Do you want to study in Germany? It’s not as difficult as you might think. One of the first steps is to understand the visa requirements for international students. Here are a few tips on what to do and when.
The possibilities for students interested in spending some time in Germany are seemingly endless. The country’s home to around 300 education institutions with more than 15,000 different study programs. To make it easier for international students to enroll in some of those programs, the government and universities have created informational websites and web portals (https://www.study-in.de).
Be clear about your educational goals before applying for a visa
Before even starting the visa process, know what your goals are. Do you want to take a short course? Do you want to stay longer and get a degree in Germany? This is important because there are different visas depending on your goals.
A foreign student who wishes to study in Germany will be required to obtain a German Student Visa. This visa is generally granted to students who have already been accepted for admission by a Germany University. To get a Germany student visa you will have to send all your documents and application to the Immigration Office where you will study in Germany. The Immigration Office will approve your application and then the consulate will issue you a residence permit in the form of visa. You will be required to register upon your first arrival in Germany.
Eligibility criteria for German student visa
To be eligible for Germany student visa you must fulfill the following conditions:
- You must provide proof of being enrolled in a tertiary educational institution in Germany, such as the letter of admission or the letter of acceptance issued by the educational institution in Germany where you are planning to study
- You must provide a formal letter from the designated authorities that gives you permission to travel during that period
- You must provide transcript of your academic record
- You must have a passport with a validity that extends the duration of the visa you are applying for by at least 3 months
- Your passport must have at least two blank pages and it must have been issued within the previous 10 years
- You must have a copy of your completed application form
- You must show proof that you have enough money to pay for your tuition fees
- You must provide proof of your financial ability so as to support yourself financially during the course of your study in Germany and for your return transportation
- You must provide a formal statement of your financial situation from the bank for the last 3 months
- You must have valid health insurance covering the total number of days you will be staying in Germany as a student
- You intend to leave Germany at the end of your authorized stay
- You will be required to declare the authenticity of the documents submitted by you.
Steps to follow when applying for a German student visa
Before you apply for a German student visa, check your eligibility for the same. Once you are sure that you are eligible for application, you can go ahead with the application procedure.
Please note that you will have to apply at the German Embassy in your country.
Except for rare instances, you will have to submit the application along with the required documents in person.
Step 1: Obtain letter of acceptance
The first and foremost step towards applying for a German student visa is to obtain a letter of acceptance from a recognized educational institution.
Only after you have received the letter of acceptance, you can proceed further with the student visa application procedure.
Step 2: Check the processing time
Find out about the duration of time needed to process a student visa application. This will give you an idea about when to apply so that you can reach Germany to pursue your course on time.
Step 3: Obtain a visa application form
You can obtain the application form either by downloading the visa application form from the official website http://www.germany-visa.org/or by getting it from the German Embassy in your home country.
Step 4: Fill up the visa application form
Carefully fill up the visa application form and put your signature on the completed form. Get all the required documents, photocopies of all documents and the visa application fee ready before you proceed further.
Please note that the visa application fee is to be made only through a bank transfer. Cheques or Credit cards are not accepted as modes of payment by German embassies.
Check the visa photo requirements to be sure that your visa photograph matches the required conditions.
Step 5: Make an appointment
You will have to book an appointment before you can go to the Visa Application Centre to submit your documents for a German Visa. All German visa applications are accepted only if the applicant has made prior appointment.
Step 6: Go to the application centre
Arrive at the Application Centre on time. The officials at the Application Centre will verify your appointment letter and will issue you a token. It is necessary to be on time as the embassy may not be willing to process your visa request if you are late for more than 10 minutes.
Step 7: Submit your visa Application
Before you submit your visa application form make sure:
- All your documents are arranged in the order stated on the checklist
- Your application form is complete and signed
The submission process generally takes 10 minutes to complete. The officials at the Application Centre will check and verify your documents and visa application form.
You will be asked to collect another token if the visa application form is incomplete, you have not arranged the documents in the required order or you have not provided all the necessary photocopies of documents.
If the application is complete your passport, application form and documents will be held temporarily by the application centre. Please note that you cannot take the passport during the application process with you.
In case you take your passport for any reason, your application will be cancelled and you will be required to re-apply for the visa.
Step 8: Entering application information into online system
After your visa application form is verified, all the information in your visa application will be entered into the online system of the German consulate. You will be provided a printed copy of your application. This process will take around 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 9: Sign the printed application form
Once you get the printed application form, go through the details carefully to make sure that all the information is correct. Sign the printed form. Please note that forms for minors (up to 18 years) have to be signed by both parents.
Step 10: Pay your visa application fee
Pay the required visa application fee. Please make sure that:
- The visa application fee is made through a bank transfer
- The money order must be in the name of the German Consulate in your home country
- The money order must not be older than two months
After you pay for the visa you will be issued a receipt. Keep the receipt carefully as you will require it in order to collect your processed application.
Step 11: Biometric data collection
Once your application is complete, you will be required to provide biometric data. At the application centre biometrics is collected using a quick process that captures a 10-digit fingerprint scan with a digital finger scanner. This will usually take 7-8 minutes to complete.
This step marks the end of your visa application process. Your application will be sent for processing to the Consulate on the next working day. Make sure to keep your payment receipt safelyas you will require it to collect your passport.
Proof of Financial Resources
Before you begin your studies, you will have to prove that you have enough money to support yourself. The document you need is called a “Finanzierungsnachweis”, or proof of financial resources. You are asked for it when you apply for an entry visa. At the latest, you will need to present it when you apply for a residence permit in Germany. In most cases, applicants have to prove that they have around 8,000 euros at their disposal for one year.
