How can I get a student visa for Germany?

You should get a student visa if you are planning to study in Germany. After completing all the conditions for admission to a German university – read our previous article Admission requirements and how to enroll in German universities – the stage of applying for a study visa in Germany starts.

Study visa in Germany

Visas depend on the origin country of the applicant. Applicants from countries within the EU do not require a student visa in Germany. As for applicants from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea, they must only register with the Local Population Registration Office and the Foreigners Registration Office for obtaining a residence permit. This is done within two weeks of reaching the country.

On the other hand, applicants from the rest of the world, including Arab countries, they will need a visa to enter Germany. Basically, it must be applied through the local German embassy or consulate in the home country.

Types of student visa to Germany

There are three types of study visa you can apply for in order to study in Germany.

Standard student visa 

This is the “normal” student visa you request once you receive your acceptance letter from an institution of higher education in Germany. 

Prospective student visa

This is a visa that students who have not yet received a notification of admission at a university in Germany should apply for, so they don’t miss the start of their study programs. This visa is valid for 3 months and can be extended to up to 6 months. And you can exchange it for a residence permit for the purpose of study once you have been accepted in the university of your choice. 

German language course visa

As suggested in the name, this is a visa you apply for if you plan to go to Germany to study the language. 

Find out here your options if you want to learn German in Germany.

How to apply for a student visa to Germany

You must apply for a student visa to Germany, at least threemonths before moving to the country. Therefore, in order to do so, the studentwill need to contact the local German embassy or consulate in their homecountry.

Germany student visa requirements

The visa application form to be filled out correctly andcompletely.

  • Valid passport.
  • Two photographs.
  • Letter of acceptance from a German university.
  • Academic record document.
  • German or English language certificate or proof of completing a language course
  • Financial proof for studying and living in Germany, estimated at 8,700 euros per year.
  • Proof of purchase of health insurance.
  • Declaration of the validity of the submitted documents.
  • Free criminal record, or certificate of good conduct.
  • Proof of absence of diseases.


One of the ways in which you can obtain a financial proof is by depositing a payment into a blocked account, i.e. you cannot withdraw money from this account even after reaching Germany. Besides, the criminal record and the certificate of free-of-disease depend on the embassy or consulate in the home country. This means that it’s not a mandatory requirement in all German embassies and consulates.

Cost of a student visa to Germany

The application fee for a German student visa is €75 that applicants usually have to pay by bank transfer. The transfer order must be in the name of the embassy/consulate in the student’s home country and should not be older than 2 months. Moreover, payments using checks or credit cards are not accepted.

Germany student visa: processing time

Processing time for the study visa to Germany may take months. This is therefore important to start the application process as soon as possible, even before getting an admission letter from a university. In that case, you apply for a visa as a prospective student, then exchange it for a residence permit upon your arrival in Germany. Moreover, it’s not possible to convert a tourist visa into a student visa, so make sure you apply for the right type of document to enter Germany.

How to apply for a residence permit for study purpose in Germany

In addition to the student visa, you must apply for a residence permit upon arrival in Germany. It’s a one-time application that is renewed every two years by registering with your local foreign registration office, within two weeks of the student’s arrival.

Furthermore, the application for a residence permit for study purposes must be specified.

Required documents

It is similar to that a student needs to obtain a visa:

  • Proof of private or public health insurance. It also must be valid.
  • University registration certificate.
  • Proof of enough funding to study and live in Germany.
  • Valid passport.
  • Visa
  • Certificate of absence of diseases, if any.
  • Lease agreement or proof of residence.
  • The residence permit fee. Indeed, it varies from region to region and from time to time. Hence, the local Foreign Registration Office should confirm this information.
  • Proof of proficiency in German or English.

Notes regarding residence permits:

You must apply for a residence permit within two weeks of arrival in Germany. In case of delay, the student will be fined.

Basically, these residence permits are valid for two years and, if necessary, must be renewed at least one week before their expiry. Moreover, residence permits usually cost EUR 110 for the first time, then the fee reaches EUR 80 per extension.

Related Topics

Top 10 universities to study in Germany

Admission requirements and how to enroll in German universities

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