Residence for educational purposes


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Residence for educational purposes

Entry, visa application procedure, German language courses, studying, change of subject area

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Residence permit for students

Pursuant to Section 16, subsection 1 of the Residence Act (AufenthG), foreign nationals may be granted a residence permit for the purpose of studying at a state or state-recognised university or a comparable educational establishment. Residence for study purposes shall also extend to attendance of preparatory courses/measures prior to studying.

  • a residence permit for learning the German language can only be issued for the participation in an intensive language course with a minimum of 18 lesson-hours per week. The course should not be publicly funded
  • night and weekend courses or distance learning courses do not meet these requirements.

You have to meet the general admission requirements for your intended course of study. You cannot complete missing educational qualifications in the Federal Republic of Germany

Residence for study purposes extends to:

  • language courses in preparation for studies, foundation courses (Studienkolleg), required internships (with a maximum duration of two years)
  • undergraduate programme leading to a first professional/academic degree (basic and advanced studies (Grund- und Haupstudium) including course-related internships, intermediate and final examinations)
  • if you are attending consecutive courses (Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes), your residence permit extends to the completion of a second professional/academic degree
  • after completion of your degree, your residence permit may extend to additional, complementary and postgraduate studies (Postgraduiertenstudium), as well as to the completion of a doctoral degree
  • subsequent practical activities, provided that these activities are part of your mandatory educational course

The residence permit for educational purposes can only be renewed if the expected/standard duration of study is not exceeded, and if you still fulfil the conditions for obtaining a residence permit

Visa procedures

For stays exceeding three months, a visa application must be submitted to the German diplomatic mission abroad. Nationals of certain states such as Australia or the United States of America are exempt from the visa requirement. If you are unsure whether you need a visa, the German diplomatic mission abroad will provide you information concerning the visa requirement.

For the issuing of visas for study purposes a so called non-response deadline (Schweigefristverfahren) has been set. This means that, upon submitting the required documents for your visa application, the German diplomatic mission abroad will issue a visa if it will receive no contrary notification from the Foreigners’ Authority within three weeks and two working days.

Issue of a residence permit

Please register at the Citizens’ Office and submit your application for a residence permit to the Foreigners’ Authority within the first week after your arrival.
Please note: the application for a residence permit must be submitted at least four weeks prior to the expiration date of your visa.

Documents required for the first issuance of a residence permit for educational purposes:

  • Passport
  • One recent biometric photograph
  • One completed application form “Erteilung der Aufenthaltserlaubnis” (application for issuance of a residence permit)
  • certificate of enrolment at university/ language course certificate
  • Tenancy agreement with specification of the size of living space in square meters
  • Proof of health insurance (no Travelers’ health insurance)
  • Proof of secure livelihood (e.g. blocked account, declaration of commitment on an official form)

Important information

  • University application period should not exceed nine months.
  • Preparation for your course of study is limited to two years.
  • The residence permit entitles the holder to take up employment totaling no more than 90 days or 180 half-days per year. This period should not be exceeded.
  • Taking up spare-time student employment is not subject to any restrictions.
  • After successful completion of the studies, the residence permit may be extended by up to one year for the purpose of seeking a job commensurate with this qualification.
  • Restrictions/conditions: The residence permit is granted for a particular course of study or for studies at a particular university, etc. If you want to change your course of study, you need to contact the Foreigners’ Authority.
  • Apply for an extension of your residence permit at least four weeks before its expiration date. If the application to extend your resident permit is filed after this date, a certificate confirming the effect of your application (provisional residence document) cannot be issued to you. Pursuant to Section 51, subsection 1, number 1 of the Residence Act (AufenthG), upon expiry of your residence permit, your lawful residence is terminated.

Fees charged for a residence permit

The fee charged for a residence permit depends on the duration of residence. For example, the costs of issuing a temporary residence permit of up to one year amounts to at least €110. Holders of scholarships granted by a German funding organization, e.g. the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and their families are exempt from paying the fee.

Please find application forms and instruction sheets here: Formulardepot.

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