Student Visas

As a foreign student there is a lot of paperwork to get done before arriving in Germany…

Many foreign nationals are required to have an entry visa when studying in Germany.

EU and EEA nationals are not required to have a visa to enter or study in Germany.

For those requiring an entry visa, applications should be made at the diplomatic mission of the Federal Republic of Germany in the applicant’s home country. As it can take several months for a visa to be issued, applicants should apply as soon as possible to arrive before courses begin.

Note: Applicants should state the reason for the visa when applying to ensure no complications arise. Tourist visas cannot be transferred to student visas and other entry visas also have restrictions.

For those not requiring an entry visa, it is possible to either apply for the necessary residency permit at the applicable embassy or consulate or to apply after arriving in Germany. When applying within Germany, a permit will be granted instead of a visa. In order to receive a residency permit, proof of a registered residence in Germany is required.

For students or potential students, there are three options to being allowed access to study in Germany: Student Applicant Visa, Student Visa, and a Study Preparation Visa. The information provided below outlines the purposes of each visa and the general requirements needed during the application process. When applying at an embassy or consulate there may be additional requirements.

Student Applicant Visa

The Student Applicant Visa is for those who are applying to a German university, but have not yet been accepted. As university acceptances are given rather late in Germany and it can take two to three months to be approved for a student visa, it is recommended to apply for the Student Applicant Visa as soon as an application for studying is submitted.

This visa is valid for three months and in some cases can be extended to a total of nine months. With an official acceptance to a German university and proof of a registered residence, the visa can be transferred to a Student Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis zum Studium).

There are several prerequisites that must be fulfilled to receive this visa:

  • A private interview, preferably by appointment
  • School leaving certificate (German Abitur certificate, high school diploma, proof of completion of secondary education)
  • Application to a German university

In addition to the prerequisites, several documents are also required for the issuance of a student visa:

  • Valid passport
  • Biometric photo (35mm x 45mm)
  • Application Form for the Issuance of a Residence Permit (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels)
  • Proof of secure livelihood (see below)
  • Adequate health insurance. The Foreigner's Registration Office Berlin provides detailed information on adequate health insurance in Germany (PDF)
  • Proof of German university application

Proof of Secure Livelihood

Most foreigners seeking a residency permit in Berlin are obliged to prove they have adequate funds for their stay. The following are accepted as proof of secure livelihood:

  • escrow account at a German Bank with 7,908 euros
  • submission of a declaration of commitment by a third party on an official form
  • scholarship
  • notarised declaration from parents securing the livelihood for the duration of the studies with proof of the income of the parents in the last six months

Student Visa

The student visa is those who have been accepted to or are currently enrolled in a German university. There are several prerequisites that must be fulfilled to receive this visa:

  • A private interview, preferably by appointment
  • University place, either confirmation of enrollment or acceptance at a German university

In addition to the prerequisites, several documents are also required for the issuance of a student visa.

  • Valid passport
  • Biometric photo (35mm x 45mm)
  • Application Form for the Issuance of a Residence Permit (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels)
  • Proof of a secure livelihood (see above)
  • Adequate health insurance. The Foreigner's Registration Office Berlin provides detailed information on adequate health insurance in Germany (PDF)
  • Certificate of enrollment or conditional approval for studying

Study Preparation Visa

The study preparation visa is for those who are required to meet prerequisites before being accepted into university. It can be granted for a maximum of two years for the purpose of intensive German language courses of over 18 lesson hours per week, study college (Studienkolleg), or preparatory courses. This residency permit cannot be issued for any intensive language courses other than German.

Similar to the Student Applicant Visa, with official acceptance to a German university and proof of a registered residence in Berlin, the Study Preparation Visa can be transferred to a Student Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis zum Studium).

There are several prerequisites that must be fulfilled to receive this visa:

  • A private interview, preferably by appointment
  • School leaving certificate (German Abitur certificate, high school diploma, proof of completion of secondary education)

In addition to the prerequisites, several documents are also required for the issuance of a study preparation visa:

  • Valid passport
  • Biometric photo (35mm x 45mm)
  • Application Form for the Issuance of a Residence Permit (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels)
  • Proof of a secure livelihood (see above)
  • Adequate health insurance. The Foreigners Registration Office Berlin provides detailed information on adequate health insurance in Germany (PDF)
  • Contract with a language school, approval for study college, or admission into preparatory courses

Further Information