Entry Visa & Residence Permit

Entry Visa

Whether you need an entry visa to enter Germany depends on your citizenship and desired length of stay. In order to find out, please go to the appropriate German embassy or consulate website or the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

For studying there are two types of entry visas:

  1. Student Applicant Visa (Visum zur Studienbewerbung)
    If you have not yet received an offer to study, you must apply for a student applicant visa.
  2. Student Visa (Visum zu Studienzwecken)
    If you have received an offer of admission, you must apply for a student visa. Student visas are usually valid for three months. Within these three months, you must apply for a student residence permit at the Berlin Immigration Office.

General Required Documents

  • Valid passport
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of financial resources
  • Certificates of past academic work and achievements
  • Certificate of German language proficiency or proof that you intend on attending a language course in Germany
  • Offer of admission or proof you meet school requirements for your prospective study programme

Things to be aware of when applying for a visa:

  • It can take several months to process your application and it is not possible to enter Germany without it.
  • Tourist and language learning visas can not be converted into a residence permit.
  • You should arrive in Germany with enough time to enrol and start the appropriate organisation processes for the residence permit. You must be enroled to apply for your residence permit.

Who does not need a visa?

  • Citizens of EU-/EFTA-member states, of Andorra, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Corea (South Corea), San Marino, United Kingdom, United States of America. 
  • International students in EU-member states (excluding Denmark and Ireland) who already hold a student residence permit. 
  • Individuals holding a residence permit in a Schengen country.

Information for UK citizens:

Informations on the right of residence are provided on the pages of the Federal Ministry of the Interior: Information for UK nationals and their family members about the right of residence provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement  

Further Information

Residence Permit

International students who are not from the EU or EFTA countries and plan to study in German for more than 90 days must apply for a residence permit at the Berlin Immigration Office (Landesamt für Einwanderung Berlin) within three months of arrival. You must apply in person and preferably by appointment.

General Required Documents

  • Valid passport
  • A current biometric photo
  • Completed application
  • Proof of financial resources
    • For the initial application: e. g. Blocked account at a German bank with the amount determined by the Berlin Immigration Office / submission of an affadavit of support/formal obligation by a third party by official form / stipend or scholarship / notarized letter from your parent(s) stating your financial costs are covered for the duration of your studies with proof of the income of your parents for the last six months (IE letter from a bank, payslips).
    • For extensions to the residence permit: Bank statements for the last six months
  • Proof of health insurance coverage
  • Enrolment certificate
  • Residence registration confirmation or rental contract and move-in confirmation from your landlord
  • Residence permit fee

You must be sure to extend your residence permit before it expires. An extension is granted based on adequate progress of your studies.

Berlin Immigration Office - Tips:

It is possible and highly recommended to make an appointment online. Your appointment must be booked prior to the expiration date of either your entry visa or current residence permit.

International Transfer Students

If your residence permit is tied explicitly to a specific university and/or programme, make sure to update your residence permit.

Further Information