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Visa for studying

Do you want to study in Germany? A German degree opens many doors. There is a wide range of international programmes of study and the fees are low. You are able to obtain a visa to study in Germany. A residence permit in accordance with Section 16(b) AufenthG (German Residence Act) also applies to preparatory measures taken prior to attending a higher education institution, such as language courses, attending preparatory colleges or similar facilities, or doctoral studies as part of a full time program at a German higher education institution.

To find out whether you require a visa to enter Germany, see Who needs a visa?.
 

What are the requirements to issue a visa for studying?

  • You’ve been accepted to an officially recognised higher education institution in Germany. To learn about how to apply to study at a German university, see Study.
     
  • You can provide proof of a secondary school diploma enabling you to study at a higher education institution, or proof of a recognised degree or diploma from a higher education institution.
     
  • You can cover your costs of living for the duration of your studies. This can be done by way of a blocked account (with at least EUR 10,236 per year; amount valid for 2020), scholarships or a declaration of commitment.
     
  • You might be required to provide proof of the required language skills for your study programme to the German Embassy or Consulate regardless of the admission requirements for your study programme. If you are required to provide proof of your German language skills, you will generally need at least a B2 level in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Do you fulfil these requirements? Learn about the procedure for the entry visa process.
 

What opportunities does the visa for studying offer?

The residence permit for study purposes can be issued for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. If you have not obtained your degree within this time, you can request to have your residence permit extended.

Throughout your studies you may work 120 full days or 240 half days, in addition to performing student jobs.
 

Staying in Germany after obtaining your degree

After successfully obtaining your degree, you can extend your stay in Germany by applying for a residence permit for jobseekers in accordance with Section 20 (3) no. 1 AufenthG (German Residence Act). The residence permit is issued for up to 18 months as a means to find qualified employment in Germany. You are allowed to perform any job while searching for qualified employment. As soon as you’ve received a job offer, you can apply directly in Germany to have your residence permit for study purposes converted into a work permit for qualified professionals or into an EU Blue Card. Further information regarding the options available to you while you study in Germany and after obtaining your degree can be obtained under Prospects after graduating.

Info box

Graduates of German higher education institutions can apply for a settlement permit (Section 18c (1), pg. 2 AufenthG (German Residence Act)) after having been employed in Germany for over two years.

Mobility arrangements for international students

Do you hold a study visa from another EU member state? Would you like to complete a portion of your studies in Germany? If your stay in Germany is no longer than 360 days, a residence permit for Germany is not required.  However, you must inform the responsible authority in the other EU member state, in addition to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), about your plans to stay in Germany for study purposes.

Various documents must be presented when informing the authorities about your plans study elsewhere.
 

At a glance: Visa for studying (PDF)
 

Visa for the purpose of applying for a course of study

Have you decided to attend a higher education institution in Germany but have yet to be admitted? If certain requirements are fulfilled, you may be entitled to enter Germany with a visa for the purpose of applying for a course of study in accordance with Section 17 (2) AufenthG (German Residence Act).

See Who needs a visa? to find out whether you require a visa to enter Germany.
 

What are the requirements to issue a visa for the purpose of applying for a course of study?

  • You can provide proof of a post-secondary school diploma that immediately enables you to study at a German university or a college-level institution.
     
  • You fulfil the required language requirements for the course of study in question. Consult your local German Embassy or Consulate to find out which documents are required.
     
  • Your costs of living are covered for the entire duration of your stay, as you will not be able to obtain employment during this time.  You can provide proof of being able to cover living costs by opening a blocked account or by submitting a declaration of commitment.

Do you fulfil these requirements? Learn about the procedure for the entry visa process.
 

What opportunities does a visa for the purpose of applying to a course of study offer?

The visa or residence permit  for the purpose of applying to a course of study enables you to stay in Germany for up to 9 months. During this time, you can apply to a higher education institution or apply to take part in university preparatory classes. Examples of university preparatory classes would be attending languages classes or a college-level institution. A residence permit for the purpose of applying to university (Glossareintrag) cannot be extended for the same purposes.

Please note that you are not allowed to obtain employment in Germany while holding a visa for the purpose of applying to a course of study.

Were you accepted to a German university or college-level institution? If so, go to your local Foreigners Authority and apply for a residence permit for the purpose of studying in Germany in accordance with Section 16b AufenthG (German Residence Act).
 

At a glance: Visa for the purpose of finding a course of study or a training program (PDF)

Information on the internet

Federal Foreign Office (FFO)

You can find out which visa you need in order to come to Germany with the Visa-Navigator. (German, English)

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Centre of Excellence for Asylum, Migration and Integration in Germany (German, English)

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