Applying for a German Student Visa: Your Step-by-step Guide

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Bryan Smith - July, 04 2022

7 min read

About the author

Content Manager at Prodigy Finance, helping international students gear up to study abroad

bold text## What types of Visas are available?
There are generally two types of Visas available for students wishing to study in Germany.

  • Schengen visa - for studies of a duration of three months or less.
  • German national visa - for studies of a duration of three months or more.

There are three German student visas which are available::

German Student visa

The standard German student visa is intended for international students who have been admitted to an official German university and are ready to begin their studies.

German student applicant visa

The German student applicant visa is available for applicants who need to travel to Germany to apply for admission to a local university in person. This doesn’t allow a student to begin their studies and is only intended to facilitate an application.

German language course visa

The German language course visa is designed for students wishing to take a German language course.

Requirements for a German student visa

To apply for a German student visa, you will need:

  • A completed and signed visa application form
  • A valid national passport
  • Two photocopies of your passport
  • Up to 3 recent passport photographs
  • Your birth certificate
  • A marriage certificate, if applicable
  • Your child’s birth certificate, if applicable
  • Photographs of previous German residence titles
  • A motivational letter expressing the reason why you have chosen your specific university and how completing your studies would improve your career and general life

What supporting documents will I need?

You will need a university admission letter confirming that you have been accepted as a student. This will include:

  • Details of your education provider
  • An acceptance reply card
  • An enrollment detail
  • Exam dates
  • Details about orientation

You will need an English language proficiency test certificate, which can be an:

  • Official TOEFL test score, requiring IbT-88 or Pbt-66
  • Official IELTS test, requiring 6.5+
  • Cambridge Advanced English Certificate A, B, or C, including a Cambridge Proficiency English Certificate A, B, or C

Or, alternatively, you’ll need a recognized German language certificate, among which are;

  • TestDaF level IV
  • DSH Certificate II or III
  • DSD Certificate of Level II
  • Goethe Certificate C2
  • Tel Deutsch C1
  • B2 Hochschule Certificate

You will need to demonstrate proof of your financial resources, which can include:

  • A €10,332 deposit confirmation at German blocked bank account
  • A letter of commitment and evidence of your parent’s income and financial assets (such as fixed or rented property)
  • A letter of commitment from a German resident, taken at an Alien’s Registration Office, who will cover your costs during your studies,
  • A scholarship awarding certificate demonstrating the costs that are covered
  • A bank guaranteed issued by a German bank

You will also need to demonstrate proof of university admission, which includes:

  • Confirmation of your university admission issued by a higher education provider or university showing your start date and language of instruction
  • Evidence of your previous education (a school certificate, and prior degree certificates)

Lastly, you will need to have:

  • Student health insurance
  • A University entrance qualification
  • A certificate of German or English language proficiency

What fees will I need to pay?

Settling the German student visa application fee

You will need to pay a €60.00 – €75.00 visa application fee prior to your interview, which is non-refundable if your application is rejected. You will need to bring your payment confirmation with you to your visa interview.

How can I show means of subsistence - Finanzieruungsnachweis?

Showing a blocked bank account balance

Before your visa interview, you can demonstrate a means of subsistence is to deposit €10,332 in a blocked German bank account. You will not be able to withdraw this amount of money until you physically arrive in Germany.

TIP: Among the most popular banks student visa applicants use are Deutsche Bank and Fintiba.

Letter of declaration by a parent

Your parents can alternatively sign a letter of declaration that will confirm their commitment to support you financially during your studies. This letter must be accompanied by their bank statements for the past 6 months.

Letter of commitment by a resident

Alternatively, a person living in Germany can provide a letter of declaration showing that they will cover your accommodation and living expenses while you are within the country.

A scholarship awarding certificate

If you plan to use scholarship funds to support yourself, your award certificate must show you as a receiver and demonstrate the total amount of financial coverage granted to you.

Student health insurance:

German law requires that all students, including foreign students, are required to have student health insurance - and applicants for a German student visa will be required to demonstrate proof of insurance.

Your health insurance agreement must show coverage amounting to at least €30,000.

Students with private health insurance in their home country may be able to use their existing cover and can check with their university’s international office.

Students without pre-existing cover can either enroll for compulsory public health insurance, or can apply for cover from a private health insurance provider.

How do I apply for a German student visa?

Set up a Visa appointment

Your first step will be to find the nearest German embassy or consulate in your area, where you can set up your visa appointment. You’ll need to bring all the required documents and supporting material to your application.

In most cases, you’ll need to set up a visa application ahead of time in order to ensure that your application can be processed timeously.

Prepare for your visa interview

Once you’ve paid your visa application fee and have your confirmation of payment, you’ll then be able to attend your scheduled interview.

Some common German student visa interview questions can include:

  • Why do you want to study in Germany?
  • Why did you choose your specific program or course? Is it relevant to previous studies?
  • Why did you choose this university?
  • Can you speak German?
  • What are your future plans once you’ve completed your studies?
  • How do you plan to fund your education?
  • Name a tourist attraction in Germany and explain why it’s famous

If your documents are in order, you will typically receive an answer on your application shortly after your interview. However, in some cases, an answer may generally take up to 4 weeks.

When your visa is issued, you will then be able to collect it and travel to Germany to attend the start of your enrolled course.

Arriving in Germany

Once you have completed your application and have successfully received your student visa, you may then enter the country to begin your studies. Upon arriving, you will need to do the following:

  • Find permanent accommodation in Germany (and acquire a proof of residence)
  • Ensure you are covered by German health insurance
  • Ensure you are fully enrolled at your chosen university
  • Open a current bank account from a recognised German bank
  • To do this, you will need your national passport, confirmation of registration, your letter of admission, and your student visa
  • Register your living address in Germany at the Resident’s Registration Office or at the Citizen’s Bureau

Getting a Student Residence Card

Once you have successfully completed these tasks, you will then need to apply for a Residence Permit to continue your studies after three months. You will need to do this while your student visa is still valid. It will take approximately four to six weeks to complete your application and receive your Student Residence Card, which will be valid for up to 2 years.

Useful information

Processing time

It can usually take up to 25 days for a German student visa application to be processed, depending on the embassy where the application is made. Generally, applications for studies are processed within 3 months.

Rejection rate

As of January 2022, the German student visa has a 92% acceptance rate.

The main reasons for embassies or consulates rejecting student visas include applicants showing a poor financial status or inability to provide for themselves during their studies, low academic performance, or a lack of interview preparation or falsified documents.

Do I need a medical test?

You won’t need to have a medical test in order to apply and receive a German student visa. However, you must ensure that you are covered by German health insurance.

Can I work on a German student visa?

As a German student visa holder, you’ll be entitled to work up to 120 working days per year. However, your work must not interfere with your studies. You will not be able to work full time.

After you get your German Student Visa

Congratulations! You’re one step closer to your dream degree!

While you’re thinking about your finances, now’s a good time to double-check your budget.

If you still need an international student loan, check out what Prodigy Finance can offer - or begin budgeting for your second year on campus to make sure everything is in order before leaving to begin your study abroad journey.

Once you get on campus, make sure you get to the international office, as they’ll help you stay on top of visa changes and regulations.

Want to know how to fund your masters abroad?

Prodigy Finance provides loans to international students pursuing their masters at top schools across the globe.

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