Get Your German Student Visa in 5 Steps (Checklist)


Updated on Nov 26 • 7 minute read

A German student visa is your key to immerse yourself in the vibrant university life between the lecture hall and student parties in Germany. What's more, the German student visa in fact is your most essential entry card as an international student from non-EU countries, non-EEA countries or Switzerland.

It's no secret: bureaucracy isn’t the most thrilling topic, yet once you've mastered the requirements and process, your German student visa will give you the most thrilling experience with no doubt!

We'll walk you through the process to obtain your German student visa in no time at all, ensure that you gather all the required documents, and are heading to the German consulate for your visa interview soon.

Do you actually need a German student visa?

Yes, as an international student from outside the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you require a German student visa to dive into your student life in Germany.

Are you coming to Germany from the USA, India or another country outside the EU? Anyone who is from outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland and stays in Germany for more than 90 days as an international student must obtain a residence permit after arrival in Germany.

In other words, with a bit of luck you can cut through the red tape; namely, if you are an international student from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland. For everyone else, it's time to apply for a German student visa! Though don't worry, the bureaucratic mountain looks bigger than it really is.

Requirements for your German student visa

The regulations for your German student visa can be a little different than some countries, which is why it’s always best to have the most updated information and to follow any helpful tips that you can find online, such as in this guide.

When it comes to permits and visas for your stay, it is all about where you come from that determines exactly what you’ll need before you move, and where and when you’ll need to apply. So, let’s break down the requirements for each area for both students and workers.

European Union, including Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein

  • Students: If you hail from one of these regions, then you are definitely in luck. If you will be studying at a university, you will not need a student visa. However, within a week of being in Germany, you must register with the local Einwohnermeldeamt (registration authority). You will not need a residence permit.

  • Work or Internships: A residence or work permit is not needed to work in Germany for these countries’ citizens. Workers must have a valid ID or passport, and they must register at Einwohnermeldeamt.

United States, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea

  • Students: If one of these countries is your homeland, then you also will not need a student visa if you will be studying at a university. However, within two weeks of entering Germany, you will need to do two things: it is a requirement to register with both the Aliens’ Registration Office and the Residents’ Registration Office to obtain a residence permit.

  • Work or Internships: Only workers from these areas may enter Germany before having employment. However, you must still register for a residence permit, although having a visa is not a requirement.

Taiwan, Andorra, Brasil, Honduras, El Salvador, Monaco and San Marino

  • Students: For these areas, things are a bit more involved, but still simple as long as you follow the regulations. You will only need a German student visa for attending a university, or if you plan to work during or after receiving your degree. However, the application process is a bit different, as that you will need to actually apply with your country’s German consulate or embassy. Once in Germany, you will also still need to file for a residence permit within two weeks of your arrival. Additionally, if you are from Taiwan, you will need a passport, which will have an identity card number.

  • Work or Internships: From these countries, you must have a visa and proof of employment, and you must register for a resident permit as soon as possible when arriving in Germany.

All others

  • Students: If you live in any other country, you will be required to have a visa, which you will need to acquire before coming to Germany from your local consulate or German embassy.

  • Work or Internships: A visa will be required to enter Germany, and you must show evidence of employment. Once you are in Germany, you will need to apply immediately for a residence permit.

There are three types of German student visa: Which one do you need?

First things first, before you start to fill out forms, instruct your parents to find your birth certificate and secure the next best appointment with the authorities, be sure to answer the basic question: Which German student visa do I need for the duration and type of my studies?

There are three types of German student visa to choose from:

1. German student visa (Deutsches Studentenvisum): The standard student visa for international students. Have you already been accepted by a university? Great, then the German Student Visa is right for you.

2. German Student Applicant Visa (Deutsches Studentenbewerbervisum): Your dream university in Germany is putting your patience to the test? Then the German Student Applicant Visa is for you. This visa doesn't allow you to start your studies in Germany, but it does allow you to complete the application process at your university.

3. German language course visa (Deutschsprachkurs Visum). One thing's for sure: with 18 hours of intensive lessons, you'll soon easily overcome the language barrier in Germany. If you take a German language course in Germany, the German language course Visa is all yours.

