Do I need a visa?
A. International degree-seeking students from EU countries, European Economic Area & Switzerland
International degree-seeking students from European Union countries, EEA and Switzerland do not need a visa to enter Germany. You need only complete "Arrival - Step 1".
B. International degree-seeking students from visa-waiver countries
International degree-seeking students from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the USA can enter Germany for study purposes without a visa and stay for 90 days. You must complete "Arrival - Step 1" and "Arrival - Step 2".
C. International degree-seeking students from other countries
International degree-seeking students from all other countries will need a visa to enter Germany. Please do not enter the country with a tourist visa. A tourist visa cannot be converted into a study visa in Germany. You will need either a student applicant visa [Studienbewerber-Visum] or a visa for study purposes [Visum zu Studienzwecken].
The student applicant visa allows you to enter the country and gather information about universities you are interested in. This visa is restricted to a period of three months but can be turned into a visa for study purposes in Germany if during this time you receive an offer for a place in a degree programme.
Should you not be offered a place, then it is sometimes possible to have your stay extended for a further six months, so that you can visit a German language course and apply to the university a second time for the next semester.
The visa for study purposes is issued when you have an offer for a place in a degree programme. To get this you must provide proof of sufficient funds for your studies (659 Euro/month). In some countries you must provide proof of your finances for the first academic year. Please apply early for your visa, as this process can often take eight weeks or more.
With your visa you have the right to be in Germany for 90 days. You must complete "Arrival - Step 1" and "Arrival - Step 2".
Complete list of countries - "Do I need a visa?" - see link at bottom of page
Arrival - Step 1
Within 7 days of entering Germany, all students must register their address with the local authorities (Hamburg Welcome Center, Einwohnermeldeamt) and get a Meldebestätigung. You will need:
- your passport/photo ID
- registration form (download)
- your rental contract *
- administration fee of 11 Euros
You will need a Meldebestätigung in order to open a bank account.
* if you are subletting a flat (Untermiete) or staying with someone until you find somewhere to live, you can write the name of the person from who you are subletting on the form. If that person is not the main person registered at that address, you will also need a copy of the rental contract. If you are staying in a hostel or hotel, you can give the name and address of the hostel/hotel. Once you get your own rental contract, you can inform the local authorities of this correct address.
Arrival - Step 2
Students from visa-waiver and visa countries must also apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltsbewilligung) within three months of arriving in Germany. The residence permit is in the form of an electronic card - eAT.
In order to get a residence permit you will need to provide proof of your finances (720 Euro/month). The application for a residence permit can be made at the Hamburg Welcome Center or with a local Ausländerbehörde.
To apply for a residence permit you will need:
- an application form (download)
- your passport
- a biometric photo not older than 6 months
- a Meldebestätigung or a registration form (download)
- proof of health insurance
- proof of enrolment as a guest student (Immatrikulationsbescheinigung - HELIOS)
- proof of finances (bank statement or letter in Euros)
- administration fee of 110 Euros for the eAT
Note: You can apply for the Meldebestätigung and the Aufenthaltserlaubnis in one go at the Hamburg Welcome Center. You will need to make an appointment with the Hamburg Welcome Center.
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Letzte Änderung: 01.08.16
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