport which includes an identity card number.

Applicants from the rest of the world:

If you are from any other country not listed above, you will require a student visa for Germany. You should apply for this via the local German embassy or consulate in your home country. The typical fee for a visa is €60 (~US$65).

How to apply for a student visa for Germany

If you need a student visa for Germany, you should apply as soon as possible, and at least three months before your move to the country. To do this you’ll need to contact the local German embassy or consulate in your home country. 

The documents you typically need are:

  • Completed application form
  • Valid passport
  • Two photographs
  • Letter showing you’ve been accepted by a German university
  • Transcript of academic record
  • Certificate of German language proficiency or proof that you intend on attending a language course in Germany (if studying in German)
  • Proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while living in Germany (€8,700 per year, which is roughly ~US$9,390)
  • Certificate showing you’ve purchased health insurance
  • Declaration of authenticity of documents submitted

Dependent on the embassy, you may also need to show proof that you don’t have a criminal record. One of the ways in which you can prove you have sufficient funds to study in Germany is by depositing a security payment into a blocked account – this means you cannot withdraw the money until after you arrive in Germany. 

If you are planning to study in Germany for more than 90 days you should apply for a National Visa for the purpose of study rather than a Schengen Visa, which will only allow you to stay in Germany for three months.

As well as your student visa, you will also need to apply for a residence permit on arrival.

How to apply for a residence permit

Once in the country, you will have to register with the local Alien Registration Office (Bürgeramt orEinwohnermeldeamt) within two weeks of arrival. Here you must apply for a residence permit for study purposes. The documents you’ll need are similar to those needed for the visa:

  • Proof of valid private or public health insurance
  • Certificate of enrolment from your university
  • Proof of sufficient finances 
  • Valid passport
  • Current visa, if you have one
  • Certificate of health (if applicable)
  • Your tenancy agreement (if applicable)
  • Biometric passport photos (if applicable)
  • Residence permit fee (check the current rate beforehand to make sure you bring enough money)

Although you will already have been asked for proof of language proficiency as part of your university application, you may need to provide this information again in order to gain your residence permit. For courses taught in German, international students need to provide a TestDaf or DSH score, or, for English-taught courses, you’ll need to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score.

This residence permit is valid for two years, and, if needed, should be renewed before it expires. Residence permits initially cost €110 (~US$120) and then the fee is €80 (~US$87) for each extension.

EU students

Students from the EU/EEA (as well as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein) do not need a residence permit, but must register with the local Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt (registration authority) within a week of their arrival. You’ll need your registration document from your university for this. EU students also need to prove they have enough money (€8,000 per year), statutory health insurance if under 30, and proficiency in their course’s language of instruction. Certain countries have bilateral agreements with Germany, which mean insurance policies in the student’s home country will be applicable in Germany.

Have you considered a student applicant visa? Working in Germany

If you have not yet been accepted to study at a German university, you may consider applying for a student applicant visa. This allows you to stay in Germany for three months in order to look for a university program on German soil. If you have not enrolled in this time, you may ask for your visa to be extended to six months, but whether or not this is granted is at the discretion of the visa authorities. After enrollment, your student applicant visa can be converted into a national visa. To apply for this type of visa, you’ll need to provide proof of your application to a German university.

Working in Germany with a student visa 

It is legal to work in Germany with a student visa, but students are restricted to the number of days they can work. This is 120 full days each year or 240 half days. (If you take a job as a student assistant or research assistant at your university, it’s usually no problem to exceed the 120-day limit. However, you must inform the Alien Registration Office if you do.) Students from the EU can work for up to 20 hours per week without the need for a work permit.

If you want to stay in Germany to seek work after your degree, international students with a residence permit can extend it to stay in Germany and seek work for up to 18 months after graduating, as long as the job is related to their field of study. Graduates from EU/EEA countries can stay on to seek work without any restrictions or permits. After two years of employment in Germany, it’s possible to apply for permanent residency status. It’s definitely beneficial to be proficient in the German language when seeking work in Germany, but not always essential.

This article was originally published in July 2014. It was updated in February 2016.

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Laura Tucker's profile image
Written by Laura Tucker
Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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67 Comments

hi everyone any one can help me i want to study MS it/cs form any Germany university
i have pass bscs with 3.5 cgpa i want to get scholarship and want o do there also

hello,
i'm sandeep singh from INDIA i have done BTECH mechanical . HIGHER study i want do in germany please suggest me how i can apply study visa for germany .sometimes i feel very nervous because in INDIA all are fake .please anyone can help me then plz message
thankyou
SANDEEP SINGH

i want to study i germany in Geology and Earth sciences MS program.kindly guide me and tell me the universities where education in free

Hi Laura,

I study International Business at the University of Birmingham, I have lived in this country for almost 9 years and have obtained permanent residence card but I still have Turkish passport. As a part of my course Im doing a Erasmus and have been accepted into Goethe University. Now to my question I already have schengen visa which will expire in the middle of october so should i apply for a German Student Visa in UK or just register with the Alien office in Frankfurt ?

