How to Apply for a Student Visa in Germany

Do you want to study in Germany? It’s not as difficult as you might think. One of the first steps is to understand the visa requirements for international students. Here are a few tips on what to do and when.

The possibilities for students interested in spending some time in Germany are seemingly endless. The country’s home to around 300 education institutions with more than 15,000 different study programs. To make it easier for international students to enroll in some of those programs, the government and universities have created informational websites and web portals (

Be clear about your educational goals before applying for a visa

Before even starting the visa process, know what your goals are. Do you want to take a short course? Do you want to stay longer and get a degree in Germany? This is important because there are different visas depending on your goals.

A visa for every student

Securing a visa is one of the most important first steps for prospective students from abroad. Germany offers a few different types of student visas, all available by applying through the German embassy or consulate in your home country. Make sure to do this before coming to Germany.

  • The Schengen visa allows people to stay in Germany for up to three months per half-yearly period. These visas are ideal for those who are interested in touring around the country or taking short language courses.
  • Language course visas cover students’ stays for the length of the language course.
  • National visas allow students to stay longer than three months and are designed for those who want to pursue academic degrees or more extensive educational research.
  • Student applicant visas are for students who want to study in Germany on a longer-term basis but have not yet been admitted to a university. This visa allows them to come to Germany for three months to look for a program. Once they have enrolled, the visa can be converted to a national visa. If they do not enroll in a program within three months, the visas may sometimes be extended but that is up to the discretion of the visa-granting authorities.

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