The basics
Germany: Visa Guides - Must read

Applying for a student visa in Germany

We tell you everything you need to know about getting a visa to study in Germany


Most international students from outside Europe will need a visa to study in Germany. It’s important that you apply for your visa well in advance of your course start date as it can take several months for the visa to be processed. We’ve made a handy guide to help simplify the process...

I am an EU student...
As a student from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you do NOT need a visa to study in Germany. Check here to see if you are an EU student.

I am NOT an EU student...
If you are NOT an EU student, an EEA student, or from Switzerland, you WILL need a visa to study in Germany. There are two types of visas available to students. If you want to enrol on a short-term course, you’ll need the Schengen Visa, issued for a maximum stay of three months once every six months. For a long-term course, like a Masters or PhD, you will require a National Visa. Your first port of call is the German embassy in your home country. They will help clarify which type of visa you need and any other documentation.

Types of visas explained
Schengen Visas (short-term) or National (long-term) Visas are the most appropriate for international students and are explained in full below.

Schengen visa

The Schengen Visa allows students to stay in Germany for up to three months and so is only suited to students interested in short courses and NOT those looking to study at degree level. If a student wants to extend their stay on a Schengen visa, they will generally have to leave the country and reapply for another visa from their home country.


National (long-term) Visa
If you want to study a degree abroad (both undergraduate and postgraduate) you will need to apply for a National Visa or long-term visa. This is a visa for any student looking to stay in Germany for more than 90 days. The first step is to set up an appointment at the Germany embassy in your home country. You’ll then be told exactly what documentation you’ll need. We’ve listed the main items you’ll need below...


What documents will I need?

  • A valid passport
  • Proof of funds for living expenses
  • Confirmation of health insurance coverage
  • For an applicant visa: Confirmation of application from your university
  • For a student visa: the notice of admission from your university


Since around 2008 the general fee for any type of visa to visit Germany is around €60. You’ll also need proof of funds, which the DAAD German Academic Exchange website states is around €7,908 of income or assets for the first year, or €659 per month. However, evidence of higher amounts of income may also be requested. As always, the German embassy in your home country will be able to supply more detailed information on this. 


For more details on applying for a German student visa check out the following DAAD detailed visa information pack.

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About Author

Katie Duncan is Editor of Hotcourses Abroad and is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and University of Exeter graduate. Having worked at an English language school in the UK, as an educational consultant in Spain and as a reporter in the international education sector, she is well placed to guide you through your study abroad journey. Katie grew up in Australia, which perhaps explains her unusual reptile collection, comprising of a bearded dragon (Bill) and tortoise (Matilda).