Yours sincerely and many thanks in advance.
Omer Demirturk

Hi Laura,
I have applied for a masters program which will start in oct'17 and end in feb'19 ...as per the visa checklist my passport should be valid till atleast 12 months from my scheduled date of return which comed out to be feb'20 but my passport is valid till nov'19 and i'm falling short by 3 months..would this be a problem .. I cannot renew my passport right now as it needs to be within one year of expiry to be considered for renewal

I will suggest you to renew your passport. You can apply under tatkal scheme (if in India) and get ur passport within few days. Moreover, find something in your passport to change e.g. even minor changes in address are possible which will get you a new passport. It will be a good option as even though you get visa, you have to come back and reapply for passport and visa from India after ur visa has expired. Good luck!!

Hello Laura, am Danilia from Cameroon. A science student and having my O/L & A/L certificates.would like to study medicine in Germany. I have an A2 German language attestation and pursuing B1 now.. Though studying the language, i will want to study in an English university in Germany but i dont seem to find any, from my research. Can you please help me out on this?.. Thanks

Hi Laura, this is Aniket from India.
I have acquired Bachelor degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from an Indian University in 2014. After that I have worked in an IT services company for 2 years and in the Analytics department of a top tier European Bank for 1 year.
Given the excellent quality of education in Germany combined with very low tuition fees, I would like to join a Masters degree course in Data Analytics/ Data Science from one of the best German Universities in English.
Please suggest which universities offer such courses and also the total cost for the whole duration of study (including course fees, living expenses, etc.).
Thanks for your response.
Aniket Banerjee

You should search at daad.de where you can get information about the courses and fee. In most of the states in Germany there is no tution fee. However, some of them have recently imposed fee on international students. Check the respective university website.

Hello, I am from India and my doubt is a bit lengthy so my apologies for that but it is really very important for me so i kindly request you to help me out on this. I have been studying in IUBH, Germnay and i finished my 1st sem in Feb2017 and i came to India for my vacations. I was supposed to travel back to Germnay for my 2nd sem in March but unfortunately i met with an accident and both my thigh bones are severely fractured and i am not allowed to walk for 4 to 5 months. So i informed my university about it by providing them with all my medical reports and all the other necessary documents and i got a semester gap from the university. But now the problem is about my Visa. I have got the Visa until August 31st 2017. And i think i will be able to travel back to Germany only by August. So i just wanted to know if i can extend my Visa from here in India(Bangalore) or should i travel back to Germany to get it done. And i also heard that i Should travel back to Germany within 6 months after i left to India. Is it true? I left Germany to India for my vacations on 13th Feb 2017. Awaiting your reply. Thank you soo much in advance.

Rajath Savanth

Hi, Please reply urgent. I have an Indian passport valid for two years (expires may 2019) . and my course is for two years (ends apr 2019) will I have any problem to obtain student visa?? plss reply

Hi Siddu, I think you will need to have a passport that is valid for at least a year after you're scheduled to return to India - you can check this and the other requirements via your local German embassy

Hello i am from Pakistan completed my Master in Information Technology from University of Central Punjab.I want to do masters in Information Technology from GERMANY.
CGPA: 2.42
please give universities with low fees or scholarship.

Hi Muhammad, although I can't recommend any particular universities, here's a link to our list of scholarships to study in Germany. You can find out more about studying a masters in Germany here. :)

Hello Laura,
Quick question! I have been admitted to a university having tuition fees of 24000 EUR. So, should I produce a proof of having this total amount from either bank loan or bank balance? Or its just enough to show 8700 EUR in blocked account for getting a VISA?

Hi Sachin, I've replied to your comment here. :)

Hi Everyone,
I wonder if it's mandatory to have 8000 Euros every year to extend the student visa? In Daad.de it's just written that proof of financial resources is needed for the vis.

Thankyou Mrs Tucker for the information. I have a question about the category of student visa. I have an entrance exam in germany and it depends if I pass then I will get a place there. So I suppose Student Applicant Visa. Now I am not sure which category to choose while booking an appointment with the german embassy . Please help me apply for the correct visa.

Hi all,
could you please recommend me how to apply to study by free in Germany ! I would like to study in Germany but it is too expensive for me as I want to have master degree! plus to work in order to have the opportunity to have my daily expenses! please recommend

Hi Mohammed, I'd recommend looking for a scholarship. Fully funded places can be hard to come by, but there are some available - we've listed a selection here. You can look for part-time work whilst studying in Germany but it's not recommended to rely on this in order to fund living costs. To find out more, please download our complete guide on how to study abroad in Germany. Hope this helps!

