How to apply for a student visa in Germany

students looking at a laptop

How to apply for a student visa in Germany

If the thought of connecting with people from different cultures and learning in a new environment sounds exciting to you, then you should consider studying abroad. Many students pass up this chance due to financial concerns or the fear of living life on their own in a foreign country. We are here today to help you apply for a student visa in Germany.

Which nationalities need a visa to enter Germany?

Let us start by discussing if you need a visa to enter Germany and how to apply for the right visa

EU, EEA or Switzerland

You do not need a visa or other documentation to come to Germany to study if you are a citizen of a country within the EU, EEA or Switzerland. However, after you arrive and find accommodation, you must register with the local resident’s registration office.

Other countries that do not need visas for entry

Certain other nationalities do not need visas to enter Germany, however, the same as in the previous example applies that once they arrive they are required to register with the local residents’ registration office. 

Please check the Federal Foreign Office website to see if your home country is included among countries that do not require entry visas to Germany.

Countries with an entry visa requirement

You will need a visa if you are coming from a country other than the ones listed above. This implies that you must submit a visa application in your country of residence. Application processing could take several months, so be mindful to apply well in advance

Student visa for pursuing studies in Germany

You should apply for a student visa once you have received your letter of acceptance from the university you applied to. The typical length of a student visa is three months. Within this time frame, you need to submit an application for a residence permit at the local residents’ registration office

If your letter of acceptance has been confirmed but has not yet arrived or you need to pass an entrance exam, you should apply for a student applicant visa. The student applicant visa is valid for three months and can be extended by six additional months through the residence permit to comply with the complete admission requirements, as well as the possibility to switch it into a residence permit for studies, once having been admitted to study.

*Please note that a tourist visa cannot be converted to a student visa.

How to apply for a student visa in Germany

Let us take you through an easy, step-by-step of how to apply.

Step 1: Check requirements

You will have to meet the following:

  • You have been granted admission to an officially recognised university in Germany.
  • You can provide proof of a secondary school diploma that enables you to enrol at a university or proof of a recognised degree or diploma from an accredited university
  • You can support your cost of living for the duration of your studies. This can be done by opening a blocked account (with at least 11.208 EUR per year; amount valid for 2023), getting a scholarship or signing a declaration of commitment
  • Depending on the admission requirements, you may be asked to provide proof of language to the German Embassy or Consulate. If this is the case, you will normally need at least a B2 level in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

Step 2: Make an appointment at the German embassy

This will allow you to gather the required documents for your student visa application:

  • Letter of acceptance
  • Valid passport
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Records of previous study and language skills
  • Visa application form

Step 3: Submit your application in your country of residence

Here, you bring all the necessary paperwork to the German embassy in your home country. A one-time fee of 75 EUR (in local currency) is applicable. 

Step 4: Enter Germany

Once your student visa has been approved and issued, you can enter Germany.

Step 5: Apply for a residence permit

The residence permit can be issued for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. If you have not completed your study programme within this time, you can request to extend your residence permit.

  • Make an appointment with the local residents’ registration office
  • Ask for a list of the documents you need and prepare them
  • Submit an application for a residence permit for studying
  • Handling fees can be up to 100 EUR

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog post on how to apply for a student visa in Germany. Should you choose to start your studies here, take a look at our on-campus master’s degrees we offer.


At PFH we make sure you receive a high-quality education while fully experiencing being an international student!