You can apply for a Germany National Visa (D Visa) to study in Germany on the basis that you meet all the required criteria. The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before the start date of your course. You will get decision on your student visa application within 6 to 12 weeks.
For studies that last more than 3 months, you need a German National Visa. If you enter Germany with a national visa you have to extend your stay by getting a German residence permit for studies at the Foreigner’s Office. You should do this while your entry visa is still valid.
Medical Insurance Requirements
It is mandatory in Germany for foreign students to have a health insurance during their studies. Proof of health insurance is required to get enrolled at a Germany university and to get your student visa. There are two types of German health insurance schemes you can choose from: public health insurance and private health insurance.
Students pursuing a Bachelors or Master’s degree under the age of 30, are eligible for public health insurance. However, you have to get private health insurance in Germany if:
- You are a student over the age of 30,
- You are a guest scientist, post-graduate student, scholarship holder (without a contract of employment) or
- You pursue a language or a preparatory course.
Money you need
Even though the majority of universities in Germany carry no tuition fees and most German cities are not too expensive to live in, authorities still want to know if you have enough financial resources to study and live in Germany, at least for the first year of your studies, in order to issue you a German student visa and residence permit.
Under current estimations of the official student loans and scholarships regulator in Germany, Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, a foreign student needs €861 per month or €10,332 per year at minimum to be able to live in the country.
Evidence you can provide for your funds
You should meet the financial requirements in order to be granted your German student visa. Depending on your circumstances, you should have one of the following:
- Blocked Bank Account – To date, a blocked account is the most widely used method among international students in Germany to prove their financial resources. A blocked account is a special type of bank account designed to serve international students as an account where they can deposit money required to live in Germany.
It is regarded as a blocked account because you won’t have access to it until you arrive in Germany. Even after your arrival, you won’t have direct access to it. The blocked account provider will help you open a regular bank account where they will transfer your money every month. With a blocked account the German institutions are ensured that everything goes through their hands.
The amount of money you need to have while residing in Germany is set by the Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (abbreviated as BAföG). The BAföG is a regulator of grants and loans for students in Germany.
At the moment, the amount of money they have set as required to study in Germany is 861€ per month or 10,332€ per year. Although, many students often choose to deposit more than the minimum amount required to increase their chances of getting their student visa approved.
- Letter of commitment – You can get this by a person living in Germany who shows they will be covering your accommodation or other living costs.
- Letter of declaration – Through this your parents show they will be providing you with financial support during your stay.
- Scholarship certificate – If you have a scholarship award, the certificate should show what the scholarship will cover and that you are the receiver of that financial coverage.
Your partner and children
As a non-German studying in Germany, you’re allowed to bring your family members to live with you at least during the study period, but, both parts must meet some requirements.
What Is the German Visa for Family Reunification?
German visa for family members of foreign students is a residence permit that entitles your non-EU/EEA family members to come and stay in Germany, while you’re completing a study course on the basis of a German Residence Permit “Aufenthaltserlaubnis for study.
Who Needs a Family Reunion Visa to join you during your studies here?
To join you in Germany on a family basis, while you’re studying here as a foreign student, qualifying family members whose nationality is of a country outside of the EU/EEA, require a German Reunion Visa beforehand they travel, taken from a German embassy or consulate of the country they live.
Which Family Members Can Apply for a German Family Reunion Visa?
The following members of your family have the eligibility to join you in Germany while you’re studying here:
- Spouse (husband, wife).
- Minor child.
Preconditions to Get a German Family Visa
The following basic preconditions must be met for the purpose of bringing the qualifying family members in Germany, while you’re studying as a foreigner:
- Sufficient Living Money – You must possess enough financial resources to cover the living costs of yourself and of any joining relative. Such money should cover the entire period of stay in Germany, and you must not rely on Germany’s public funds.
- Adequate Living Place – You won’t be able to bring your relatives if you fail to have the right space in Germany to accommodate yourself and any joining family member.
- Marriage Requirement – The marriage with you’re the spouse to join, should have happened before you’ve obtained the German Student Visa.
- Civil Partnership Requirement – You must have registered your relationship with your joining same-sex partner before you’ve received the German Student Visa.
- Age Requirement – The joining partner and you must be aged at least 18 when they apply for the family visa. If your parent is applying for a family reunion visa to join you, you must be a minor in need of care. If your child is seeking to join you in Germany, they must not be aged more than 16. If your joining child is aged 16, they must be in possession of sufficient German language proficiency for an easier integration here.
- Language Requirement – Your spouse won’t be able to make a successful reunion visa application if they don’t have the right command in German language, equal to at least A1 level of the CEFR. A child aged 16 – 18 can join you if they have a German language command of the minimum C1 level of the CEFR.
- Dependence – Your parent can join you only if you are in need of their care during your studies here as a minor. A child joining you in Germany, on the other hand, must not have a separated family unit in Germany, and must intend to live in the same home with you in Germany.
- Residence Period – Your relatives can only join you if you’ve a German residence permit for a study course lasting at least 1 year.
- Civil status – A child joining you while studying in Germany must not be married, divorced or widowed.
- Custody rights – For a child joining, you should have a custody rights over them.
How To Get Your Student Residence Permit in Germany
1. Find your permanent house – In the first week of your arrival in Germany with a visa for studies, you’ve to find permanent accommodation.
2. Register at the Resident’s Office – Immediately after this, you’ve to register such a living address at the local Resident’s Office. Upon registration, you’ll be receiving the confirmation on registration “Meldebescheinigung”.
Required documents to register in Germany as an international student are:
- Your valid national passport or national ID card. It must show you have a valid visa if you’re a visa-regime citizen.
- Rental contract.
- Letter confirming your living address. Issued by your landlord of the place you’ve rented.