Hi Laura,
I have completed b.tech in english from india but now i want to do ms in mechatronics from germany in german language. For which i want to learn german language from germany atleadt for one year. Is it possible to get admission in university or college leads to MS.

Please reply as soon as possible.

Thanks.

Hi Gurpreet, if you'd like to attend a preparatory language course in Germany before starting your masters degree, you can find information on these here. 

Hello,
My name is Godfrey Jeremiah from Nigeria. I have read through this site about Germany and I have a keen interest to live, study and work in Germany. I am fascinated about Germany's system to enhance the opportunities in the education system (free tuition). I have a degree in Physics (BSc) in Nigeria but I wish to study Computer Science & Information system in Germany (free) or Aviation (Aircraft Maintenance Engineering) undergraduate level. Where do I start from, so to say, I am looking at the Munich Universities (Technische Universität München) - Please can I have a summary on how start the application process for this university?
And then, about the living expenses, please if I can get to work there so I can pay the bills (the living expenses) since the tuition fee is free.
Thank you!
looking forward to your reply.

Hi Godfrey. Our guide to studying abroad in Germany should help you get started. Best wishes!

Dear Laura..
I am Kasun Silva from Sri Lanka.I would like to have some information from you.I already graduated in my Hotel Management Degree from my home country and I successfully passed my Advance Level exam (Abitur)which is according to the requirements of Germany.I already completed A2 in German Language at Goethe Institute and I already have 03 years work experience in Sri Lanka and Duabi with my Hotel Mangement.

I have my friend in Germany and last year I visited them.Dear Sabrina on January 18th I applied for the student visa to Germany.First I will finish till Testdaf In a Perfectdeutsch Institute in Dortmund.I already submitted all the admission letters and my sponsor letter and insurance and all the things to Embassy.Beacuse my friend sponsored me for two years and I will stay at their place in my whole stay.

When my friend went to get the sponsor letter from Ausländerbehörde in Dortmund they told that for the visa process it will take much time because of the refugee problem.Now from the embassy they did their part and now they are waiting for the approval from the Ausländerbehörde.So what I am considering is I was planed to apply for the university in winter semester but because of their delay I wont able to do that.So now I want apply for summer semester.Mostyl then I will finish my testdaf around November.

So what I want to know from you will I bale to extend my visa till next Year march.(Roughly) because I only will able to apply for the summer semester on January.

Please give me some advises for the process of visa extension for my case and are there good universities to do my my Bachelor in Hospitality Management in German Language..I would be much obliged if you help me with this matter.

Thank you in Advance

Dear kasun. Please provide me what is "Abirur" advanced level exam and how to do it? And also about the Goethe institute in colombo

hi, Sabrina. can you pls help me ? Im from Iran but living in Kuwait, i invented a device and still 6 devices i want to make but Ive heard that Germany can help me with inventing and i want to get my bachelor of pharmacy in Munich, Germany . pls tell me how can i get the support for my inventing and studies
waiting for ur reply
thanks in Advance

Hi Maryam, you can study a bachelor degree for free at a public university in Germany, but if you need any financial support to help with living costs, you could apply for a scholarship - please take a look at our list of scholarships to study in Germany. Hope this helps!

Hi my name is Emmanuel I realised there is no scholarship for Ghanian students to read MBBS in Germany, so if I want to study mbbs in one of the private universities how much do I need to carry along since the duration is over four years and can it be taught in Engish as well?

Hello. My name is Sara and I am from Iran. I am an English teacher and I really like to study animation in one of the public universities in Germany.
I searched a little about some ones where they were somehow closed to my life and finances conditions.
I would be really happy if you could help and guide me to choose the university and applying there.
Thanks in advance.

Hi Laura,
Thanks for the informative article.
If you could help me with a technical visa related query, I will be extremely grateful.
The problem is a Mathematics Professor at University of Bremen wants to hire me as a PhD student. But in Germany they require you to have a Masters with Thesis before starting your PhD. I have a Masters degree (but without Thesis).

Therefore they can not hire me directly as a PhD student. So they are hiring me first as a 'technical employee' and once I write my Master's thesis I'll be rehired as a PhD student.
I have three questions to ask:
1. Given that I'll be hired as a technical employee and not as a PhD student, does it mean that I will have to apply for employee visa and not a student visa? Or does it mean that I will anyway be employed with the University (only not as a PhD student) so I will still have to go ahead with student visa?
2. The only documents I've got from them so far are:
a.> My employment contract &
b.> A confirmation letter from the personnel department.
Does the confirmation email from the personnel department work as 'letter of admission'?

3.> My joining date is December 1. The earliest I can apply for Visa is 15th of this month which leaves me with at most 2 1/2 months before the joining date. Would this be enough?

