Visa and Residence Permit:
Information for International Students
Before traveling to Germany, you should check what requirements apply for entry into Germany and your stay abroad. Some students from specific countries need a visa and must meet financial requirements and show proof of insurance.
Should you require a visa, make sure you apply for it as early as possible. Waiting times at embassies and consulates are often very long and visa processing can take up to three months.
Before Arrival in GermanyWhat is a visa?
This visa is an entry permit which is valid from 90 days to 6 months. After your arrival in Germany, you will have to apply for a residence permit, which is generally valid for 2 years and can be extended until you have finished your studies.
Do not enter Germany with a tourist visa (“Schengen Visa” only for a stay in Germany for up to 90 days)! It is not possible to extend this visa or change it into a student visa.
Students from the European Union (EU) and those from the Schengen Area do not need a visa for entering Germany and may stay in the country for an unlimited time period.
Students who are non-EU citizens and not from the Schengen Area generally need a visa to enter Germany. Check here if a visa requirement applies for you:
You must apply for a visa in person at a German diplomatic mission in your country (Embassy or Consulate). The Embassy or Consulate in the country in which you are a legal resident is responsible for issuing you a visa. They will provide you with the application documents in the national language that applies in that country. In general, you should hand in your visa application personally with all documents required.
In order to avoid time consuming requests for additional information or documentation (document requirements can vary from country to country), you are advised to consult the website of the respective mission well in advance to find out about the visa procedure and about the documentation which has to be submitted. Make sure to apply for the correct visa, which is a study visa since the purpose of your stay in Germany is to study. Go to the following link to find further information. Once you have selected a country, you can select the link for German missions:
The following documents are normally required for a successful visa application:
- Acceptance Letter from the University
- Valid Passport
- Proof of Health Insurance
- Proof of Financing
- Proof of Accommodation
- Biometric Passport Photos
If the University accepts your application for a place of study, you will be sent an acceptance letter by mail. The acceptance letter confirms that you have been offered a place of study.
Your passport is proof of identification. It should be valid for at least six months before entering Germany. It is best to ensure that your passport is valid for your entire stay in order to avoid any bureaucratic obstacles.
Health insurance is mandatory by federal law for all students attending German universities. Already when applying for your visa and enrolling at the University, you will be required to show proof of health insurance. For the application process, we recommend applying for travel health insurance, which will meet the visa requirements. It should be valid for the first weeks of your stay in Germany until you have been issued a residence permit. Once you have arrived in Germany, you should apply for German health insurance for the entire period of your stay in Germany.
When applying for a visa you will need to prove that you have enough financial resources to pay for at least the first year abroad. Currently, you are required to demonstrate that you have 11,208€ available to finance your studies. Proof of financing can be demonstrated by either presenting an account statement of a blocked account (Sperrkonto) or confirmation of financial support by a third party living in Germany. Please note that a part-time job is not sufficient for self-financing in Germany and will not be accepted as proof of financing. Make sure to inquire at the German embassy in your country as to which form of financial proof is necessary.
Most international students show proof of financing by opening a blocked account with the required amount of financing. We recommend the following blocked account options which are affordable and provided through Fintiba, Expatrio and Allyways.
Please find further information about proof of financial resources here.
Before arriving in Germany, you should already make arrangements for accommodation for the first few months. A rental contract (be it a room in a shared apartment or a dormitory room) is sufficient.
If you need assistance in finding accommodation, please contact the Accommodation Service.
Upon Arrival in GermanyResidence Permit
Students who are non-EU citizens and not from the Schengen Area will need a residence permit for any stay that is longer than 90 days in Germany. Please apply in person at the Foreigner's Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) where you will be living while your visa is still valid.
In order to apply for the permit, you will need to contact the Foreigner's Registration Office to make an appointment. Please contact them during their office hours: Monday and Tuesday - 2:00pm-3:30pm:
For the residence permit you will need to present similar documents like those required for your visa (please note, that it may be necessary to submit further documents):
- completed application form
- certificate of enrolment from the University of Göttingen
- proof of financial resources
- health insurance certificate
- rental agreement
- confirmation of registration by the Residents' Registration Office
- valid passport
- visa for entry for the purpose of studies
- biometric passport photo
- money for the fee
A residence permit is usually granted for 2 years. Contact the Foreigners' Registration Office by e-mail about 6 weeks before the expiry date and apply for an extension. You will have to submit the form also filled out to apply for the initial granting, and prove that you are still enrolled at the university, that your employment contract is still running or that you remain affiliated with the university as a visiting researcher (enrolment certificate, employment contract, hosting agreement). You must also prove that you have suitable accommodation on site, sufficient health insurance and that you can cover your living expenses.
Please note: Once your residence permit is up for renewal, you must once more prove that you can cover your living expenses. To do so, cash, regular income or a combination of both are most common. Do NOT collect money from acquaintances and relatives in order to transfer it back once the extension of your residence permit has been granted. This constitutes a deception, which can be discovered on the basis of your banking transactions and lead to the immediate loss of your residence permit!
- Study in Germany
- Federal Foreign Office: Visa regulations, visa procedures and application procedures
- Federal Foreign Office: FAQs on visas and application procedures
- DAAD (Information Brochure)