Stay in Germany after your studies and start your international career.
As an international non-EU student, you can stay in Germany on an 18-month post-study visa after graduation. According to the German Residence Act, the post-study visa is already included in every student visa*. This makes remaining in the country and searching for employment upon completion of your studies very attractive. Once you find a suitable job within this period and are offered a work contract, you can start the process of obtaining work and residence permits to remain in the country. As companies from all over the world highly respect German university degrees, you will be considered highly competitive in the global job market. Ready to start your international career?
*) §16 Abs. 5 Aufenthaltsgesetz (Art. 6 para. 5 Residence Act)
To help you best prepare and understand the different steps that are ahead of you if you plan to study in Germany as an international non-EU applicant, we have outlined the 8 most important steps below.
How to study in Germany in 8 steps
Step 1: University Application
Admission to a German university, language school, or foundation college must be secured before a visa application can be submitted. Information on study programs available in Germany can be found on our website or on the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) website. In most cases, applications can be submitted directly to the respective university. However, as application procedures may vary, check your institution of choice for further details and its exact application procedure.
Step 2: Proof of Financial Resources
Evidence of financial support for the first year of study must be provided in order for an applicant to secure a study visa for Germany. Unlike other countries, Germany does not accept bank statements as proof of sufficient finances. Instead, you have to open what is called a blocked account (Sperrkonto) and fund it with 10,236 EUR (as from September 01, 2019). Different providers offer online accounts that can be opened seamlessly. Based on the 10,236 EUR, which cover one year, you can withdraw 853 EUR monthly to cover your living expenses, including your accommodation, insurance, transportation, and food. As an alternative to a blocked account, you can request a sponsorship declaration (Verpflichtungserklärung) if you have friends or relatives living and working in Germany. In this case, these individuals must officially declare that they have enough income and are willing to sponsor your visa. A sponsorship declaration can be applied for at the Foreigners’ Authority located wherever your friends or relatives live in Germany.
Step 3: Visa Application Documents
Each and every embassy and consulate will require specific visa application documents. These include but are not limited to: an admission letter, a motivation letter, proof of language proficiency, proof of financial means (blocked account or sponsorship declaration), proof of health insurance, previous certificates (e.g., a school-leaving certificate or a transcript of records), and work references (if applicable). You can find all information regarding specific required documents on the website of the respective embassy or consulate general. Directories for German embassies and consulates abroad can be found here.
Step 4: Visa Appointment & Interview
Remember to book your visa appointment for the submission of your application documents well in advance of the semester’s start. Study visa processing takes between six and eight weeks on average, and it may even extend beyond that in certain cases. Visa interviews are typically done by German embassies and consulates abroad either directly on their premises or through an officially appointed visa-handling agent. You will have to undergo a visa interview to ascertain your genuine motivation for studying in Germany. Interview questions will revolve around topics pertaining to Germany, the German federal state and the city in which the university is located, your study courses, your personal background, your career path plans, etc. See our extensive service offerings for more details and information on how to prepare for your interview.
Step 5: Health Insurance
Alongside your visa application documents, proof of health insurance for Germany is required. Also, it is requested that you acquire temporary travel health insurance before the issuance of your study visa. However, keep in mind that travel health insurance only covers emergencies prior to settling down in Germany and thus is not sufficient for enrollment in German universities.
Step 6: Travel Arrangements
It is very important that you do not make any travel arrangements before you receive your visa. Once you have secured your visa, ensure that you arrange for an on-time arrival into Germany. Also, we strongly encourage you to start seeking necessary information about accommodation early. For further details, please review our comprehensive information on accommodation in Germany.
Step 7: Arrival in Germany
You can reach many large cities in Germany by air from abroad. The largest airports in Germany are in Frankfurt and Munich, and once arrived, you can connect to other cities or towns by plane, train, bus, or car. Should you require any assistance in getting to your final destination, you can refer to our arrival services or seek information at the information counter in your arrival airport. Any emergency or irregularity that occurs upon your arrival can also be brought to the attention of the local police. Before commencing your journey, ensure that you have the exact address of your final destination and your university’s contact information.
Step 8: Visa Extension & Resident Permit
Usually, the German embassy or consulate abroad will issue a temporary visa that lasts between three and six months. Upon your arrival into Germany, you are expected to apply for your resident card. In order to do so, you will need your certificate of enrollment, proof of health insurance, proof of financial means, proof of residency, resident permit application form, passport photograph, and application fee. The application form can be obtained from the Foreigners’ Authority nearest to you.
We aim to provide you with the most complete and accurate information regarding the visa application process, the required documents, and how to proceed. The visa obtainment process was created with the greatest of care. However, we cannot guarantee the correctness, completeness, or topicality of the contents and assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site nor for damages of any kind arising out of the use of, reference to, or reliance on any information contained within this site.
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