Germany has lured many bright students from around the world to study at one of its prestigious universities in the past decades.
With around 300 educational institutions with more than 15,000 different study programs, the European country attracts a lot of international students every year.
Do I Need a Visa to Study in Germany?
Even though many citizens of the world do not need a visa to study in Germany, some of them might need a Germany study residence permit. Only citizens of the following countries don’t need a visa to study in Germany:
- EEA/EU citizens.
- El Salvador*
- New Zealand.
- San Marino.*
- United States.
- South Korea.
*Need a visa only if they want to work during or after their studies in Germany.
However, they must register at the local Residents’ Registration Office and the Aliens’ Registration Office two weeks of arrival in of Germany.
Nationals of other countries of the world, not mentioned above, must apply for a German Student visa.
Types of Germany Visas That Students Can Apply For
The respective German authorities offer different types of German Student visas depending on the purpose of the study. The types of German Study Visas are the following:
Germany Student Applicant Visa
If you have applied for a course and have a confirmation letter but have not received a formal admission yet, you should apply for a German Student Applicant Visa.
This visa is also for those who need to take acceptance exams for the university they have applied in Germany. The Student Applicant visa is valid for 3 months, with the possibility to extend it for 6 more months. You must apply at the German Consulate or Embassy in your country.
Germany Student Visa
If you have already received your admission letter from the German university you have applied at, then you can apply for a Germany student visa. You cannot obtain a Germany Student Visa for as long as you are not admitted to any university in Germany.
This type of German visa is typically issued for periods longer than 3 months. If you have to stay more, then you must apply to the Alien Registration Office in the German city where the university you are going to study at is located and get the Germany Student Residence Permit.
Proving sufficient financial resources is the most important part of your Student visa application!
To prove this you will need to open a Blocked Bank Account in Germany.
It is required that you have €861 blocked for every month that you stay in Germany.
Failing to show proof of sufficient financial means can result in visa denial! Read more about Germany visa denial reasons here.
When Can I Apply for a German Student Visa?
The German Student Visa application along with the necessary documents should be submitted at least 8 weeks prior to the date traveling to Germany in order to avoid any possible delay.
Where Should I Lodge My Germany Student Visa Application?
You have to apply for a German Student visa at the German Consulate or Embassy in your country. 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.
How to Apply for a Germany Student Visa?
To apply for a German student visa you must go through the following steps:
- Fill out the Germany Student Visa application form.
- Have all the German Study visa required documents.
- Schedule an appointment.
- Go to the visa application center for the interview.
- Pay the German student visa fee.
- Submit biometrics.
- Wait for processing.
Fill out the Germany Student Visa application form
You can find the form here. Fill the application form with detailed and accurate information about yourself and select the appropriate purpose of travel.
Have all the German Study visa required documents
You must submit the following documents to apply for any of the German Study visas:
- Duly completed Germany Student Visa Application form.
- Your valid passport. It should be valid for an additional six months prior to your date of departure from Germany and have at least a blank page.
- Proof of civil status.
- marriage certificate.
- birth certificate.
- birth certificate of children.
- death certificate of spouse.
- ration card if applicable.
- Two photographs. The photos must be of high quality and identical.
- Copies of previous visas, if any.
- Proof of accommodation in Germany. You must show proof that you have a place to stay during your studies in Germany.
- Proof of covered student health insurance for the entire period of stay in Germany.
- When applying for a Language Course Visa: A motivational letter for attending the language course.
- Curriculum Vitae. Attach to your CV evidence about any previous and current internship and employment.
- The minimum amount of financial means of at least €10,332 per year or €861 per month. The following are accepted as proof:
- Personal financial statements for the last three months.
- A scholarship award certificate.
- Written confirmation of parents or sponsor that he/she will cover your costs.
- Fixed deposit statement “Sperrkonto” – Blocked account.
- If applying for Student Applicant Visa:
- Recognized School Leaving Certificates.
- Confirmation of application. This is usually an e-mail from the university, confirming the successful submission of the application for studies.
- A certificate of admission in a preparatory course. In German, this is called “Propaedeutic Courses”, or a registration confirmation letter in a German language course (containing not less than 18 hours of lessons per week).
- A recognized school leaving certificate “Abitur”. Or the equivalent of it.
- Proof of German or English language proficiency (depending which is the language in which lessons are taught).
- Proof of former education. Certificated of former degrees.
- If applying for a Student Visa:
- Acceptance letter from the university. A document, a university admission letter confirming your application for studies and an offered place to study in the program you have applied for
- Certificates of earlier education. Submit all certificates of previous formal and informal education.
- Cover Letter. Explain through it the reason for choosing the university, the program, study plan, and your plans on how these studies will improve your career in the future.
- For programs in German, international students must provide a TestDaf or DSH score. Whereas, for courses in English, students will have to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score.
Schedule an appointment
You should schedule the appointment for a German student visa interview at the German embassy or consulate in your home country. You can have your student visa application processed only by booking an appointment prior to attending the interview.
Go to the visa application center for the interview
Make sure to be on time at the application center since they may not accept your application if you are later than ten minutes. After the verification of your appointment letter, you will be issued a token.
When you go to the visa application center for the interview you should have with you the document file. You should submit your application when you attend the interview so make sure to have everything well in order. The submission may take about 10 minutes.
Pay the German student visa fee
After the authorities verify your application, your information will be entered into the online system of the German consulate. You will receive a printed copy of your application. This 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.
You will have to pay a fee for the Germany student visa which is €75. After paying the fee you will be issued a receipt which you have to keep in order to collect your processed application.
The final step is to provide your fingerprints. This is a quick process that usually takes 7 to 8 minutes. This includes capturing a 10-digit fingerprint scan with a digital finger scanner.
Wait for processing
After going through these steps, the application procedure has now been completed. The Embassy or consulate will then process your application, which may take from 6 to 12 weeks. The consular officers and may also ask for additional documents in the meantime. Make sure to provide anything extra they ask for.
After You Arrive in Germany With a Student Visa
With a Germany student Visa, you can freely travel to the country. After you arrive in Germany, there are steps you need to follow, in order to make your stay in Germany legal.
- Register your address in Germany. You should register your address at the registration office that is closest to your home in Germany. To do so you will need an identification document, your visa, and a rental contract or other proof of your address.
- Apply for a Germany Student Residence Permit. After you register your address, you should apply for your Student Residence Permit in Germany. Note that you have 90 days from the day you enter Germany, to do so. You first need to appoint a meeting at the Immigration Authorities that are nearest to your living location in Germany. There you can also get the application form. On the day of your interview, you will need to submit this form and the required documents.
Can I Work in Germany With a German Study Visa?
Foreign students in Germany are allowed to work with a German study visa while carrying their studies, but the number of hours they can work is restricted.
- Citizens of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland can work freely in Germany for a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time, (including voluntary work).
- Students coming from other countries are also allowed to work, but they cannot exceed more than 120 full days a year or 240 half days. Unused days cannot be carried over to the next year.
- International students with a residence permit, who want to work in Germany after the completion of their studies can extend their permit for up to 18 months, as long as they have found a job in their field of study.
- Graduates from EU/EEA countries can stay and seek work without any restriction or permission. After two years of employment in Germany, it is possible to apply for the permanent residency status in Germany.