How to Get a Visa to Study in Germany, What Should We Prepare?

f you’ve been accepted to a university in Germany and want to study there, you’ll need to find out if you need a German student visa. Many students who want to study in Germany don’t need a student visa. Instead, they just need a residence permit. If you do need a visa, make sure to apply as soon as possible because the process could take a few months.

Do you need a visa to study in Germany?

Applicants from the European Union, which includes Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein:

If you are from Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and want to study in Germany, you do not need to get a German student visa before entering the country.

People from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, and South Korea who want to apply:

If you are from any of these countries, you can study in Germany without a visa. To get a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), you must register at the local Residents’ Registration Office and the Aliens’ Registration Office (Auslanderamt) within two weeks of your arrival in the country.

Applicants from Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco, San Marino or Taiwan:

If you are from one of these countries, you only need a German student visa if you want to work before or after your degree. In this case, you should go to the German embassy or consulate in your home country to get the visa. Both people with visas and people without visas will have to apply for a residence permit within two weeks of entering the country. Taiwanese students must have a passport with their identity card number on it.

Applicants from everywhere else:

If you are not from one of the above countries, you will need a student visa to go to Germany. You should do this through the German embassy or consulate in the country where you live. Most visas cost about €60 (about US$70).

How to get a visa to study in Germany
If you want to study in Germany and need a student visa, you should apply as soon as possible, but at least three months before you plan to move there. To do this, you will need to contact the German embassy or consulate in your home country.

Most of the time, you will need:

  • Application form filled out
  • Valid passport
  • There are two photos
  • Letter letting you know that a German university has accepted you
  • Transcript of educational history
  • Proof that you know how to speak German or that you plan to take a language course in Germany (if studying in German)
  • Proof that you have enough money to live on in Germany (about €8,700 per year, which is about $10,250).
  • Proof that you have bought health insurance
    Statement that the documents submitted are real

Depending on the embassy, you may also have to show proof that you have never been in trouble with the law. You can show you have enough money to study in Germany by putting a security deposit into a blocked account. This means you can’t get the money out of the account until you get to Germany.

If you want to study in Germany for more than 90 days, you should apply for a National Visa for the purpose of study instead of a Schengen Visa, which only lets you stay in Germany for three months.

You will also need to apply for a residence permit when you arrive in the country.

How to apply for a permit to live in a country

Once you get there, you have two weeks to register with the local Alien Registration Office (Bürgeramt or Einwohnermeldeamt). Here, you must fill out an application for a residence permit in order to study. The documents you need are the same as those you need for a visa:

  • Proof of private or public health insurance that is still in force
  • Certificate of registration from your school
  • Proof that you have enough money
  • Valid passport
  • If you have a current visa, it must be shown (if applicable)
    Your rental contract (if applicable)
  • Photos for biometric passports (if applicable)
  • Residence permit fee (check the current rate beforehand to make sure you bring enough money)
  • You may have already been asked to show proof of your language skills when you applied to college, but you may have to do it again when you go to get your residence permit.
  • International students need a TestDaf or DSH score for courses taught in German, or a TOEFL or IELTS score for courses taught in English.

This residence permit is good for two years and should be renewed if necessary before it runs out. Residence permits cost €100 (about US$120) at first, and each extension can cost up to €96 (about US$115).

EU students

Students from the EU/EEA and Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein do not need a residence permit, but they must register with the local Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt within a week of their arrival. For this, you’ll need the document your university gave you when you signed up. EU students also have to show they have enough money (€8,700 per year), health insurance if they are under 30, and can speak the language of instruction for their course. Some countries have agreements with Germany that allow insurance policies from the student’s home country to be used in Germany.

Have you considered a student applicant visa?

If you want to study in Germany but haven’t been accepted yet, you might want to apply for a student applicant visa. This lets you stay in Germany for three months so you can look for a college program there. If you haven’t signed up by this time, you can ask for your visa to be extended to six months, but it’s up to the people in charge of visas to decide whether or not to let you do this. After you start school, you can change your student applicant visa into a national visa. To get this kind of visa, you’ll need proof that you’ve applied to a German university.

With a student visa, you can work in Germany.

With a student visa, you can legally work in Germany, but you can only work for a certain number of days. This is 120 full days or 240 half days each year. (If you work as a student assistant or research assistant at your university, you can usually work longer than 120 days. But if you do, you have to tell the Alien Registration Office.) EU students can work up to 20 hours per week without having to get a work permit.

International students with a residence permit can extend it so they can stay in Germany and look for work for up to 18 months after they graduate, as long as the job is related to their field of study. Graduates from EU/EEA countries can stay and look for work without having to get permission or follow any rules. After working in Germany for two years, you can apply to become a permanent resident. When looking for work in Germany, it helps to be able to speak German well, but it’s not always necessary.

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