Study Visas: Visas to study in Germany

Germany has some of the world’s top universities. Education in Germany is FREE. That is to say, you will not pay anything for tuition, or may be required to pay just a few hundred Euros. Germany has many job opportunities. Also, Germany is economically and politically stable. Consequently, most international students find Germany as a favourable place to pursue their higher education. However, students from foreign countries need a German student visa to study in Germany.

What is the German student visa?

Foreigners are not allowed to stay and work or study in German without the appropriate visa. The German Student Visa is an official document that enables a foreigner to move and stay in Germany while pursuing their studies for a specific period. Similarly, a German work visa permits a non-German national to stay and work in Germany.

Who is eligible for a German student visa?

As a foreigner, you must be eligible before you can get a study visa. You are eligible to apply if you:

  1. Want to engage in a research project in Germany.
  2. Need to complete a Doctoral degree.
  3. Have to enrol in a foundation course before applying in a German University.
  4. Have to take a foundation course (Studienkolleg) to prepare for the Qualification assessment examination (Feststellungsprüfung)
  5. Are expecting a response on your University or Higher education application from a German university.
  6. Have just received a letter of admission from a German University.

You have to apply for the appropriate German Student visa at the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country. However, there are some nationals from certain countries who do not need a visa to move to Germany. On the other hand, some citizens from other countries do need a German visa.

Schedule a visa application early enough. Apply for the visa at least 3 months before your intended travel date to Germany.

Apply for a residence permit if you intend to stay in Germany for more than 90 days. This applies individuals who came in with a short-stay permit and are willing to stay for study or work in Germany.

Types of German Student Visas

As mentioned herein, you have to apply for the appropriate study visa. In short, there are 3 types of German study visas. These visas are awarded to individuals willing to pursue various kinds of studies in Germany.

  1. Student Visa (Visum Zu Studienzwecken): This is for students who have already been accepted at a German University.
  2. Student Applicant Visa (Visum Zur Studienbewerbung): This type is for individuals who want to study in Germany. However, they are still trying to get enrolled in a German school. Similarly, those who have not gotten a confirmation letter from the school.
  3. Language Course Visa (Visa for Language Learning): This if for participating in German language courses. This visa is valid for at least 3 months, and at most 12 months.

How to apply for a German Student Visa?

Apply for a German student visa at the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country. You have to schedule an appointment to attend an interview at the embassy or consulate. Also, you must provide all the necessary documents for a student visa.

The consular officer will ask you questions to find out if you are a potential candidate for a visa. The interview takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Follow the steps below to get your student visa.

Schedule an appointment

Schedule a visa appointment at the appropriate German embassy or consulate. This should be at least 3 months before your intended travel date. The embassy or consulates treats many applications. Be early to avoid delays. Also, take note of the date your studies start in Germany.

The online system of the German Embassy or Consulate has forms that you can submit to schedule an appointment. Check the available dates for an appointment and book yours.

Go for the interview

This usually lasts from 10-15 minutes. The consular collects your application documents. Arrange all the required documents in order. The consular officers ask questions about the application and your personal life. Provide answers that match the documents you submitted. Be truthful else you may jeopardize your chance of getting the study visa.

Register at the Resident’s Registration Office

Non-Germans willing to stay for more than 8 weeks in Germany must get a confirmation on Registration. The Germans call it “Meldebestätigung”. Apply at the closest Resident’s Registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) to get this confirmation.

Unlike people willing to stay for 2 months (8 weeks), those seeking to stay more than 90 days (3 months) need to obtain the appropriate residence permit. A residence permit is issued to the student in the city where the University is located. The student applies for the residence permit at the Alien Registration Office.

Read all you need to know to Register at the Resident’s Office for Study purposes.

Some Important points to note when applying for a study visa

  • Get a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for your entire period of stay in Germany.
  • The consular may require additional documents during the interview. Therefore, you will have to provide these documents thereafter.
  • Attend your interview yourself. Do not let anyone stand for you.
  • Do not take anyone along with you for the interview. Go alone!
  • Provide all the required documents. An incomplete will lead to rejection.
  • Do not attach your photo to the application.
  • Also, every applicant can take legal actions against the embassy for the decision on their visa application decision.
  • Unlike the Tourist / Visitor Visa, the student visa enables you to get a German Residence Permit. As a student on a student visa, you will get a residence permit once you are in Germany. However, a visitor on a Tourist Visa has to apply to stay longer than 90 days in Germany.
  • Provided that you are denied a visa, you will be told why your visa application request was rejected.
  • You will not get a visa if you appear to be a threat to the Security and order of the Schengen Area.
  • Travel with your original documents. They may be required upon arrival at the airport.
  • It may take up to 4 months before getting a reply on your German student visa application. However, there is no guarantee that you will be awarded the visa.
  • Visa appointments must be made only through the online system.
  • The German Embassy or Consulate withholds your passport during the processing of your application.
  • Download the application form for free. Find it at the German Embassy website of your home country.
  • The visa application fee is non-refundable.

Application fee for a German study visa

Firstly, note that the application fee is non-refundable. That is to say, you lose the money if you are not awarded the student visa. However, the application fee is €75.

Applicants pay this application only by bank transfer. This means that credit cards, cheques or any other methods of payment are not allowed. The money must be paid in the name of the German embassy or consulate in your home country. The payment must be done not more than 2 months before the interview.

Processing time for the study visa for Germany

The processing time for a German student visa depends on the type of study visa. To clarify, a short-stay student visa takes less than 30 days to process. This is usually, 15-30 days for German consular officers to decide. On the other hand, it takes 6 to 12 weeks to process a long-stay German visa. It is recommended to start your application as early as possible to avoid delays. Many students are applying for this same visa.

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