Applying for a student visa
If you wish to study in Germany, you need a visa to enter and stay in the country. Your nationality may make entering the country easier.
The following do not need a visa to enter Germany:
- citizens of countries in the European Union (EU) and EEA.
Course applicants will receive a Bescheinigung über das gemeinschaftsrechtliche Aufenthaltsrecht(certificate of right of EU residence).
- Citizens of Switzerland
After entering Germany, you must apply for a residence permit for Swiss citizens.
- Citizens of Andorra, Australia, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino and the USA
If you stay for longer than three months, you must apply for a residence permit for students from countries outside the EU/EEA.
All other foreign study applicants will need a residence permit in the form of a national visa before entering the country. You will find precise information in the procedure description “Applying for a national visa".
The German diplomatic mission (embassy, consulate) in whose administrative district the applicant normally resides or has his dwelling
Tip: The Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) provides a Verzeichnis der Vertretungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland im Ausland (list of addresses of German diplomatic missions abroad) on its website.
The prerequisites are:
- Course of study at
- a state-run or state-recognised institute of higher education (university, teacher training college, art college, university of applied sciences) or
- A comparable training institute (e.g. Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (formerly the University of Cooperative Education)).
- The main purpose of your stay must be to study.
This includes all phases of your training:
- language course or preparatory college
- language examination
- work placements preparing you for your studies (insofar as these are recommended or prescribed by the institute of higher education)
- degree course (foundation course, advanced course, study-related work placements, interim and final examinations)
- postgraduate studies, additional studies or doctoral studies
- practical work following your course if this is an obligatory part of your training
- Assurance of
- sufficient financial resources for maintenance
Currently a minimum of 659 euros a month. The Bundesministerium des Inneren announces the corresponding minimum amounts every year in the Federal Gazette.
- health insurance in Germany
- sufficient financial resources for maintenance
- you satisfy the requirements for access to the desired training institute.
You may not catch up on the general educational requirements for admission to the desired educational institute while you are in Germany.
You must apply in writing for the residence permit you need (national visa, residence certificate, certification of right of residence) using the relevant form.
You can obtain visa application forms in the local language free of charge from the competent diplomatic mission. Depending on the authority, you may also be able to download them.
You can obtain the forms you need for other residence from the authority for foreign nationals responsible for the place in which you intend to study. You will find details of each procedure in the procedure descriptions mentioned above.
Tip: You will find visa application forms in several languages and further information on the German Foreign Office website.
You must apply for the visa in person. The diplomatic mission will obtain the consent of the authority for foreign nationals responsible for your future residence in Germany. Once it has obtained the authority’s consent, the diplomatic mission can issue the visa. It will attach a visa to your passport allowing you to enter the country and stay there temporarily.
- passport (valid for at least the duration of the visa you are applying for)
- two current passport photos
- evidence that you satisfy the conditions for the residence permit you require:
- confirmation of the purpose of your stay (e.g. study admission)
- Evidence of funding (e.g. statement of your parents’ income and assets, payment of a surety into a blocked account, subsidy agreement)
- Proof of health insurance
The competent authority may request additional documents.
The visa is normally valid for three months. You must register with the registration office at your new residence within eight days of arriving in Germany. You must apply to the authority for foreign nationals to have your residence permit extended before your visa expires.
You will also find detailed information in the leaflet “Informationen zu den rechtlichen Rahmenbedingungen für Einreise und Aufenthalt von ausländischen Studierenden und Wissenschaftlern” (Information on the law governing the entry and residence of foreign students and scientists) published by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
- § 2 Aufenthaltsgesetz Abs. 3 (AufenthG) (Lebensunterhalt, Krankenversicherung)
- § 3 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Passpflicht)
- § 4 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Erfordernis eines Aufenthaltstitels)
- § 5 Abs. 1 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Lebensunterhalt, Krankenversicherung)
- § 16 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Studium)
- §§ 39 - 41 Aufenthaltsverordnung (AufenthV) (Einholung des Aufenthaltstitels im Bundesgebiet)
- § 31 Aufenthaltsverordnung (AufenthV) (Zustimmung der Ausländerbehörde zur Visumerteilung)
- § 4 Freizügigkeitsgesetz/EU (FreizügG/EU) (Nicht erwerbstätige Freizügigkeitsberechtigte)
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released it on 30.04.2015. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.