Study visa and residence in Germany

If you want to study in Germany, you will have to apply for a study visa if you are a non-EU citizen. The issue of obtaining a study visa is one of the bureaucratic obstacles that you must overcome to start your studies in Germany. To simplify these matters for you, we will try to explain all the steps that you must do to properly apply for a student visa.

When is a visa required for Germany?

Anyone planning to stay in Germany for more than 90 days, for the purpose of studying, needs a visa.

Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus. They are exempt from the obligation to obtain a residence permit after arriving in Germany. All you have to do is register at the responsible population registry office.

Citizens of Australia, Great Britain, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the USA can apply for the required residence permit after entering the country. This also applies to citizens of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino, unless the residency includes the acquisition of a professional activity.

All other people who are nationals of a country not already listed must apply for a visa at the German embassy in their country before entering Germany.

Steps to follow to apply for a German study visa

First Step: Choosing the Right Type of Visa

There are several types of German student visa. First of all, you must know the correct type of visa that you want to apply for at the German embassy in your country. Below we will mention the types of visas for students, but we want to note that for each type of visa that we will mention, there will be necessary documents that must be submitted with the application at the German embassy. 

Visa types

Study visa

This type of visa can be applied for after obtaining immediate university admission from a university or college of applied sciences in Germany. Or when you have secured a place to start a preparatory year program in Germany. 

German student visa

If you have obtained admission from a German university conditional to undergo an entrance exam, and you must be in Germany in order to participate in this exam, this type of visa will be the right one for your case. After you have come to Germany and have successfully passed the exam, you can submit an application to the Aliens Office for a German student residence permit. 

German language course visa 

You can apply for this type of visa if you want to enroll in a German language course at a language school in Germany. The duration of this visa varies between three months and one year.

If you want to study the language and then join a German university, you must choose the study visa, not the student visa.

Second Step: Book an appointment with the German Embassy in your country

After knowing the correct type of visa, you should book an appointment with the German embassy in your country at least two months before the date you plan to enter Germany. In most German embassies, an appointment can be made digitally to submit the visa application.

 To learn more, please visit the website of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in your country

Second Step: Prepare the required documents for a German student visa

The basic documents that must be submitted in all cases: 

  • National visa application 
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months + two copies.
  • Two passport-sized photographs, which must verify the specifications required by the relevant German embassy.
  • Proof of how to cover expenses in Germany
  • German health insurance proof
  • Your birth certificate

Additional documents that must be submitted to obtain a study visa:

  • University admission
  • Prove your German language skills
  • High School Certificate (original, translated and certified copy)
  • University graduation certificate with transcripts for all semesters (if you want to study a master’s degree in Germany)
  • Motivational letter in addition to the CV.

Additional documents to be submitted for a German student visa:

  • Conditional university admission or an invitation to participate in an entrance examination at a German university 
  • A letter from Uni-Assist confirming the submission of applications to German universities for university admission
  • High School Certificate (original, translated and certified copy)
    University graduation certificate with transcripts for all semesters (if you want to study a master’s degree in Germany)
  • Motivational letter in addition to the CV.

Additional documents to be submitted for a German language course visa:

  • Proof of registration in a German language school in Germany and the fees must be paid in advance with proof of this
  • Motivational letter in addition to the CV.

To make sure that you have prepared all the documents required by the German embassy in the country in which you reside, please visit the relevant German embassy website and read all the conditions carefully to avoid going to the appointment with missing documents or the like. We wish you success while applying for a study visa. 

Residence in Germany

After obtaining a study visa and coming to Germany, you will have to convert the visa into a residence. In most cases, the duration of the visa you get is three months. During this period, you must go to the Foreigners’ Directorate in the city in which you want to study and submit an application for German residence.

The most important documents required while applying for German residence

In order to obtain a residence permit in Germany, the following documents must be submitted to the Foreigners’ Directorate in the city you want to study/live in: 

  • Valid passport 
  • Rental contract and confirmation of registration in the city
  • Proof of enrollment at a university/preparatory course or German language course
  • Proof of how to cover expenses in Germany
  • German health insurance proof
  • 2 recent biometric photos 
  • Financial fees 

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