Welcome to Germany!
Dear students, welcome to Germany! The country of Einstein and beer has so much to share with you. Below you can find all the information you need to succeed in your German journey.
How to apply for a visa in German?
You don’t need a visa if you come from:
- European Union
- European Economic Area (EEA)
- Swiss Citizens
If you come from outside of those above, you can apply for:
- German Student Visa: (Visum Zur Studienzwecken) which is for those who have already been accepted into a university
- Language Course Visa: for those accepted into a language preparatory course that lasts between three months and one year
- Student Applicant Visa: (Visum Zur Studienbewerbung), which is for those who haven’t chosen their course yet, or who are still awaiting confirmation of acceptance from their choice university.
Documents you’ll need:
– Health insurance
– Proof of funds
– Qualifications (high school diploma)
– Language certificates
Keep in mind that all official documents, if not in the required language for the application, must be translated by a sworn, official translator who works with the embassy. They will be able to provide details regarding this.
Applying for a student visa in Germany has a fee of €75
Normally it takes 6 weeks for your visa application to be processed. In case of incomplete or imprecise documentation though it can take up to 12 weeks. Make sure to apply for you German visa at least three months before your moving date. In case of short term visas, it will only take 2-10 days. Note that on a short term visa you are only allowed to stay for 90 days and can not work (make money).
Who to contact:
For more information about visa and specific country requirements visit the website:
Check out the Visa Navigator:
Make sure you do not try to get your long stay visa through a certified agency, it should be directly through the respective government authority (embassy, consulate, etc.), double check, always!
Do not procrastinate, get done as soon as you arrive in the country.
Even though Germany is said to be very straightforward and well functioning, there is some stuff you have got to do after arriving in Germany. If you are travelling on a visa (not EU students), you will have to get a registration certificate and a residence permit. Without these you might not be able to f.e. open a bank account.
- Registration certificate: As soon as you have found your dream apartment in Germany, you have to make your way to the Einwohnermeldeamt (residents registration office) or Bürgeramt (citizens office) within the first two weeks of moving in. Also Germans have to do that all the time, even when they move within the same street. Once registered, you will receive your registration certificate. This simple paper confirms that you are living at a specific address in Germany. You’ll need that one for: opening a bank account, applying for a library card or a parking permit.
Required Documents:ID card/passport, with visa (if required), Rental contract and a confirmation by landlord that you moved in
TIP: Sometimes additional documents such as your certificate of matriculation are required. Large cities like Berlin have multiple offices for that matter. You have to find the one in your district by typing “Bürgeramt” or “Einwohnermeldeamt” + “Name of your district” into maps.
- Residence permit: Moving to Germany not coming from EU countries, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Icelandand Norway, you have to obtain a residence permit. This one you can get at the “Ausländerbehörde” (foreigners office). In order to obtain the permit, you have to be enrolled at a uni. Otherwise, you could apply for a residence permit only valid for the application process of your uni, which can later be converted. You will receive a chip card which contains your information in most of the cases. Usually it will take between 4-6 weeks for this chip card to get ready.
Documents required: Passport with visa (if required), Certificate of enrollment from your uni,Registration certificate, Proof of secure livelihood (For the initial issue: e.g. blocked account (Sperrkonto) at a German Bank with 9,936 euros / submission of a declaration of commitment by a third party on an official form / scholarship / notarized declaration from parents securing the livelihood for the duration of the studies with proof of the income of the parents in the last six months, For the extension: bank statements of the last six months),Health insurance , Cash for the fee (up to 110 EUR), 1 Biometric photocopy (35mm x 45mm)
TIP: Student residence permits are issued for up to 2 years but have to be extended. If you don’t take university serious enough (f.e. Don’t take exams…) you will have trouble obtaining the next permit.
- Drivers License: You like taking a car to go when you are in a rush? Might not be the best idea if you do not want to get arrested! Check if your driver’s license is valid in Germany if you come from outside the EU. For some countries you may have to convert it or even have to retake the test in order to operate a car or motorbike in Germany. If you have your main residence in Germany, your license from outside the EU will be valid for 6 months, open to extension. All of these things can only be done through an appointment.(http://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/121598/) You have to go to the related authority and hand in your documents yourself (or someone with power of attorney) and pay at the counter (35-42,60€).