Most international students and lecturers or research scholars require a visa to enter Germany. There are two types of visas for students and applicants for university admission and one visa type for lecturers and research scholars. If you enter Germany without the proper visa, you will not be able to apply for a student visa (i.e. residence permit to study at a higher education institution). Without this permit you are not allowed to study at a German university.

Exceptions: Students from EU countries, from member countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Switzerland und the USA do not have to apply for a visa. All of these persons - except citizens from EU countries - apply for a residence permit after their arrival. Students from Andorra, Honduras and San Marino do not require a visa if no gainful employment in Germany is planned before or after the study period in Germany. In this case, students also apply for a residence permit after their arrival.

REMEMBER: Applying for a visa can take several weeks. Contact the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country well in advance to find out how long processing time is.

Student Applicant Visas: You must apply for a student applicant visa before you have been accepted to a German higher education institution and want to apply after your arrival in Germany. You can combine the application phase with the orientation for course offerings and language courses.

You will most likely have to present the following documents when applying for a visa. Please ensure that this list corresponds to the stipulations of the German Embassy or German Consulate where you apply for the visa.

  • Proof of university entrance qualifications (such as A-levels, high school diploma, baccalaureat, Gaocao)
  • if available: university records (university entrance examination, enrolment certificate, transcripts, diploma) indicating the specialjty or degree course
  • Proof of German language proficiency or proof of plans to complete an intensive German language course in Germany
  • Proof of sufficient health insurance (including medical and dental services, prescription drugs, bandages and other cures and remedies, hospital treatment, medical rehabilitation benefits, pregnancy and childbirth benefits)
  • Proof of financial support for one year (approx. €850 per month for cost of living expenses as demonstrated by documented proof of scholarship or notarized documentation of other financial resources such as a commitment)

The student applicant visa is normally issued for a period of three months. It can be extended by six months if the student applicant can provide documentation on admission to a higher education institution, to a German course or a foundation course.

The student applicant visa can be converted to a student visa (i.e. a residence permit for purposes of studying in Germany) if the student can provide documentation proving admission to a German higher education institution. 

Student visas: You can apply for a student visa if you meet the following criteria. In some cases certain criteria must already be met when you apply for the visa.

Please ensure well in advance that this list corresponds to the stipulations of the German embassy or German consulate.

Documentation proving admission to a higher education institution OR:

  • Place reservation
  • Application confirmation
  • Written confirmation from the university that acceptance to a degree course can only be decided if the applicant appears in person at the university.
  • if available: university records (university entrance examination, enrolment certificate, transcripts, diploma) indicating the speciality or degree course
  • Proof of German language proficiency or proof of plans to complete an intensive German language course in Germany (e.g. registration confirmation)
  • Proof of sufficient health insurance (including medical and dental services, prescription drugs, bandages and other cures and remedies, hospital treatment, medical rehabilitation benefits, pregnancy and childbirth benefits)
  • Proof of financial support for one year (approx. €850 per month for cost of living expenses as demonstrated by documented proof of scholarship or notarized documentation of other financial resources such as a commitment)

Student visas are normally issued for a period of three months.