Visa Requirements for International Students to Study in Germany

For many foreign students from outside Europe, a visa is their permission to get into Germany. Depending on where you're from,  it is one of the essentials if you want to study here.

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You will generally need a visa, which you must apply for before coming to Germany. You can apply for the visa at the German diplomatic mission in your home country. There are exceptions for specific countries, depending on the duration and purpose of your stay.

Germany is constantly rising in popularity among international students, especially since the country abolished tuition fees for higher education. Also, language barriers are coming down, as over 1,300 Masters in Germany are taught in English, specifically designed for international students.

Do You Need a Visa To Study In Germany?

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$70).

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What Type of Visa Do I Need to Study in Germany?

  • For studies that last up to 3 months, you need a Short-term/Schengen visa (C Visa).
  • For studies that last more than 3 months, you need a German national visa.

In addition, depending on the circumstances of your study program, you should keep in mind that there are three types of German Student Visa:

  • Language Course Visa. German Language Courses lasting from 3 months to 1 year.
  • Student Applicant Visa. If you still haven’t gotten a formal admission letter from the university you applied to or you need to enter entrance examinations offered by the university. It is valid for 3 months with the possibility of extending to 6 months.
  • Student Visa. This is a long-term visa if you have been accepted to a German university. Keep in mind to register with the Alien Registration Office in the German city you’re residing within two weeks of your arrival so you can obtain your Residence Permit.

Germany Student Residence Permit.

How long is a Residence Permit valid for?

This type of residence permit, usually valid for two years, is issued to those who come to Germany to study. It allows you to work up to 120 days (or 240 half days per year). After they finish their degree, students are allowed to extend their temporary permit for another 18 months, with the reason for finding a job in Germany.

What documents do I need for my visa application?

Whether you apply for a Student Visa or Student Applicant visa, it is important you present the right documents to the German embassy or consulate.

In order to start your German visa application form, you need to have:

  • Certificate of health insurance that covers the first 3 months in Germany.
  • Valid passport
  • Two recently taken biometric portrait photographs
  • Proof of financial resources.
  • Letter of admission from a German institution
  • Certificates of past academic work and achievements
  • Proof of language skills certificate or proof that you plan to attend a language course in Germany before starting your studies (in English or German).
  • Certificates of past academic achievements, e.g. Bachelor’s degree, secondary school degree.
  • Proof you have paid the visa application fee, which currently is 75 € for a Student Visa and Student Applicant Visa.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Motivational letter. You’ll have to express the reason for choosing the specific university, study program. Mention also your study and future plans and how these studies will be improving your career and life.
  • Marriage certificate. (Send this if you’re married). Support that with a birth certificate of any child (If related).

How does the proof of financial resources work?

One requirement for your visa is to prove that you have access to enough money to support your stay in Germany. You do this by delivering proof of financial resources (Finanzierungsnachweis). There are multiple ways to deliver this proof.

  • €10,332 deposit confirmation at a German blocked bank account.
  • Letter of commitment and evidence of your parent’s income records and financial assets.
  • Letter of commitment by a German resident “Verpflichtungserklärung”. This letter is taken at the Alien’s Registration Office, by the German resident whose going to cover your costs during your studies.
  • Scholarship awarding certificate. It must show the number of costs it covers.


It is best to take all of the documents you have, even if they may not be required. If any documents are missing, you have to arrange a new appointment. That takes unnecessarily long!

Where to apply for the Germany Students Visa?

Apply for a visa at the German embassy or consulate in your country. Check the available dates on the website of the German embassy in your home country and schedule an appointment for the visa interview.

# Tips:

  • Apply for a student visa at least three months before your arrival in Germany.
  • You can use Google to search for an embassy or a consulate near you
  • You can submit your application for the faster process at Mostly 70% of the German universities accept the application for admission via Uni-Assist. Do check out!

How to Apply For A German Student Visa?

The German student visa application process can be a confusing process for many international students. The procedures are different from country to country, but you can have a general overview of the main steps you need to go through below.

Here are the steps to apply for a German Student Visa:

  • Set up a Visa Appointment.
  • Have all of the Visa Application Documents ready.
  • Prepare for your Visa Interview
  • Pay the visa application fee (€60.00 – €75.00) and have the payment confirmation with you at the time of your visa interview.

When To Apply For a German Student Visa

The best time to apply for a German student visa is immediately after receiving the university letter of admission and securing the necessary funds to live and study in Germany.

How long does it take to get a student visa to Germany?

On average, it takes up to 25 days for your German student visa application to be processed. The processing time varies depending on the country and the German embassy you apply to.

All other German visa applications for studies are normally processed within 3 months.

What you can and cannot do while having a valid German student visa?

As a holder of a German student visa you can:

  • Apply for an extension of the student residence permit.
  • Get a part-time job. You may work for up to 120 working days/year, even if you’re already working part-time in an academic institution where you are studying.
  • Apply for a residence permit for job-seeking after graduation.

As a holder of a German student visa you cannot:

  • Get a full-time job. You cannot get a job that requires you to engage 240 working days per year. Despite this, you don’t qualify to apply for a work permit while being a student.
  • Abandon study lessons. Failing to participate in study lessons may lead to the cancellation of your eligibility to remain in Germany.

For how long you can stay in Germany with a student visa?

With a German student visa, you’ll be able to remain in Germany for the initial 3 months. Within this period, you’ll be required to apply for a residence permit to study. The maximum period you’ll be receiving through such a residence permit is 2 years. You’ll also be given an opportunity to extend the residence permit, depending on the length of your studies.

Steps to follow after arriving in Germany with a student visa

  • Find permanent accommodation in Germany.
  • Get yourself covered by German health insuranceKrankenversicherung’.
  • Matriculate in studies to get the certificate of enrollment.
  • Open a current bank account from a recognized German bank.
  • Register your living address in Germany at the ‘Einwohnermeldeamt’. Get confirmation of registration ‘Meldebestätigung’.
  • Apply for a residence permit to study at the ‘Ausländerbehörde

How to Get My Student Residence Permit in Germany Once I Arrive?

Getting your Student Residence Permit is an essential step once you arrive in Germany. 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.

  • 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)

Student visa Interview questions categories

Despite that no one can certainly conclude about the exact questions to be asked to the next German student visa applicant, there are common questions that are typically asked.

These questions point out the following matters:

  • The decision on the following studies in Germany
  • Knowledge about Germany
  • Information about future studies in Germany
  • Current academic and skills level
  • Current and future financial status
  • Common information about the study field
  • Accommodation in Germany
  • Relationships with people living in Germany/Europe
  • Holidays and semester-break
  • Plans for the future.

How can I check the status of my application?

You can track your Visa application via the embassy of the country you applied to by contacting them, or going online, either via their website or the website of the outsourced visa application center you have applied to.




Author's Bio: 

German Brain is the best online information portals for ex-pats (foreign Nationals) in Germany. It provides free and empirical guidelines for everything you need to know about, living and working in Germany as a foreigner, and provides reliable information about things, to help you navigate your life in Germany smoothly.