Five steps to studying in Germany


Make preparations

You’ve found a place on a university course in Germany? Congratulations! Now is the time to start making preparations. Here, we explain what arrangements you need to make while still in your home country.

Apply for a visa

If you are a national of an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you do not need a visa. All other international students require a visa to study in Germany. You should apply to a German mission in your home country for your student visa. You will find the address of the nearest mission to you on our interactive world map, “local contacts”. Besides presenting the notification of admission from your university, you must also prove that you are able to pay your student and Living costs in Germany. At present, this means that you must be able to prove that you have 8,640 euros a year at your disposal. Alternatively, you can ask friends or family members in Germany to submit a “declaration of commitment”  (Verpflichtungserklärung) to the foreign nationals' registration authority (Ausländerbehörde) on your behalf. In this case, you might not have to prove that you have savings of your own when applying for a visa. Moreover, you will need health insurance. Depending on which country you come from, you will have to present additional documents. This is why it is advisable to ask the German mission in your home country what documents are required. You will find out more about the question of visas on the Web site of the German Foreign Office and on the Web site of the German Academic Exchange Service. Once in Germany, you then have to apply for a residence permit.

Take out health insurance

Before you even leave your home country, you must take out health insurance which is recognised in Germany for the early period of your stay there. This is because you need to have health insurance in order to apply for a preparatory course or to enrol at a university. Once you have enrolled at the university, you can switch to the mandatory German health insurance scheme. You will find more help on choosing health insurance on the advice pages of the Deutsches Studentenwerk Web site.

Find accommodation

Many students in Germany live in student residences. The rooms are reasonably priced and you can quickly make friends there. This is why places in student residences are much sought-after and not easy to get. If you want to rent one of these rooms, apply to the accommodation office of the respective student social services (Studentenwerk) at your university before coming to Germany. It will provide information about room availability and rent. The new German Academic Exchange Service’s Accommodation database will help you in your search for a student residence at your chosen university and full information about how to apply. Also, you will find the addresses of the student associations on the Web site The International Office (or Akademisches Auslandsamt) of your university will also be of help to you. You can find out more about looking for accommodation in Germany on the Make it in Germany Web site under Guide to “Living in Germany” as well as on the Web site of the German Academic Exchange Service.

Prepare to enrol

Have you already obtained admission to a university? Remember that you will only be able to make use of all the services of your university, such as the library, once you have enrolled. You are normally expected to come in person to the university to enrol. Make careful note of the deadline by which you have to enrol. You will receive full information with the notification of admission, but you can also find it on the Web site of the German Academic Exchange Service.

If you want to know exactly what awaits you in Germany and whether other foreign students enjoyed life and university here, you can discuss it with them over the Internet. You will find lots of contacts on the Alumniportal Deutschland site (German, English).

“Germany – new horizons” is a film by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) about studying and living in Germany! Six students from all over the world talk about their new home, the city where they are studying and the conditions for studying in Germany. You can view the video on the DAAD YouTube channel.

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