Study in Germany: German student visas and permits

Germany is a place to be when it comes to the quality of higher education, research infrastructure, teaching methodology, low-cost studies and career prospect. That is why many internationals continue to believe that Germany is the best place for pursuing their higher education further.

On the other hand, not every foreign person is able to pursue such a dream, right away. This because several nationalities are NOT allowed to enter and stay in the territory of Germany without enjoying the appropriate German Visa.

In our case, a visa needed is the authorizing official document required to permit a non-German national to enter and stay in the territory of Germany for the purpose of studying, in a specific intended period.


Therefore, being a foreigner who:

  • Just received the Acceptance Letter from a German University,
  • Soon is expected to get A Response on his/her University Application in a University in Germany,
  • Has to Enroll in A Foundation Course before applying in a German University,
  • Needs to Take a Foundation Course (Studienkolleg) to prepare for the test  “Feststellungsprüfung” – qualification assessment examination
  • Needs to Complete a Doctoral Degree
  • Wants to Engage in a Research Project in Germany

… YOU will HAVE to apply for the appropriate German Study VISA at the Embassy or Consulate of Germany in your country to enter and stay for the intended period in Germany, in case you come from one of these countries.

In case you will need to remain in the territory of Germany for more than 90 DAYS, or 3 MONTHS, you will be called to also get a Residence Permit early enough after  the arrival in Germany.

Speaking of the appropriate time, there is no fixed period where you should make the visa application, but it is highly suggested to do it early enough in advance from your planned travel to Germany.

Typically, 3 (three) months before the start of planned studies, worked  suitably for many who already went through the same experience.

But, let us together see what else you need to know about getting a German Visa for study purposes.

Which are German Visa Types for Study Purposes?

As we explained earlier, whenever you want to travel to Germany for study purposes, you have to apply for the appropriate German Visa, related to the purpose of your travel and stay there – studying.

What follows is the explanation of 3 (three) types of German Visas for study purposes:

  1. Language Course Visa (Visa for Language Learning) – is the perfect option for those that want or need to learn the German language in Germany.
  2. Student Applicant Visa (Visum Zur Studienbewerbung) – if you want to study in Germany, but are still trying to find the right program or you still haven’t got the confirmation letter from your University
  3. Student Visa (Visum Zu Studienzwecken) – if you have already been accepted to a German university.

Where and How to Apply?

As we stated earlier, the place where you should apply for your visa is the German Embassy or Consulate in your country.

First, you need to schedule an appointment  for a visa interview. On the day of the interview you should offer your visa application documents.

Additionally, you will need to respond to the interview questions that the consular officer prepares in order to closely examine you as a potential visa candidate.

Leave A Visa Appointment Soon ENGOUGH!

Before doing anything else, in order to apply for the Student Schengen Visa you need to set up a visa appointment at the German Embassy or Consulate in your country!

Check up for the available dates and make the appointment in the online system on the website of the German Embassy or Consulate in your country, soon after you will be able to plan your departure time.

Visa Interview

Visa interview is the moment where you meet with the consular officer directly as a visa applicant. The same time you need to present all the visa required documents, as your consular officer asks for them orderly. During a visa appointment the officer also makes you questions about the application, as well as personal ones which you have to answer carefully and truthfully.

Registration at the Resident’s Registration Office

  • Foreigners who seek to remain in Germany for more than 2 MONTHS they must get the Confirmation on Registration “Meldebestätigung”. To get such a confirmation a foreigner must apply at the local Resident’s Registration Office or “Einwohnermeldeamt”.
  • Foreigners who seek to remain in Germany for more than 90 DAYS or 3 MONTHS you need to possess the proper residence title. In our case  a Residence Permit “Aufenthaltsgenehmigung” is the appropriate title, intended for study purposes. A residence permit will be issued only upon the application of the visa holder at the Alien Registration Office  “Ausländerbehörde“ in the city where your university is located.

Learn more under: Registration at the Resident’s Registration Office for Study Purposes

Important Things To Know as a German Visa applicant and/or Holder

  • Additional documents can be required by the visa officer upon the visa interview
  • Appear in person in the visa interview
  • Be cautious about your passport validity- it needs to be valid for your entire period of stay, including the expected extended period
  • Bear in mind that the incomplete visa application can be refused
  • Do not stick your photographs in the visa application form
  • Don’t take anyone with you to the Embassy or Consulate during a visa interview
  • Every applicant is authorized to take legal actions against the embassy or consulate decision on her/his visa application
  • Getting your Visa For Study Purposes is important, instead of a Tourist Visa -because it gives you the opportunity to get a residence permit once in Germany REMEMBER that a Tourist Visa cannot be extended further while in Germany, in case you need to stay longer!
  • If the applicant is considered to represent a risk for the security and public order of the Schengen Area the visa will be rejected
  • In case of visa rejection the applicant gets informed about the main reason of rejection
  • Make sure for your trip to Germany to be scheduled early enough so you will have the needed time in disposition to enroll in university
  • Original documents can be required upon the arrival at the airport
  • Schengen Visa is not automatically given – so you have to wait for up to 4 MONTHS to get a response from the Embassy or Consulate and there is no guarantee you will be granted with a visa
  • The application form can be downloaded freely on the website of the Embassy or Consulate in your country
  • The passport remains at the Embassy / Consulate during the entire process of visa proceeding
  • Visa appointments should be made only through the online system (not by phone, e-mail, fax or in person)
  • Visa Fee will not be reimbursed in case of visa refusal

Paying your Student Visa

Applicants have to pay the visa fees by a bank transfer. Student visa as of 2008 is 60 Euro. Cheques or credit cards are not accepted. The money order must be in the name of the Consulate in your home country and not older than two months.

Please be aware that you will not get reimburse the visa fee if your application for a student visa gets rejected.