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Visas and residence

  • Citizens of so-called third countries who want to study in Germany normally need a visa to enter Germany. Citizens from EU, EFTA and certain other countries do not require a visa. more information...
  • For citizens of EU accession states transitional regulations will remain in place for a few years in some areas (right of domicile and labour law). This means that people in this group will often be subject to the same regulations as citizens of third countries. Information can be found on the European Commission website.
  • There are two different types of visa for students:

    1. Student application visa:
    • Used to prepare for studying (for example German course),
    • Issued if you have applied for a place but have not yet gained admission,
    • Normally valid for three months but can be extended to a maximum of nine months,
    • Can subsequently be converted to a student visa if you have been admitted to a course of study.

    2. Student visa:
    • Used to reside in Germany for study purposes,
    • Issued if you have been admitted to a course of study,
    • Initially issued for one or two years (can be extended, provided you can produce confirmation of enrolment after this period).
  • You must apply for the "correct" visa from the German overseas agencyin your home country. A tourist or language course visa cannot subsequently be converted into a student application or student visa.
  • To obtain a student visa, you must produce a confirmation of funding for the duration of your studies in Germany, as foreigners are not allowed to completely finance their studies by working.
  • The DAAD information sheet contains detailed information about entry and residence regulations for international students and academics in PDF format.
  • Detailed information can also be found on the website of the German Foreign Office. The German overseas agency in your home country can inform you of the required documents to be submitted when applying for the visa. Here you will find an overview of all German overseas agencies.
  • The Department for Immigration and Refugees provides information on its integration portal in German and English on the most frequent questions relating to immigration and asylum law.
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