Regards,
Abhijeet

Hi Abhijeet, I would advise you to get in touch with the international office at the University of Bremen as I'm sure they will be able to guide you on which Visa you need and what documents are required. 

My name is Hanifa Said Vuai , I am 20 years old , I have graduated my study at Muembeladu Secondary school in Ordinary Level in Zanzibar. please help my pleasure to get your support on how to get bachelor degree opportunity in the field of Environmental Health in particular which provide in you county.. me how i apply in this scholarship because I am very interesting to continue education through her get in this scholarship program for faculty of engineering , I am sure when I get this post , I will work hard to so succeed bachelor degree , also I will ensure my family as well as the whole society , I want to be good Designer and make good Master Planning in the Country

So will get me this Scholarship, it help me and I make me promise that I will study hardy in order to achieve my goal
Thanks for all support and directions

Hello, My Name is Mitul Bhavsar and I'm from India. I've completed my Bachelor in ELECTRICAL Engineering. And I'm interested to complete my Masters from one of the Best University in Germany. Also I would really like to know about the Scholarships provided for MASTERS i.e MASTERS without Fees, So please Help me with it. So Its my Humble request to inform me the necessary information regarding my above mentioned question.

Waiting for your reply.
Thanking in Advance.

Hi Mitul, if you're interested in studying Electrical Engineering at Master's level, here is a link the rankings by subject - narrowed down by country so that you can see how German universities compare. In terms of scholarships, there are three different scholarship listings articles that might be of interest to you. We have an article on scholarships to study in Germany, scholarships to study Engineering and scholarships for Indian students. Hope this helps!

Hi i just want to know if they are accepting international student from Philippines.

Yes German Universities are accepting international student from Philippines,you just have to choose between public university and private university.if you are going to choose public university they offer free tuition but it doesn't mean that you are not going to pay anything plus the fact that you must a decent level of German language fluency.If you choose a private university then of course you have to pay tuition fees but TF from German university is less expnsive than other universities abroad plus some of Private University in Germany their medium of instruction is in English plus they offer free german classes.

Hi. So brazilians who plan to stay for a bachelors degree in Germany will need a student visa ?

I belong from Pakistan, and after completing my A levels I'm looking forward to pursue study in Germany, though I want you to prefer me a field either (Medical or Engineering) in which there is no need of studying German language, As I'm not really fluent in German.And in which fields in Germany apparently have high scope?
Best Regard,
Kinza Fatima

Hi Kinza, we have a guide to studying in Germany in English which should help. Our Frequently Asked Questions about studying in Germany should also be useful. Best of luck!

Hi laura, I have got admission in Hochschule Kempten. And i have required financial amount available as well. But my embassy says I need a german blocked account for financial purposes. I have no idea what that is. Can you guide me in that regard? Thanks

Hi Muhammad. This means you need to open an account with a German bank which is "blocked". That means you will not be allowed to withdraw any money from the account until you enter Germany, and then you'll only be able to withdraw a set amount per month. The idea is to guarantee that you have sufficient funds to cover your time in the country. You should be able to open a blocked account with a German bank online, and the bank will advise on what documents and details you need to provide. If unsure how much money you need to transfer to the account, check with your embassy. Hope this helps!

Thanks a lot Laura, I have also browsed website of Deutsche Bank and I have better idea of whole procedure now. I hope this process goes smoothly.

Great. Best of luck!

Hi laura,pls tell me where i can study nursing in public university in english language..pls help thank u..

Hi Mirasol. While there are some English-taught programs available at German universities, the majority are taught in German. So I'm afraid there may not currently be an English-taught course in your field of interest. For more details visit our guide to studying in Germany in English.

Hi Laura,,,
I am mirasol from philippines,i need an advice,i want to study nursing in germany but i dont know to where should i apply if its in hospital or in public university..if i graduated after 3 years do u think i can use this just in case i want to move in canada?because i heard in germany their is no such thing as examination board to become certified nurse,.Pls tell me maybe there is public university in english language where i can take up the nursing course...thank u so much god bless..

Hi dear Laura.I'm mohammad and I'm from Iran.I got BS degree in ICT(Information Communication Technology) From Tehran ICT Faculty but I wanna study theater education in MA in Germany.Do think it's possible for me too get apply in those majors with my BS?

i'm Waqas Anjum from Pakistan. doing BS(Hons) Food Science & Technology from GC University Faisalabad. i want to do free M.Phil in German. i don't know the admission procedure. please tell me. i like to study in German language.

Hi Waqas, we have an International Student Guide to Masters in Germany which will hopefully be helpful but you can also take a look at our Study in Germany FAQ for general admissions guidance. To find the top universities in Germany, see our state-by-state guide and our 2015 subject rankings. Laura :)