Visa and entry requirements

What kinds of documents and papers one needs for the entry to Germany depends mainly on where he or she comes from and on how long he or she wants to stay in Germany. It is important to get the necessary information and to put together all the papers quite early and in time before the studies abroad.

General rules

In general there are the following rules: For citizens from the EU or from the countries Island, Norway, Suisse or Liechtenstein it is only necessary to have an identity card to entry Germany. It is not necessary to have a visa. Citizens from other countries instead need a visa if they stay in Germany for more than 90 days. There are some more rules for the visa application as well. Citizens from the countries Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the USA can apply for their visa even after they arrived in Germany. For citizens from other countries it is necessary to apply for the visa before coming to Germany. If staying less than 90 days in Germany there are even more regulations. Citizens from certain countries can entry Germany for this time without a visa. These are Venezuela, Vatican City, Uruguay, Singapore, Seychelles, Paraguay, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Mauritius, Malaysia, Macau, Croatia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Chile, Brunei, Brazil, Bolivia, Bermuda, Barbados, Bahamas und Argentina. More detailed information and lists of the certain countries can also be found on the webpage of the Foreign Office or by going to the consulate or the German embassy in one’s home country.

For those who just want to go to Germany for one semester there are also information councilors at the home university. When applying for the visa there are different ones for what one has to apply. What kind of visa is necessary depends on the application to the German university. If the university place is already secure and confirmed one can apply for a visa for the stay for study purposes. If the application is not yet confirmed or one has to apply for a visa to visit the German university or to do a test one has to apply for a visa for the purpose of university application. But careful, the visa doesn’t cover the whole stay in Germany. Those visas normally just last for three months. Afterwards, one has to apply for an additional residence permit in Germany. This can be done at the Aliens Department after changing one’s residence at the Registration Office. Those who are still confused or who have further questions can go to the International Office at the German university. The councilor can answer all the important questions and remember the deadlines.

Important documents for the application

To get a visa and later the residence permit one need certain document. For the visa it is necessary to show the health insurance in Germany and a proof of financing. The German Embassy or the Consulate can say what else is required, for example German knowledge, the confirmation of the university place in Germany, etc. For the residence permit it takes the confirmation of the Registration Office, health insurance, certificate of enrollment, identity document and visa. It is also important to know that the residence permit is not for ever but just lasts for two years. Those who study longer can extend the permission. All those formalities are quite confusing and it can also last a long time till all documents are applied and confirmed. Therefore, it is really important to get the information in time. Especially for those who study the total time in Germany and organize their stay alone. When doing a semester abroad there is a lot of help from the home university as well but it is also good to start planning early.