Have you Considered a Student Applicant Visa?
If you have not yet been accepted onto a university program, you may consider applying for a student applicant visa. This allows you to stay in Germany for three months in order to look for a university program on German soil. If you have not enrolled in this time, you may ask for your visa to be extended, but whether or not this is granted is up to the discretion of the visa authorities. After enrollment, your student applicant visa can be converted into a national visa.
Applying for the Correct Visa
As an international student you may need an entry visa for Germany depending on where you come from and how long you plan to stay here. For more information about visa requirements, contact the German embassy or German consulate in your home country. You can find the address on the website of the German Federal Foreign Office.
- 1. Student applicant visa („Visum zur Studienbewerbung“)
If you have not yet received notification of admission to a university or foundation course, you should apply for a student applicant visa.
This three-month visa allows you to meet the requirements for admission to a German university. If you find that three months is not long enough, you may extend your visa to a maximum of six months. If you are admitted to the university or foundation course within this period, you may apply for a student visa.
- 2. Student visa („Visum zu Studienzwecken“)
If you have received your notification of admission to university or a foundation course, you should apply for a student visa. Student visas are usually valid for three months. Within these three months, you will have to apply for an extended residence permit at the Alien Registration Office in your university town.
Required Documents for a Visa Application
You can obtain a complete list of documents required for a visa application from your German diplomatic mission in your home country. Normally, you are asked to present:
- Certificate confirming health insurance coverage
- Proof of financial resources
- Certificates of past academic work and achievements
- Certificate of German language proficiency or proof that you intend on attending a language course in Germany
- For a student applicant visa: university entrance qualification recognised in Germany
- For a student visa: notification of admission from your German university (or a statement from the university confirming that your prospects of gaining admission are good).
Maintenance Funds (8,000 Euros for One Year)
Before you begin your studies, you will have to prove that you have enough money to support yourself. The document you need is called a “Finanzierungsnachweis”, or proof of financial resources. You are asked for it when you apply for an entry visa. At the latest, you will need to present it when you apply for a residence permit in Germany. In most cases, applicants have to prove that they have around 8,000 euros at their disposal for one year.
There are a number of ways to show that you can finance your studies. The following forms of proof are possible:
- Your parents can submit documents certifying their income and financial assets.
- Someone with permanent residence in Germany can guarantee the Alien Registration Office to cover your expenses.
- A security payment can be deposited into a blocked account.
- You can present a bank guarantee.
- You can present a scholarship award notification from a recognised scholarship provider.
Make sure to inquire at the German embassy in your country as to which form of financial proof is required!
How to Apply for a Residence Permit
You have to apply for a residence permit if you
- Are not a citizen of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and
- Intend to study longer than 90 days
You have to apply for a residence permit at the Alien Registration Office in your university town within your first three months in Germany.
Make sure to take the following documents with you when you apply:
- Confirmation of registration from the Residents’ Registration Office
- Confirmation of private or public health insurance coverage
- Student ID from your German university (certificate of enrolment)
- Proof of financial resources (if you didn’t present it earlier when you applied for a visa)
- Valid passport and current visa, if you have one
- Certificate of health (if applicable)
- Your tenancy agreement (if applicable)
- Biometric passport photos (if applicable)
- Money for the residence permit fee (inquire at the International Office about the current rate)
You initially receive a two-year residence permit which can be extended if necessary. The approval of an extension depends on whether your studies have proceeded “properly” (i.e. you are keeping within the standard period of study for your degree programme). You have to present a letter of confirmation to this effect from your university. And remember: You must apply for an extension before your residence permit expires!
Working in Germany with a Student Visa
It is legal to work in Germany with a student visa, but students are restricted to the number of days they can work. This is 90 full days each year or 180 half days. International students with a visa are also eligible to work in Germany for up to one year after graduating, as long as the job is related to their field of study. In order to work in Germany, you’ll also usually need a high level of proficiency in the German language.