• International students from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland: you do not need a visa or any other documents to enter and study in Germany. However, you must register with the local Residents’ Registration Office upon your arrival in Germany.

  • International students from nations that do not need a visa for admission: Please visit the Federal Foreign Office's website to find out if your home nation is one of those without an entry visa requirement. These nations are currently mentioned (last updated May 2019):

❖ Andorra ❖ Australia ❖ Brazil ❖ El Salvador ❖ Israel ❖ Japan ❖ Canada ❖ Monaco ❖ San Marino ❖ South Korea ❖ USA

Students from the countries above must register with the Foreigners´ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde), apply for a Residence Permit in Germany if you want to study in Germany for more than three months.

However, we suggest that you consult the German Diplomatic Mission in your home country promptly before your departure because there are unique rules, e.g. if you want to work straight after your research in Germany. Ultimately, you also need other records or registration requirements.

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  • International students from nations with a visa requirement: All students from other countries need a visa. Applying for a visa in your home nation is essential and we highly recommend you do it as soon as possible since it may take several months to issue it.

For more information, contact your country's German Embassy/Consulate. On the German Federal Foreign Office website, you can find the addresses of the German Diplomatic Missions.

What kinds of German student visas are there?

There are 3 kinds of German Student Visa:

1) Language Course Visa: With this type of visa, you can apply for language courses in Germany. However, you cannot go on to study in Germany after this course. If you plan to continue with your study in Germany, then you have to leave Germany before this visa expires and apply for a new Student visa in your home country.

2) German Student Applicant Visa: This visa is applicable if you are not yet admitted to any German higher institutions, but you need to come to Germany to fulfill other admission requirements i.e taking an exam, attending an interview, etc. This type of visa is available in some countries, so you need to check if you can apply for this visa in your home country.

3) German Student Visa: If you intend to study in Germany, this is the standard student visa for all the international students. The prerequisite is that you are admitted to a full-time study program by a German university (or “Hochschule” in German).

There are also students, whose language level cannot reach the required level to study at German universities or the students, who plan to do their master in Germany, but their bachelor study plan was different from the one at German universities. However, it is still possible to study in Germany. These students can also apply for a standard German student visa but some other certificates would be required. The prerequisite is always the same: they must be admitted to German higher education institutions first. They also need to pass some specific exams and get the required certificates, with which they can apply to the German universities.

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Visa application process

Step 1: Prepare the required documents for visa application at least 6 weeks before the registration deadline at your German university.

Please visit the German Embassy or Consulate in your country for the required documents. The documents usually include but are not limited to:

  • completed and signed national visa application form
  • passport
  • your certificate for marriage (if applicable)
  • birth certificate for your child (if applicable)
  • latest passport photos (up to 3)
  • CV (curriculum vitae)
  • motivation letter (why do want to study in Germany?)
  • copies of previous German titles of residence (if applicable)
  • previous visa from Schengen (if any)
  • a previous resident permit from Germany (if any)
  • evidence of your education background
  • school-leaving certificate
  • diploma/certificate of graduation (if you study Master or Ph.D.)
  • university entrance qualifications in your home country
  • certificate of German or English language proficiency
  • proof of health insurance
  • one of the following proofs of admission:

    a) proof of university admission: confirmation of admission to a "Studienkolleg" college preparatory course

    b) verified conditional admission (bedingter Zulassungsbescheid) and an extensive language course (Intensiv-Sprachkurs)

    c) proof of payment for the langue course

    d) confirmation of your participation in the course by the language institution

  • one of the following financial resource proofs:

    a) confirmation of blocked account with the amount of €10,236 for one year

    b) proof of family relationship and proof income and economic resources of your parents

    c) letter of engagement/declaration of commitment (Verpflichtungserklärung) by a resident in Germany who will cover your expenses during your study

    d) awarded scholarship certificate: the quantity of living expenses your scholarship covers must be shown

    e) a bank guarantee, issued by an acknowledged German bank

Note: Students from China, Mongolia, and Vietnam must pass the APS process before being able to submit all the required documents to the German Embassy in their countries. Read our other article on the APS process to get a complete overview!

Step 2: Make an appointment online or call the German Embassy in your home country

Step 3: Prepare and attend the visa interview

Step 4: Got your German visa and book the flight to Germany!

We hope this article is helpful for you all! If you have any further question regarding German student visas, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are to support you, as always.