If you’ve accepted a place on a program in Germany as an international student, then you’ll need to ensure you have the correct visa.
If you’re from the EU/EEA you won’t need to apply for a visa, but you will need to register at a Residents’ Registration Office and the Aliens’ Registration Office within two weeks of arriving in Germany.
This is also the case for students from the following countries, however they made need to also apply for a residence permit if they are studying in Germany for more than three months:
- New Zealand
- United States
- South Korea
Students from other countries may need a national visa and a residence permit to study in Germany. The Germany student visa application cost is between €60-€75.
Process to get a Germany student visa
You can find out whether your nationality needs a visa, residence permit, or both, by contacting your nearest German consulate.
Germany national student visa
When applying for a visa to study in Germany you will need to follow these steps:
- Receive a letter of confirmation from a German higher education institution
- Fill in an online or paper application form with your personal information (this depends on the country you are applying from)
- Gather the required documentation, including proof of finances and English proficiency
- Set up a visa appointment if necessary at your local embassy or consulate
- Attend your interview and present any documents
- Receive a decision on your visa
- Register at a registration office before your visa expires
Student applicant visa for Germany
This is a type of visa available to some prospective students that can be used to travel to Germany whilst searching for a university program to enroll on. It provides you with a visa for a three-month stay whilst going through the admissions process and can be extended if required.
If you receive confirmation of admission you can then convert the applicant visa into a student visa or residence permit.
Germany student visa requirements
When applying for a visa to study in Germany, you may need to have the following documentation ready to upload or show at your visa interview:
- Completed application forms
- Proof of English proficiency
- University letter of confirmation
- Academic records and transcripts
- Passport / ID
- Any previous Germany permits and visas if relevant
- Blocked bank account with sufficient funds to support yourself
Blocked bank account
You may be asked to present information from a blocked bank account, which is for visa / residence permit applicants to display their funds to authorities and show they can support themselves while in the country.
To get a blocked bank account you must open when you have received confirmation of admission to your chosen university. Fintiba is the most popular company to offer this type of account and generally needs €11,208 placed into the account to cover a 12 month period in Germany. This is then given back to the owner on a monthly basis.
When you are dealing with large amounts of money, beware of any scams targeting international students by researching how a company like Fintiba will legitimately contact you. You can read our guide on international student scams and how to avoid them.
Germany residence permit requirements
The requirements for a residence permit will be similar to the student visa application, you will need:
- A completed application form for a residence permit, also known in German as an ‘Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels’
- Your passport or ID card and any visas you used to get into Germany
- Documents confirming a permanent address in Germany, and a rental contract
- Confirmation you registered in the country on arrival
- Recent passport style photographs
- Proof of finances to support yourself through studies
- Certificate of enrollment at your chosen institution
- Payment of the residence permit fee (€100)
Germany student visa processing time
How long it takes to get your German student visa can vary, but it usually takes up to 25 days.
The processing time will ultimately be down to the German Embassy as well as the country you’re applying from. It’s not unknown for the process to take up to three months, so make sure you submit your application with plenty of time to spare.
Germany student visa work permit
A work permit is not required in addition to a student visa. Students are permitted to work part-time in Germany on their student visa or residence permit as long as it does not exceed 120 days or 240 half days a year.
Students from the EU can work up to 20 hours per week part-time.
What to do if your German student visa is rejected
Applying for a student visa to study in Germany can be a long process, so it’s especially disheartening to hear your application has been rejected.
If your rejection is down to a simple mistake, or missing document, you can simply reapply making sure you correct your error. Remember that for any further application you make you will need to pay an additional fee.
If you don’t think the reason for your rejection is fair or valid, you should write a letter of appeal. Ask your local German Consulate to find out who to address your letter to.
Make sure you clearly outline why you think your application should be accepted, but there are no guarantees your appeal will be successful.