Student Residence Permit Germany: A Guide for International Students
If you are an international student planning to study in Germany, obtaining a student visa or residence permit is a crucial step to ensure a smooth and legal stay in the country. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the necessary information regarding the German student residence permit, including the types available, application procedures, working rights, and possibilities for staying in Germany after completing your studies.
Reviewedby our Expat expert Espen Mjos
What is a German Residence Permit for Studies?
Obtaining a student residence permit in Germany is essential for international students. It allows you to legally reside, study, and work in the country during your educational journey. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the application process, gather the required documents, and fulfill the necessary obligations to ensure a smooth transition and an enriching experience in Germany.
A German residence permit for studies, also known as a student residence permit, is an official document that allows international students to reside in Germany for the purpose of pursuing their education. It serves as proof of legal residence and is required for students from non-European Union (EU).
Do I need a Residence Permit to Study in Germany?
Yes, if you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you will need a residence permit to study in Germany. Initially, you will require a student visa to enter Germany, which must be converted into a residence permit upon arrival. The residence permit is issued by the local Foreigners Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) or the local Residents' Registration Office (Bürgeramt).
EU/EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland): no need for student visa, register with local registration's office
Andorra, Australia, Great Britain, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, South Korea, United States of America: You can apply for a German visa at local foreigners office in Germany
All others: You have to apply at the German Embassy for your German student visa
Types of German Residence Permits for Studying
There are different types of residence permits available based on your specific educational circumstances:
Residence Permit to Attend University:
This permit is for students enrolled in a degree program at a recognized German university or higher education institution.
Residence Permit to Attend a Preparatory College:
Students attending a preparatory college (Studienkolleg) to fulfill academic requirements before enrolling in a degree program can apply for this permit.
Residence Permit to Attend Language Courses:
International students studying German language courses or participating in a language preparatory program can obtain this permit.
How to Apply for a German Residence Permit for Studies
Applying for a student residence permit in Germany is a step-by-step process that requires careful attention to detail. By following these essential steps, you can ensure a smooth application process:
Find the Foreigners' Authority in Your Area
The first step is to locate the nearest Foreigners' Authority (Ausländerbehörde) responsible for your place of residence in Germany. The Foreigners' Authority is the official government office that handles immigration matters and issues residence permits. You can easily find the contact information and address of the relevant authority online or by contacting the local German embassy or consulate in your home country.
Register Your Address
Upon arriving in Germany, it is crucial to register your address at the local Residents' Registration Office (Bürgeramt) at Kreisverwaltungsreferat (short KVR) within the first few weeks. This registration, known as Anmeldung, is mandatory for all residents in Germany, including international students. During the registration process, you will provide your personal details, such as your name, date of birth, nationality, and address. The registration certificate you receive serves as proof of your legal residence and is an important document for your residence permit application.
As an international student that has a certificate of enrollment of a German university you are eligible for private health insurance, which offers comprehensive coverage at affordable rates. It is important to research different private insurance providers and choose a suitable plan that fulfills the necessary criteria. The ottonova tariffs study protect and study free offer a good price-performance-ratio.
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Gathering the required documents is a crucial step in the application process. Ensure that you have the following documents ready:
Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your stay in Germany. Make sure to have at least two photocopies of your passport.
Proof of Financial Resources: You need to provide evidence that you have sufficient financial resources to cover your living expenses during your studies in Germany. This can be in the form of a blocked account (Sperrkonto) or a scholarship confirmation letter.
University Admission Letter: A letter of acceptance from a recognized German university or higher education institution is required to prove that you have been accepted into a study program.
Completed Residence Permit Application Form: Fill out the residence permit application form accurately and completely. The form can be obtained from the Foreigners' Authority's website or by visiting their office in person.
Start your health insurance process: For your student residence permit you need to obtain health insurance. As a student you are eligible for private health insurance. With ottonova you can already apply before you move from your home country and have English-speaking support.
In addition to these documents, there may be specific requirements depending on your individual circumstances or the policies of the respective Foreigners' Authority. It is advisable to check the official website of the Foreigners' Authority or contact them directly for a comprehensive list of the required documents.
Submit the Application to the Foreigners' Authority
After gathering all the necessary documents, you should make an appointment at the Foreigners' Authority to submit your application. The appointment can be scheduled online or by contacting the office directly. During the appointment, you will submit your application form and provide the supporting documents. The staff at the Foreigners' Authority will review your application and may ask additional questions or request further documents if needed.
Pick Up Your Student Residence Permit Card
Once your application is approved, you will be notified by the Foreigners' Authority. You can then visit the office to collect your student residence permit card. This card serves as official proof of your legal residence in Germany and should be carried with you at all times. The card typically contains important information such as your name, date of birth, address, and the validity period of your residence permit.
By following these steps and carefully preparing your application, you can increase your chances of obtaining a student residence permit in Germany smoothly and efficiently.
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Every Non-EU/EEA citizen who wants to study in Germany need a students residence permit. Which registration form you need and where you have to apply depends on your home country.
How Much is a Student Residence Permit in Germany?
The cost of a student residence permit in Germany varies depending on the location and administrative fees. Generally, the fee ranges between €56 and €110. It's important to check with the specific Foreigners' Authority in your area for the exact fee.
For how Long is a Student Residence Permit in Germany?
A student residence permit is typically granted for the duration of your study program, allowing you to stay in Germany legally during that period. The permit is renewable, usually on an annual basis, as long as you continue to meet the necessary requirements.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions and concerns regarding your individual situation, consult with the appropriate authorities or legal professionals.
Public health insurance:
Your premium depends on your (estimated) income, there are minimum and maximum limits.
Your premium can only be influenced by the “additional contribution” for each individual public health insurance fund.
There may be additional payments at the end of the year.
Private health insurance:
Your premium depends on state of health, age, and desired benefits
Your monthly premium can be adjusted with components such as deductibles.
No additional payments at the end of the year.
If you are eligible for private health insurance and you are in Germany on a visa or a limited permit, we can offer you the Expat Tariff up to five years.
We have different full-insurance options at ottonova. All tariffs are solid and built to last. If you plan on staying in Germany for longer than five years, you can choose between Premium Economy Class, Business Class and First Class.
If you are here on a limited permit and plan to stay in Germany less than five years – or simply not sure how long you'll be here - we also offer a special Expat tariff, which provides premium coverage to keep you healthy and happy throughout your stay in Germany. For a full overview of the services offered in our Expat tariff, click here.
Many private health insurers offer so-called "cheap plans", which are particularly attractive for young people. They don't cost much when you are still healthy and fit. Such prices are made possible by significantly limited coverage. Not everyone knows what they are getting themselves into with this kind of plan. Often, cheap private plans do not even come close to the level of coverage you would get from public health insurance. In the event of a claim, it comes as a great surprise when the insurance company points out high deductibles or maximum reimbursement amounts in the policy. Switching to a better plan usually requires a new risk assessment and is, therefore, often not possible.
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