How to get a student
visa for Germany
Studying and living
in downtown Berlin
Visa Regulations for Language Course and Studies in Germany
One of the most important aspects for your studies in Germany is your visa. Many international students require a visa to be able to study in Germany and you are of course not alone in this! The International Office of the VICTORIA | International University of Applied Sciences will guide you through the process and offers ongoing individual counseling regarding your studies in Germany.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind, depending on where you are from, the requirements for visas vary. We can therefore provide you with general information and tips but recommend obtaining the exact requirements for your visa from the German embassy or consulate in your home country.
1. Do I need a visa for studying in Germany?
In general, citizens of EU member states, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland no not need any visa. They can use their national IDs to enter Germany. After arrival they need, however, to register with the Resident Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt).
If you are a citizen of Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, and San Marino the Republic of Korea or the United States of America, you can enter Germany and apply for a residence permit within 90 days after your arrival. Here you can find the documents you need for the application. You also have to register with the Resident Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt).
Citizens of any other country have to apply for a visa and to register with the Resident Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) after arrival in Germany.
2. How does the visa process work?
It is essential to familiarize yourself with the visa process as soon as possible, since it can take a while to collect all necessary documents, get an appointment and ultimately to receive your visa. Depending on where your education journey in Germany will start, you will need a different type of visa (see no. 3). The exact requirements for each visa that apply to your home country can be obtained from the German embassy or consulate in your home country. Here you can find a list with all German representations abroad.
You can make an appointment with the embassy or consulate directly online or, in some countries, through a private service provider. We recommend checking the website of the German representation in your home country to find out which option is offered. Make sure to show up well prepared and in time to your appointment. If you cannot make it, cancel it well in advance to ensure it will not reflect negatively on your application.
3. What type of student visa do I need for Germany?
First language course, then studies
If your plan is to study in German at VICTORIA, you need to learn the language at least up to a B2 level according to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). To be able to attend a German language course before studying, you should apply for a visa for study preparation. This is usually valid for three months, but you can extend it in Germany for up to two years. This will give you enough time to learn German, take German exams, apply to universities, and fulfill other entry requirements. As soon as you are enrolled in a German university, you can convert this visa into a student residence permit.
You have the necessary language skills already, applied to universities but do not yet have an admission letter? You can apply for a student applicant visa. It is not necessary to present a letter of admission with your application. This type of visa is usually valid for three months, but you can extend it in Germany up to six months. You convert it to a student residence permit as soon as you are enrolled at a university.
Ready for university – Student Visa
You already got accepted by a German university? Then you can apply for a student visa. It will be issued for three months first but can be extended for the duration of your studies in Germany after arrival.
4. Which documents do I need for my visa in Germany?
The documents for a visa application can vary from country to country. We therefore recommend checking with the German embassy or consulate in your home country. Here you can find a list with all German representations abroad. In general, you will probably need at least these documents:
- Valid passport
- One biometric photograph in format 35 mm by 45 mm
- Health insurance. We recommend getting a travel insurance as a preliminary proof of health insurance that covers the first 3 months in Germany. In Germany, you will have to take out a public or private insurance that covers the rest of your stay.
- Proof of language skills: present a language certificate or an enrollment confirmation showing that you plan to attend a German language course in Germany before starting your studies (If you book a course with VICTORIA | Academy of Languages, we can provide you with this proof)
- Certificates of university entrance qualification, e.g., Bachelor’s degree, secondary school degree
- For a Student Visa: acceptance letter from German university
- For a Student Applicant Visa: proof of university application. This can be correspondence with your future university or a letter stating that you are likely to be admitted.
- Proof of secure livelihood: This can be a blocked account at a German bank (Sperrkonto), a declaration of commitment by a third party on an official form (Verpflichtungserklärung), a scholarship, a notarized declaration from parents securing the livelihood for the duration of the studies with proof of the income of the parents (Vermögensnachweis) or a bank guarantee (Bankbürgschaft)
Find out more about financing your studies in our article about financing options.