Here's your task: Find out which of the three types of visa you need to kick start your application process!

Step by step: How to get your German student visa

Take one step at a time: Did you find out what kind of student visa you need? Great, let's walk through the five steps to secure your German student visa.

1. Find a German embassy or consulate. Google where to find the nearest German embassy or consulate in your country (or another country near you) to get details about the requirements and procedures for a visa. Visit an official website online with the address and contact details of the German Embassy in your area.

2. Check the specific requirements in your country. On the website of the German consulate in your area there is an overview of all specific requirements for your country and the procedure on how to secure a visa appointment. Make sure that you have gathered all the required information and documents prior to your visa appointment.

3. Schedule a visa appointment. Time to set an appointment on the official website of the German embassy in your country. Don't forget: In some countries, you have to wait a few weeks for an appointment, so it's best to make an appointment as soon as possible.

4. Collect all your visa application documents. Birth certificate, identity card, certificate of enrolment: By now, you know the drill. Make sure that you go through the specific requirements on the official site and take them with you to the visa appointment.

5. Time for your visa interview! Almost done. Prepare for your visa interview, bring all your documents to the visa interview and also take a payment receipt with you that shows that you have paid the visa application fee (60,00€ - 75,00€).

Student Visa Requirements in Germany: Your Checklist

So, let's tackle it: at the top of your to-do list is collecting the relevant paperwork to fulfil the requirements for the German student visa. So, what documents do you need to successfully wrap your German student visa? Make yourself comfortable while we'll walk you through it.

1. Your German visa application documents:

  • Correctly completed and signed national visa application form
  • Your valid national passport
  • Two photocopies of your passport
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Your child's birth certificate (if applicable)
  • Your last passport photos. (up to 3)
  • Photocopies of previous German residence permits. (if applicable)
  • Previous Schengen visa
  • Previous German residence permit

2. Your proof of financing (one of the following)

  • € 10.332 proof of deposit
  • Declaration of commitment and proof of your parents' income records and financial assets
  • Letter of commitment from a German commitment provider. This letter is filed at the Aliens Department by a German resident who will cover your costs during your studies
  • Letter of confirmation of the scholarship. It must show the amount of the costs it will cover

3. Proof of admission to university

  • Confirmation of admission in the letter of admission (must show when your studies begin and in which language of study)
  • Proof of conditional admission "Conditional notification of admission" and a confirmed intensive course "Intensive language course The letter must show that you are conditional and have been confirmed to attend an intensive language course before you receive final admission to the university. The course must last more than 6 months, with a minimum of 18 hours of lessons per week.
    • Proof of conditional admission to the university.
      • Letter from "uni-assist"
      • Confirmation of admission as an applicant
      • Communication with the University regarding the admission requirements
    • Proof of payment for the language course. Accompanied by a confirmed place in the course. Payment must be made for at least 3 months
  • Confirmation of admission to a Studienkolleg
    • Proof of conditional admission to the university
      • Letter from "uni-assist"
      • Confirmation of admission as an applicant
      • Communication with the university regarding the admission requirements
  • Proof that you have been confirmed as a participant in the course

4. Proof of your previous education Original school leaving certificate

5. Student health insurance

6. University entrance qualification

7. Certificate of German or English language skills

How much does a German visa cost?

You have to expect a fee of 75 euros for your German student visa.

How long does german student visa take?

On average, German consulates take up to 25 days to process your German student visa application. Depending on the country and the embassy you should expect a period of 6 to 12 weeks for the process of your German visa; at the latest, within 3 months all German visa applications for studies will be processed.

How long is my visa valid?

There's no universal answer, as it depends on your type of visa. While the student visa is usually valid for up to 4 years, the student applicant visa is only valid for 3 months, which can be extended for another 6 months. After these six months, you have to prove that you have been admitted by a university. And even more important, then it's time for you to apply for the proper student visa.

A language visa can be valid for between 3 and 12 months and in some cases can be extended for up to a year. But be careful here: you can't simply convert your language visa into a student or applicant visa, apply for a work permit or start a university.

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