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How to apply for a German Student Visa and Residence Permit

International students are often attracted to Germany because the country has some of the best universities in the world.

Depending on your country of origin and how long your course will last, you may need a visa to come to Germany.

You may need a German Student Visa depending on where you come from and how long you plan to stay here
You may need a German Student Visa depending on where you come from and how long you plan to stay here

Students from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland don’t need a visa to come for studies in Germany. They only require a valid ID card or comparable identification to travel to Germany.

As soon as they arrive in Germany and find an apartment, students from the above countries can register at the city’s registry office and receive a residence permit for study purposes.

Students from the following countries can also obtain necessary residence permit for study purposes after their arrival in Germany: Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea; United States of America, Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino.

All other international students normally require a visa before coming to Germany for studies.

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If you’d like to come here for studies, you can contact the German Embassy in your home country and apply for a Student visa (Visum zu Studienzwecken) or a Student applicant visa (Visum zur Studienbewerbung).

You can apply for a Student visa if you have a written approval for preparatory study measures or a university place from a German university.

If you are still waiting for the notice of admission or have to sit an entrance examination, you can apply for a Student applicant visa.

Documents required for a visa application
You are advised to contact the German Embassy in your home country for the most update information on what’s required for your visa application. However, generally you will need the following documents:
– a valid passport
– the confirmation of application from the university (for Student applicant visa) or the notice of admission from the university (for Student visa)
– proof of adequate funds for living expenses (proof of financial resources)
– health insurance coverage
– certificates of past academic work and achievements
– certificate of German language proficiency or proof that you intend to attend a language course in Germany

How to provide proof of financial resources
For your Student visa application, you are required to show that you have enough financial resources to pay for your period of study.

You must in any case have enough money to cater for your living expenses for the first year in Germany.

In general, about 8,640 euros of income or assets are required for the first year, or 720 euros per month.

How you can provide proof of the above
– documents showing parents’ income and assets

– declaration from someone who resides in Germany committing to cater for your expenses in the country

– a security sum on a blocked account

– scholarship from a recognised scholarship foundation funding in accordance with the German Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (BAföG – Federal Education and Training Assistance Act).

You are encouraged to submit your application early enough since visa processing can take several months. You should therefore ensure you apply early enough in order to get your visa and come to Germany before your course commences.

Application for residence permit
Please note that immediately you arrive in Germany, you have to submit your visa to the foreigners’ authority at the study location in order to convert it to a residence permit for study purposes.

The above article has been prepared using information provided by DAAD – Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service).