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Visa Process

You need different documents to get the permission to enter Germany. The most important one is the visa.You should apply for it way in advance, because the processing of your documents takes a while.

Depending on which country you are from and the purpose of your stay in Germany, you will need a visa for entering Germany. You can apply for it at the German embassy or consulate in your home country. You can find the addresses of the German embassy and the consulate in your home country on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Generally, there are two different types of visas:

Schengen-Visa:

It is issued for a short stay (for example, tourism, participation in a summer language course) of up to three months per half-yearly period. Beware: Holders of a Schengen Visa must leave the country again after three months at the latest. This means the Schengen Visa is not a suitable instrument if you wish to study, do a doctorate or complete a research stay in Germany.

National Visa:

Is issued for stays lasting longer than three months (for example, to attend a preparatory course at a Studienkolleg or to study a full programme). If you wish to study or do a doctorate, you must make sure right from the beginning that you apply for a national visa for the purpose of studying (student visa). As a rule, you will have to present the following papers and documents to the relevant German mission abroad (e.g. embassy or consulate in your country):

- letter of admission from the German university,

- health insurance policy,

- proof of any academic credits gained or examinations passed,

- proof of any German language skills you may have or of your plans to take a language course in Germany,

- documents that prove how you intend to finance your living expenses while you are studying (proof of sufficient financial resources).
Please note that it may cause delay in the processing of your application if you don't hand in all the required documents on time.

Tip:
Student applicants who have not yet been admitted to a German university or Studienkolleg can apply for a Student Applicant Visa. It is valid for three months and can be converted into a residence permit for the purpose of studying once you have been admitted to a higher education institution. Please note, that not every country issues a Student Applicant Visa.
Another type of visa is the Language Course Visa. But beware: This is only valid for the length of the language course. It cannot be converted into a student visa. If you plan to take a language course in connection with your academic studies, this must be stated when you apply for your visa. You have to apply for a student visa or a student applicant visa if the purpose of your stay is to study in Germany.

Most foreign students – except nationals of EU and EEA countries – must, after arriving in Germany and having reported to the registration authority, go to the foreigners authority in their university town to apply for a residence permit for the purpose of studying.


You can find further information on this topic and more details on visas on the website of the DAAD.

 
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