There are a number of ways to show that you can finance your studies. The following forms of proof are possible:
- Your parents can submit documents certifying their income and financial assets.
- Someone with permanent residence in Germany can guarantee the Alien Registration Office to cover your expenses.
- A security payment can be deposited into a blocked account.
- You can present a bank guarantee.
- You can present a scholarship award notification from a recognised scholarship provider.
Make sure to inquire at the German embassy in your country as to which form of financial proof is required!
TIPS FOR OPENING A BLOCKED ACCOUNT
Many international students use a blocked account to finance their studies in Germany. It’s called a “blocked account” because the money deposited into the account cannot be withdrawn until you have arrived in Germany.
It is relatively easy to open a blocked account. There are a few points you should remember:
1. Apply early enough
You can open a blocked account at the “Deutsche Bank”, for example. It usually takes just a week for the paperwork to be processed. It can take much longer, however, when the semester begins. That’s why we recommend completing the application for a blocked account well in advance. To obtain an application, send an e-mail to the Deutsche Bank at email@example.com.
2. Have the application and required documents certified
The next step is to have the completed forms and a copy of your passport certified by a German consulate general or the German embassy in your country. Only then should you send your documents to the Deutsche Bank. Please note: Do not send your documents as attached scans by e-mail or by fax; the bank only accepts originals.
Deutsche Bank Privat und Geschäftskunden AG
Service Center Hamburg / Ausländische Studenten
Alter Wall 53
3. Open your account
If your documents are in order, the bank sets up a blocked account for you. This costs a one-time fee of 50 euros. As soon as your account is ready, you have to deposit at least 7,908 euros into it.
4. Withdraw money
Once you’ve arrived in Germany, you should make an appointment in a branch office of your bank. (It doesn’t have to be the “Deutsche Bank” – there are various banks in Germany, e.g. “Sparkasse” or “Volksbank”.) The bank officer will help you get an EC card, with which you can withdraw money from cash machines, and provide you with your login data for online banking.
Required fees for German student visa
- Fees for German student Visa – EUR 60
- Your application fee will not be refunded if your application for a student visa is refused or rejected for any reason.
- The conversion into Pakistani currency is based on current conversion rates, which may change.
- The visa application fee is subject to change at any time.
Exception in German student visa program
As per the German student Visa Program, foreign students will have to apply for the German student visa from outside the country.
However, citizens of selected countries can get their student visa within three months of their arrival in Germany. They will have to make an appointment at the local Aliens Authority for this purpose.
A visa for every student
Securing a visa is one of the most important first steps for prospective students from abroad. Germany offers a few different types of student visas, all available by applying through the German embassy or consulate in your home country. Make sure to do this before coming to Germany.
- The Schengen visa allows people to stay in Germany for up to three months per half-yearly period. These visas are ideal for those who are interested in touring around the country or taking short language courses.
- Language course visas cover students’ stays for the length of the language course.
- National visas allow students to stay longer than three months and are designed for those who want to pursue academic degrees or more extensive educational research.
- Student applicant visas are for students who want to study in Germany on a longer-term basis but have not yet been admitted to a university. This visa allows them to come to Germany for three months to look for a program. Once they have enrolled, the visa can be converted to a national visa. If they do not enroll in a program within three months, the visas may sometimes be extended but that is up to the discretion of the visa-granting authorities.
Schengen visas cover stays of three months or less
The Schengen visa caters to those students who want to come to Germany for a short course of three months or less. Some students use these visas to take an intensive language course or pursue short academic research projects. If students want to stay longer, in general, they must leave at the end of the three month period and then reapply for a visa from their home country.
Some exceptions do apply. EU citizens are not required to have a special visa to study or stay in Germany. They are only required to register at the local authority, or Einwohnermeldeamt.
Citizens from a small number of non-EU countries may enter Germany without a visa and then apply for a visa to stay and study. These countries include Andorra, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, South Korea, and the United States.
Language course for aquiring German Visas
A student must be enrolled in a language course in order to apply for this visa. The visa length depends on the length of the language course. So for students who may want to take an intensive course that lasts more than three months, this visa would be a good choice. The representative at the German consulate or embassy will likely want to see certification from the language school that you are enrolled, plus a demonstration that you can cover your finances for the length of time you will be enrolled in the course. Proof of health insurance will also be required.
National visas are best for students who want a degree
The best visa option for international students who want to do research in Germany for a year or more is to apply for a national visa. Once accepted, the students should set up an appointment at the German embassy or consulate near their home residence. Germany’s Federal Foreign Office has a list showing all of its international locations. The German authorities will likely want a few important pieces of information. They will ask for proof of enrollment from the university, health insurance documentation, plus you will need to demonstrate you have access to at least 659 euro per month for the first year, or 7,908 euro total. This financial support can come from educational grants or family members, but it is important to show the authorities that you will have enough funds to exist as a student in Germany for the first year.
Student applicant visa
This visa is designed for those interested in studying at a higher education institution in Germany who have not yet decided where to try to enroll. The visa lets visitors stay in Germany for three months while they decide where to apply. The visa can be converted into the longer-term national visa once a prospective student is enrolled in a program.
The best advice is to start the application process early. Visa applications may take a few weeks or a few months to be finalized. Better not to leave things too long and risk missing the start date for a school program. Also, follow the visa authorities’ directions closely. The process is designed to meet individual needs so the requirements may change. Follow the instructions of your contact at the consulate and embassy and remember to be patient. The visa application is just the first step to your new life as a student in Germany!