While for up to a three month internship there is a Short Stay Visa one must obtain, the immigration authorities in Germany have established the so called Long Term Internship / Training Visa, which is part of the National Visa, also known as D Visa, for those who wish to do an internship or a training longer than three months.
Aside of the prospective universities in Germany, students and newly graduates around the globe, also have the chance to do an internship in their field study / interest, at the many institutions and companies in the Federal Republic of Germany, where they can benefit professionally and have the chance to work alongside specialists of the fields they have studied about.
If you are planning to do an internship in Germany, you have to know that depending on your nationality and personal situation, there are different regulations and processes. For many the process is really simple but for non-EU citizens it can get a bit more complicated, especially if the candidate belongs to a third-world country.
If you are a national of one of the European Union member states, the European Economic Area, or the European Free Trade Area, then you do not need any type of visa in order to be able to do an internship in any of the cities of Germany. You can also move to Germany first, and then start looking around for an internship.
Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America too, do not need to apply for any visas, in order to enter Germany and do an internship. However, they must apply for a residence permit upon their arrival in Berlin, directly at the Immigration Office. They can either find the internship while in their country or after settling in Germany.
On the other hand, internationals not included in the categories mentioned above, must obtain a visa in order to be able to enter Germany and do an internship. Internships in Germany cannot last more than 12 months and can only be extended in exceptional cases.
Usually the candidate is required to find an internship prior to their visa application, and the internship must be in her / his area of studies, in order to be able to get this type of visa.
Who Can Get an Internship in Germany?
Everyone interested can get to do an internship in Germany. Even if your German is very basic, or you know no word in German at all, you can still manage to get an internship. It all depends on the company that wants to hire you as an intern. You can check online for internship vacancies or contact the company or institution you would like to do an internship at through email, and ask them if they are taking interns in.
Often companies do not pay interns, so if you think that the costs of living in Germany will be unbearable for you, try finding an internship that is paid and can at least cover your most basic needs.
The Immigration Authorities ask for the following documentation in order to issue an Internship Long-Stay Visa:
- Application form, fully completed and signed – Fill the application form honestly with detailed and accurate information about yourself and the purpose of your travel.
- Two recent photographs according to biometric specification of size 35mm x 45mm, lengthwise size of the face 32-36mm; with white background and contrast-color clothing.
- Your passport – which must be valid for at least six months longer than the intended stay, and have at least two available pages for a visa sticker.
- A photocopy of the passport details. In case of any ‘observation’ in the passport, a photocopy of that page too.
- Proof of study: Student’s ID card (if applicable)
- Evidence of sufficient finances to cover your financial needs for the entire period of Internship. That can either be a bank statement that shows you have enough money for the period you will be staying in Germany, 8000 euro per year is considered enough for one person. It can also be a letter signed by your parents that they will be funding your stay, or if you are coming through a scholarship program that can also be a confirmation letter of the scholarship. If the company where you will be doing your internship has decided to pay you, then a letter of confirmation and the contract would be a huge plus for you in this aspect.
- Accommodation – you must show proof that you have your accomodation organized during your whole stay. If you have rented a room or apartment, then you should submit the rental contract. If you plan to rent one upon your arrival in Germany then you should show you have the necessary financial means to do so. If you will be staying over friends or family, then they must confirm and prove that they have enough room for you.
- Health Insurance – confirmation letter from your health insurance stating coverage for emergency medical or hospitalization with a minimum of 30,000 Euros.
- Permission to work, received from ‘Bundesagentur für Arbeit’ (original and photocopy) – it is upon your employer to apply on your behalf for approval of the BA. Some internships do not require the agreement of the BA. These include internships under EU-funded programmes (Leonardo, Socrates, Erasmus, etc.). Internships funded by international intergovernmental organizations are also exempt from approval.
- A letter from the university institution you are studying at (if applicable), confirming that the applicant is a student of that organization (original and photocopy).
- Approval letter from German company confirming conditions of your stay in Germany, including payment.
- Proof of qualification (diploma, academic degree, or mark sheets).
- Proof of civil status: Marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse
- A flight ticket, rail ticket or other depending on the means of travel you will be using to arrive in Germany (original & photocopy).
- Required Visa fees which cost 60 Euros as of 2008.
*Note that each original document has to be offered with 2 (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 authorities in your country of residence.
Please keep in mind that your passport will remain at the Embassy / Consulate where you have applied during the entire process of visa proceeding. If you need to withdraw your passport for any reason, whether it be traveling or else, you will have to apply again from the beginning.
Extra documents may be required by the visa officer upon the visa interview. Take care to submit them all.
How to Apply for a Student Internship Visa?
The application procedure is very similar to the other application procedures for other types of visas. First of all find a list of all the required documents. Gather the required documents and photocopy each original twice.
Complete the application form online, print it twice and sign it at the end.
Appoint an interview through the website of the German mission in your country of residence. The appointment might take up to three months, therefore, take care to make the appointment as soon as possible in order to avoid any possible delay.
Show up at the appointment center on time (embassy of consulate). Remember that if you are late even for a few minutes, then they will cancel your appointment. Make sure you have all the necessary documentation with you and well organized. In general the submission process takes around 10 minutes to complete. Please make sure that: The official person at the application center will check and verify your documents.
After the verification of your application, all the application form information will be entered into the online system of the German consulate and you will receive a printed copy of your application, which process usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes. After you get the printed form, please make sure to verify all the details are correct and sign the form.
After you pay the visa fee, you will be issued a receipt which you have to keep in order to collect your processed application.
Can I Extend my Internship Visa?
If the company where you are working as an intern wants you to continue your internship for a longer period than planned, but your visa does not cover that amount of time, then appoint a meeting at the Foreigner’s Office in the city you are staying in Germany. Take all the documentations you have, and also a letter from your company that they wish to extend your internship for another couple of weeks/months and see what you can do on the day of your appointment.
Can I Extend the Internship Visa to a Working Visa?
Only in exceptional cases as, for example, when the company where you are doing your internship wants to hire you as an employee. However, after the end of your internship, you can get back to your country and apply for a working visa or a job seeking visa.
Can I Bring Family Over?
No, an intern in Germany cannot bring their family over through the Family Reunion Visa, but that does not mean that the family members cannot come through any other type of visa.