Studying in Germany comes with great benefits, from top standard education to Tuition-free public universities, Germany is a choice location of study for most foreign students. It is common knowledge that foreigners need a visa before embarking on a journey to other countries, hence the next thing after securing an admission to study in Germany is ‘How to Get a German Student Visa’?. Student visas come in all degrees, depending on your purpose of going to that study. If you plan on moving to Germany for your studies, you need a student visa. In this article, I throw more light on how to get a German visa, as a foreign student.
Germany is an EU nation, and for that reason, citizens from EU countries are allowed a free pass to study in Germany, without a visa! Some other countries that are not part of the EU, also get a free pass. These include Australia Andorra San Marino, Switzerland, United States, South Korea, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Monaco, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, and New Zealand. However, you still have to register with the Local Resident’s Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt). In addition, for the other countries listed that are not in the EU, you need to get a residence permit 90 days upon the arrival. If your country is not listed here, this article is specifically for you.
There are three different kinds of student visas, depending on your needs at that time.
- Student Applicant Visa: This visa allows you to enter Germany, without getting a formal letter of admission from the institution you applied to. This visa is suitable for applicants who are yet to receive admission or are to take an entrance exam on-site. This visa also lets you take German language courses in Germany, while you await resumption. It is durable for three months, but it is subject to six months extension. This visa is basically for applicants who need to be in Germany to get admission into an institution. This short-term visa is called Schengen.
- Language Course Visa: This visa is suitable for those who want to take a German language course, in Germany. This visa can be durable from three months to a year. The Embassy will determine the duration to issue to you.
- Student Visa: This is the main student visa. It is long-term and spans the duration of your studies. You can only apply for this visa if you have been granted admission to a German university. It is important to add that for you to get your Residence permit with this visa, register with the ‘Alien Registration Office’ at most in two weeks upon your arrival in Germany.
Now you know the different visas available for you as a foreigner looking to study in Germany, let us dive into the prerequisites to obtaining a German student visa.
- Valid National Passport: This serves as a means of identification, and that you are a citizen of the country you claim.
- Two Signed and Filled Visa Forms: This shows all the required information needed to process your visa, and your signature acknowledges that the information is accurate.
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate (If any): This is an important document, showing your marital status as it may prove vital information in the future if needed.
- Children’s Certificate (If any): This goes to show if you have any children.
- Two Passport Photographs, taken recently: Format 3.5 cm by 4.5 cm. This is for bio-metric purposes.
- Previous Residence Permit (If any)
- Previous Schengen visa (If any)
- Curriculum Vitae: This will relay information about your educational background and work experience. You are moving to a new country, they must know this kind of vital information concerning your background.
- Admission Letter: You need this to prove that you have been accepted into a German institution. If you have not yet been offered admission, you can take a printed email correspondence with your proposed institution, to show that you may likely be admitted.
- Motivational Letter: This is where you share why you wish to study your chosen course of study, and why you chose Germany. You may need to impress and convince the officials at this point, so take out time to write your motivational letter.
- German Health Insurance (Krankenversicherung): This is proof that you are fit to travel and study in Germany. If you are less than 29 years at the time of applying, you stand a chance to get free student health insurance, issued by the German Student Visa. You can read more about German Health Insurance here.
- Proof of Visa Application Fee Payment: This is a receipt to shows that you have paid for the visa application fee. It currently costs about €75, but be sure to check the German embassy in your country when you are ready to apply. You may check The German Missions Abroad to know the one in your country.
- Proof of German Language Proficiency: If you are to study a course that is offered in Germany, you must submit proof of German proficiency to show that you would be able to communicate and understand the language that you would be taught.
- Proof of English Language Proficiency: You can provide an IELTS result to prove that you are proficient in the English Language if your course of study is offered in English. Alternatively, it is possible to show a Certificate of English proficiency issued by the Registrar’s office of your university if you are applying for a postgraduate study placement; this document simply informs and certifies that your previous study was in English language, hence you are proficient in English.
- Transcript of Academic Record
Proof of Financial Assets (Finanzieruungsnachweis): Tuition is free in most German universities. However, you must prove that you have the funds to take care of your needs in Germany. Essential needs like accommodation and feeding can not be overlooked. There are different documents you can show as proof. They include:
- Letter of Commitment (Verpflichtungserklärung): This is a letter by a German resident, maybe a relative, owning responsibility for you, that they will take care of your expenses and provide accommodation for you during your stay in Germany. This can also be evidence of your parent’s or guardian’s financial capabilities.
- German Bank Blocked Account: You need to open a German blocked account and deposit the sum of €10,332. You can open a blocked account online here.
- Scholarship Award Certificate: If you got a scholarship to study in a German institution, you can provide this document as proof that your expenses would be covered during your studies.
These documents may seem a lot and overwhelming, but they are required before you can get a visa to study in Germany. You can learn more about the above three methods of proof of funds by referring to this post that completely describes each of the processes. After knowing all that would be required of you, the next course of action is the actual application for a visa.
- Visit the German embassy or consulate in your region. Do this to get more information on how you can book an appointment, and carry on with your application. You can run a simple Google map search for the location closest to you. This would also let you know their working hours.
- Upon getting there, inquire about the requirements for applying for a visa. They have been listed above, but it is important to still confirm at the embassy.
- When you are sure that you possess all the required documents, go ahead and book an appointment. Follow the procedures as prescribed on the official site of your country’s German Embassy. You would need to do this early enough because many other people may be in a queue. To ensure that you are attended to in good time, book early enough.
- Get ready for your visa interview. Make sure you pay the non-refundable visa application fee, get your documents ready in time for the interview.
You can learn more about the German student visa requirement by checking the website of Destiney Arkaden, a group that specializes in providing information about studying & working in Germany. You can also connect to them here on SetLinn, @arkaden.
Now you are set for your interview, do not be worried. If your documents are all intact, all you have to do is prepare yourself for the interview. You can ask people who have undergone the process of possible interview questions and how to answer them. You can also check this YouTube channel for insights.
As a rule of thumb, you need to apply months before your expected departure date. This is because many people will be applying for the same course. You do not want to get held up or lose your admission because you did not get your visa in time. You also want to be in Germany, just in time for resumption, so that you do not miss anything.
Also note that additional documents that have not to be stated above may be required above, depending on the requirements from your region. Your visa may be rejected for a slight mistake of forgetting a document.
Have your documents arranged, and intact before going for the interview. Note that, the visa application fees are non-refundable; this means you can not get a refund if you do not attend the interview, or if you change your mind.
Depending on the requests at your country’s consulate, and the time you apply, it can take up to 6 to 12 weeks before you get a response concerning your application. If the visa is rejected, the reason would be clearly stated in the correspondence. Do not worry, get everything right, and you will be on your way to studying in Germany.