Visa and residence permit

Here you can find out how to extend or apply for your visa / residence permit in Germany.

Which visa do I have?

Visit visa (Type C)

A Type C visit visa is valid for a maximum of 90 days. This visa is for tourist purposes such as holidays or visiting family, relatives and friends. It is very difficult to get an extension for a Type C visa. The following are conditions under which it may be extended:

  • Force majeure (e.g. severe weather, air traffic strikes, pandemic)
  • Humanitarian reasons (e.g. illness) 
  • Personal reasons (travel cannot be reasonably expected as a result)
  • Delayed arrival (if you arrive later than planned, your visa may be extended by the applicable number of days)

Important: The visa can only be extended if it is still valid. You must have enough money to cover your costs for the entire duration of your stay

Type D visa (national visa)

The Type D visa is intended for longer stays with a duration from 91 days up to a maximum of 6–12 months. If this visa has a territorial restriction, the 90/180-day rule applies, which we will cover below. This visa can be extended under certain conditions.

Territorial restrictions

A territorial restriction means that you are only allowed to stay in the country for which you are applying for the visa. This means free movement within the Schengen Area is not possible.

The 90/180-day rule

The 90/180-day rule means that you are allowed to stay in the Schengen Area outside Germany for 90 out of a total of 180 days. Of course, this only applies as long as your visa is still valid. The 90 days outside Germany must not be exceeded.

Schengen Area

The Schengen Area consists of 27 countries, of which 23 states are members of the EU. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have also joined the Schengen Agreement. The only three European countries not part of the agreement are the United Kingdom, Ireland and Cyprus. Your health insurance will cover you during your time in the EU or even throughout the Schengen Area, depending on the type of insurance you have.

Important: The Type D visa is issued once and becomes invalid when you travel outside the Schengen Area. You must have enough money to cover your costs for the entire duration of your stay. 

To support you with this, some health insurance companies work together with providers of blocked accounts, such as Fintiba. They can set up a blocked account for you. Find out more about this here.

Airport transit and visitor in transit visas (Type A and B)

There are also visas known as Type A and B visas. However, it is uncommon for students to get them, so we have only shown in the diagram below and have not provided any additional information about them here.

Type A/B: Only for changeovers at the airport, for example; valid for only a few days at most

Type C: Short-term stay

Type D: National long-term stay – day/days, months

How and where do I extend my visa?

You can extend your visa at the foreigners’ registration office in the town or city where you live. Alternatively, you can apply for an Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit). As it takes some time to process your application, you should apply for an extension about two months before your visa expires. 


Visas are not designed to be converted into long-term residence permits. Therefore, this is only possible if:
1. you are legally entitled to a residence permit according to the residence law of the country in question
2. you became entitled to this after entry into the Schengen state.

Checklist for extending your visa

Costs for extending your visa

The costs vary according the case.

What types of residence permit are there?


A visa lets you enter a country in the Schengen Area for tourist purposes and to move freely within this area. It is important to remember that a visa always has a specified duration, and that there are different rules to follow depending on the type of visa.

Permanent residence permit

A temporary residence permit can be converted into a permanent residence permit after a specified period and if various requirements are met. There are also different options available in this category.

EU long-term residence

This type of permit gives you the right to long-term residence in the entire EU area without restrictions on time or place. The conditions are similar to those of a Niederlassungserlaubnis, but somewhat stricter.

Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is a residence permit for university graduates from non-EU countries. The purpose of this permit is to facilitate and promote the permanent immigration of highly qualified persons from non-EU countries to Germany.

ICT Card

With an ICT Card, employees of companies outside the EU can come to Germany for a period of 90 days to work in a company here. People with a valid ICT Card can move freely within the Schengen Area for the specified period of 90 days.

Niederlassungserlaubnis (permanent resident card)

The Niederlassungserlaubnis has no time limit and gives you the right to work in Germany. In order to get this permit, a person must meet criteria that include holding an Aufenthaltserlaubnis for five years.

EU long-term residence permit

The EU long-term residence permit lets a person live and work in Germany for an unlimited period of time. It is similar to a Niederlassungserlaubnis. If you have this type of residence permit, it is easier for you to move to other EU countries and also get right of residence there.

How do I apply for a residence permit?

You must apply for a residence permit at the foreigners’ registration office in the town or city where you live before your entry visa expires. To do this, you must show proof of permanent residence. This is required for all persons who are staying in Germany for more than three months. You can register your permanent residence at your local residents’ registration office. 

You can be granted a residence permit for these reasons:

Required documents:

You could be granted a permanent residence permit for these reasons:

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You’re free to earn money by getting a job alongside your studies. Here, you can find out more about the most important points you need to consider.

How do I submit my medical invoices to get reimbursed?

After your visit to the doctor/hospital, you will get an invoice, which you need to submit to your health insurance provider. Once it has been submitted and everything has been processed, the amount will be credited to your account. Find out everything you need to consider here.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the healthcare system?

Gesundheitssystem in Deutschland Who do I contact if I have questions about the healthcare system? If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service team. We speak German, English and Chinese. Please also feel free to send us an email. You can find our contact info here.