If you are planning to study at a German university, you may have to prove you know the German language at the required level. There are a few types of German language ability certificates, which the universities in Germany recognize. Three main of them are as follows:
- Test of German as a Foreign Language (TestDaF)
- Goethe Institute German Language Diploma (GDS)
- German Language Diploma of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, Level II (DSD)
If you do not have a Language Certificate, universities often require you to undergo a course in order to get one in Germany. The course may last up to three months, or even more.
Do I Need to Apply for a German Language Course Visa?
Your nationality determines whether you need a Germany Language Course Visa. You will be exempt from the requirement of possessing a visa to attend a language course in Germany, if:
- You are a citizen of the European Union member states, the European Economic Area and the European Free Trade Association
- You are a citizen of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the United States
Nationals of the rest of the world countries will need to apply for a visa in order to attend a language course in Germany.
Germany Language Course Visa Requirements
When you apply for the visa, you will need to submit some documents to prove that you are eligible for it. The required documents for a Germany Long Stay Language Course Visa are as follows:
- Two Germany national visa application forms. The forms should be fully completed and filled with genuine information about yourself.
- Your valid passport. It should be valid for at least 6 months before your intended date of return to your home country.
- Two identical Germany visa photographs.
- Proof of Accommodation in Germany. This could be:
- A hotel booking.
- Rental agreement.
- Letter of invitation from the host in Germany.
- Proof of ownership of an apartment or house in Germany.
- Copies of previously held visas.
- Confirmation letter of language course registration, or, certificate of enrollment. The course must contain at least 18 hours/week of classes for a duration of at least 3 months.
- Letter of motivation – in which the applicant shows the reason why he or she wishes to attend a German language course.
- Proof of purchased student health insurance policy that covers the entire stay in Germany.
- Proof of paid visa fee.
- Blocked bank account to prove financial sufficiency.
*Note: Each original has to be offered with two photocopies
Depending on the embassy, you may also need to provide proof that you do not have any criminal record. You shall obtain the document at the relevant authorities in your country of residence (i.e. police station). The visa officer may require extra documents upon the visa interview.
Language Course Visa types
You can apply for one of the two types of Language Course Visas according to the reason why you wish to attend the course:
- Language Learning Visa – if you are intending to learn German and then return to your home country.
- Residency for Study Preparation – if intend to learn German in order to attend studies at a German University or Higher Education Institute.
Upon finishing the course, if you wish to apply to a German university, you need to return to your country. Then you can apply for a Germany Student Applicant or a Germany Student Visa from your country of residence.
If you have already been admitted to a university, but the completion of a language course is a condition, you only need to apply for a student visa. The student visa will also enable you to attend a course prior to getting enrolled at the university.
Germany Language Course Visa Application Process
When applying for a Germany visa under the purpose of attending a language course in Germany, you will need to complete a specific process. The Germany visa application process consists of the following steps:
- Fill out the application form for a German national visa.
- Ensure you have all the required documents.
- Schedule an appointment.
- Attend the interview.
- Pay the visa fee.
Fill out the application form for a German national visa
Answer the questions honestly and be careful not to make any technical mistake. Make sure the information given in this form complies with that in the rest of the required documents. Find the application form here.
Ensure you have all the required documents
Some embassies/consulates may ask you to prove that you already have a little knowledge of German. You may also be requested to pay your language course fees in advance. If a visa is granted, you will have to attend classes regularly. Please note that you have to sign up for at least 18-25 hours per week.
Schedule an appointment
Schedule an appointment for a visa interview at the German embassy or consulate in your country as soon as possible. If you do not book an appointment before you go to the application center, they will not accept the application. All visa applications are accepted only if you have made prior to the appointment.
Attend the interview
Go to the visa application center for the interview and submit your visa application. Do not be late! Prepare yourself prior to it in order to avoid stress and unpleasant situations during the interview.
Pay the visa fee
After you pay the visa fee, you will be issued a receipt. Keep it since you will need it as proof when you collect your visa.
Please apply on time for your visa for your German language course. Depending on the time you apply, the processing of your visa might take up to three months.
If your visa application is rejected, most of the courses will send back the fees you paid. Just take care to send back to the course the documents they require. This includes the original letter confirming the course registration, the original letter of visa refusal and your bank details. However, the registration fee is not reimbursable.
Can I Work in Germany With a Language Course Visa?
Note that under no circumstances, you will be allowed to work in Germany under a Language Course Visa. However, if you hold a Student Visa, but you are attending a course as a preparation for university, then you can work for a limited number of hours. The student visa gives you the ‘student’ status even if you are attending a language course, which makes working legal.
Please note that a Language Course Visa will permit you to travel throughout the whole Schengen territory, as Germany is a member state.
What Should I Do if the Course Lasts Less than Three Months?
If the course lasts less than three months, then you may have to apply for a short-stay visa to Germany. On the other hand, if the course is set to last more than that, then you will probably need to apply for a Germany Long-Stay Language Course Visa.
After You Arrive in Germany With a Language Course Visa
When you arrive in Germany, you have two more tasks left to complete. First, register your address at the registration office nearest to your place in Germany.
Second, apply for a German Study residence permit at the Immigration Authorities in the city you settled. Note that you will have to make a prior appointment, pay the fees, attend an interview, and submit some documents to get a residence permit.