3. Enroll in studies – You have to officially enrol at the university to be able to participate in studies and get access to university resources. This has to be done within the enrollment period, within the deadline announced to you in the letter of admission.
This process known as matriculation is completed by submitting a list of documents at the student’s affairs office “Studentensekretariat” of the university where you’ll be studying. Additionally, you’ll have to pay a semester fee before getting the ID and password and lastly the ID card as a student.
Required documents to enrol in university studies in Germany as an international student are:
- National Passport/national ID Card. It must show you have a valid entry visa for studies if you’re a citizen who qualifies for a visa to enter.
- Confirmation of admission in studies.
- German University Entrance Qualification. Or, equally recognized qualification, permitting you to start university studies in Germany.
- Recent passport-sized photographs.
- Student Health Insurance
Note: The international office “Akademisches Auslandsamt” of your university is the key address where you may get a range of information about your studies and residence requirements
4. Apply for a residence permit for studies – As you’ve been registered in studies you’ve to get your visa extension by applying for a residence permit for studies as the local Foreigner’s Authority “Einwohnermeldeamt”.
Required documents to apply for a residence permit for studies in Germany:
- Duly completed application form for a residence permit. The original name ‘Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels’.
- Your national passport/national ID card. It has to show you have a valid entry visa if you’ve entered with a visa.
- Documents showing your permanent address in Germany.
- Confirmation of registration.
- Rental contract.
- Letter from landlord confirming your permanent address.
- Recent passport-type photographs.
- Proof of financial subsistence. (Send the same evidence you’ve provided when applied for the visa).
- Proof of being admitted in studies. (e.g. certificate of enrollment, confirmation of admission, or evidence of conditional admission in studies.)
- Money to pay the application fee. The cost of applying is 56-100 euros for first-time applications, 49-96 euros for an extension of the residence permit. For Turkish students, it’s 28.8 euros.
Steps to apply for Germany Student Visa
The best time to apply for a German student visa is immediately after receiving the university letter of admission and securing the necessary funds to live and study in Germany. This is one of the most important requirements and if you haven’t been awarded an official scholarship, you need to provide proof of financial resources through other means such as having the funds deposited in a German blocked account.
On average, it takes up to 25 days for your German student visa application to be processed. The processing time varies depending on the country and the German embassy you apply to. All other German visa applications for studies are normally processed within 3 months. Here is the list of documents required to apply for student visa:
- Two filled out and signed national visa forms.
- Your valid national passport.
- Two photocopies of your passport.
- Birth certificate.
- Marriage certificate (if married).
- Child’s certificate (if you have children).
- Two recently taken biometric portrait photographs.
- Photocopies of previous German residence titles. (If you have been to Germany before).
- Previous Schengen Visa.
- Previous Resident Permit.
- Proof of Financial Resources – You should meet the financial requirements in order to be granted your German student visa.
- Proof of Admission (it can be one of the following).
- University admission letter.
- Letter of admission in foundation/propaedeutic/German language course.
- Original certificates of previous education.
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Motivational Letter – Explain why you have chosen this degree programme as well as your future plans.
- Travel Health Insurance – (covering the period from your departure to the date of enrolment at the German university – approx. 3 months).
- Students aged 29 and younger can benefit from free travel health insurance for up to 31 days, offered by German Student Insurance, as of March 5, 2020.
- Students aged 30 and older, Language Students, Interns as well as Doctoral Students should take EDUCARE24 by DR-WALTER. The health insurance product EDUCARE24, is both affordable and qualitative, and it is recognized by German Embassies and Consulates worldwide.
- Proof you have paid the visa application fee.
- Proof of German language proficiency. (For German or mixed-language programmes).
- Proof of English language proficiency. (For English or mixed-language programmes).
* Please note that the German Embassies and Consulates reserve the right to ask for additional documents or the verification of certificates.
Work Part-Time while you study
It is legal to work in Germany with a student visa, but students are also restricted to the number of days they can work. This is 120 full days each year or 240 half days. If you take a job as a student assistant or research assistant at your university, it’s not a problem to exceed the 120-day limit.
Post Study Work Visa
Graduates who come from non-EU/EEA countries of origin can work in Germany after they finish their studies by extending their residence permit for up to 18 months after graduation. These 18 months begin as soon as you finish your final exams, so it would be best if you start looking for employment while you are still at university, or during your final semester. Keep in mind that during these 18 months, you can work whatever job you can in order to support yourself until you find full-time employment, and it does not necessarily have to be related to your field of study.
You should apply for the residence permit extension by submitting the following documents:
- Personal ID and Passport.
- Proof of Graduation from a German University.
- Proof of Financial resources
- Proof of health insurance
After you obtain the extended residence permit, you can use the 18 months to find employment in Germany you think is related to your field of study. During the time you spend seeking employment, you can take up any work you think is necessary in order to support yourself financially.
What Should I Do After I Find Employment?
After you find a job you like, with a minimum of a one-year contract, you should apply for an EU Blue Card, which is the main residence permit for university graduates from non-EU countries of origin who have graduated from German universities and would like to stay and work in Germany. In order to be eligible for the Blue Card, the applicant must meet certain prerequisites, such as have a university/college degree and an employment contract with a company in Germany that pays at least €56,800 per year. In other occupations, where there is a shortage of skilled workers, the salary threshold is lower, approximately €44,304 per year.
The Eu Blue Card is a residence permit that is usually issued for the period of four years. However, if the duration of the contract is shorter, German authorities will issue the EU Blue Card for that period of time, with an additional three months. In case the requirements are met, the card can be extended. After 33 months of residence in Germany, those who have an EU Blue Card can apply for a settlement permit, which allows them to permanently settle to Germany.