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German Student Visa

Expatrio 2024-02-15
A german student looking concentrated


A German Student Visa is necessary for many international students that are coming from non-EU or non-EEA countries.

There are three types of visas: a standard Student Visa, a Student Applicant Visa, and a Language Course Visa. It is important to understand everything that is required to get the national visa before you begin your application, which is what we will discuss in this article. 

Learn more about the required documents, the visa fee, and the processing time.

What is a German Student Visa?

Learn everything you need to know about the Student Visa for Germany.

A German Student Visa is necessary for all international students who wish to study in Germany, with the exception of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and Swiss nationals who can do so without a visa. The visa grants you the right to remain in Germany for the duration of your course. A German Student Visa is not particularly costly, but it does require you to jump some bureaucratic hurdles before it will be granted. It could also require a visit to your German consulate.

It’s important to understand that there are three types of student visa:

  • The main German Student Visa (Visum Zur Studienzwecken) which is for those who have already been accepted onto a university course
  • Language Course Visa for those accepted onto a language preparatory course that lasts between three months and one year
  • Student Applicant Visa (Visum Zur Studienbewerbung), which is for those who haven’t chosen their course yet or who are still awaiting confirmation of acceptance.

How much is a German student visa fee?

The student visa fee is €75 euros.

Is IELTS necessary for Germany student visa?

Those undertaking a degree course that is taught in English may need to prove they have a sufficient level of English via an IELTS English language test.

If you are undertaking a German-taught degree course, then it is possible to apply for a Germany student visa without IELTS, but instead you may need proof of sufficient German via a TestDaf score.

How long does it take to get a student visa for Germany?

The German student visa processing time is typically around 6 to 12 weeks, although it can take up to 4 months in some instances.


Student Applicant Visa

The Student Applicant Visa is necessary for those who have still not decided on the course they want to apply for or have still not received confirmation of their place, but in either case, they are ready to move to Germany.

Sometimes referred to as the Prospective Student Visa, this visa allows students applying to German universities to enter and stay in Germany. Unlike a student visa, which may be granted for up to four years, a Student Applicant Visa is valid for three months, but it can be extended to up to nine months. If you haven’t been accepted onto a course after nine months, you will need to return home.

Once you have been accepted onto a course, it’s important to make your application for a Student Visa. You do not need to leave Germany to apply for the Student Visa.

Get your student visa step by step

  1. Health Insurance

    Everyone who comes to Germany for work or studies needs to register for health insurance.

  2. Funds

    You’ll need to prove you have the funds to cover living costs for one year or the duration of your stay.

  3. Qualifications

    You'll need to provide your high school diploma or equivalent.

  4. Language Skills

    Depending on whether you are doing a German or English-taught course you’ll need to prove you have a grasp of the language.

  5. Acceptance

    You’ll need to provide proof of acceptance onto your university course.

  6. Visa paperwork

    You'll need: passport, biometric photo, certificate of enrollment, proof of: finances, health insurance, and residence; plus the visa application filled out.

Requirements for a German Student Visa

To apply for a German Visa, you will need the following documents:

  • Proof of your acceptance on the course
  • Evidence of existing qualifications (high school diploma)
  • Valid passport, and photocopies of your passport
  • Current biometric photo
  • Proof of funds (via a blocked account) or proof that your costs will be covered by your parents or by a scholarship
  • Proof of health insurance

Make sure you have considered the living costs and that you have found a way to cover them (i.e. from parents) or are able to deposit the amount to cover you for one year in a blocked account. You may be able to get additional funds through a scholarship from your home country or possibly even a student loan.

Existing funds for student visa

Although you are permitted to work up to 120 days a year on a student visa, you cannot include this as your proof of funds when applying for your visa. At Expatrio, we can help you set up a blocked account for proving your existing funds before moving to Germany.


It is mandatory by law for all residents in Germany to have health insurance, and you will need proof that you have registered for healthcare insurance before you apply for your Student Visa.

Students over 30 have the choice of registering for private or public healthcare coverage. Those under 30 may take out public health insurance, and they can enjoy a discounted rate (around €110 per month). Expatrio’s health insurance partner, Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), is one of the biggest public healthcare providers in Germany, and the #1 provider for international students.

We can help you register for healthcare cover with TK before you make your visa application. You can find out more about this below and on our Health insurance for International Students page.


Health Insurance for International Students

German health insurance for international students is essential for being granted a student visa

Students aged under 30 must register with the public healthcare system, but they are eligible to pay a discounted rate (of around €110) per month, which covers both basic medical and nursing care insurance. You will need to provide proof of health insurance for a German Student Visa.

At Expatrio, we partner with Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), one of Germany’s largest public healthcare providers, and the one with the most international members. See our Health Insurance service page to find out how you can begin the sign-up process.

Students aged over 30 are not able to access this discounted rate but are eligible to apply for private healthcare cover. Whether you opt for private or public healthcare, bringing proof of the cover to your visa interview is imperative.

Those attending a Student Visa interview without proof of public (or private) healthcare cover will be refused a visa at that point. It may take up to another four months to arrange a second interview and wait for the visa to be processed.

You can find out more on our Health Insurance for Foreign Students page.


Application Process

How can I get a student visa for Germany?

You need to begin your student visa application around four months before the start date of your course. This should provide enough time to make an appointment, do the necessary paperwork, attend the interview, and wait the 6 to 12 weeks for your visa to be processed.

The process to obtain your visa involves liaising with the German consulate in your country, ensuring you have filled out all forms correctly, and having the necessary documents prepared.

1. Make an appointment with the German consulate

You will need to attend an interview at the German consulate in your home country in order to be accepted for a student visa. Because these appointments get booked up in advance, you need to do this in good time. After you have made the appointment, go through the following steps and ensure they are all completed by the time you attend the interview.

2. Set up a Blocked Account

A blocked account is a type of German bank account for international students to prove they have the funds to cover their costs of living during their studies. Because the average cost of living for a student in Germany is €861 a month, you will need to have an account with a balance of at least €10,332 (12 months of living costs). See Expatrio’s Blocked Accounts page to start the process of setting up an account quickly, easily, and safely online.

3. Apply for health insurance

Make sure you are registered for health insurance and have proof of this cover that is valid in Germany (in almost all cases, this will have to be with a German provider). You can start the registration process with one of Germany’s top providers, the Techniker Krankenkasse, on Expatrio’s Health Insurance page today.

4. Fill in the application form

This can be downloaded from your nearest German consulate’s website. When you fill the application form out, take care to check you have included everything that is asked. Ask a friend or family member to go over it for you to check you haven’t missed anything. An incomplete form can result in a refusal of the visa.

5. Check you have all the documents ready

Ahead of your appointment with the consulate, ensure you now have all documents ready with a Germany Student Visa checklist. This includes your health insurance, passport, copies of passport, passport photos, high school certificate, course acceptance letter, birth certificate, proof of blocked account or funds, and the correctly filled out application form itself.


Tips for your student visa application

To sum up, here are some tips for you

  • It’s often worth seeking expert advice when it comes to applying for a student visa. Expatrio can offer individual support and advice to those applying for a German Student Visas. Expatrio can also help you with registering with public health insurance and setting up a blocked account.
  • Check if your passport has enough validity on it. You will not be granted for a visa if your passport is going to run out during the course of your studies. It may, therefore, be necessary to renew your passport before you apply for your visa, even if it still has two years left on it.
  • Draw up a well-researched Germany student visa checklist, with all the documents you’ll need and the timelines involved. This will mean you are less likely to miss anything important, and the visa is more likely to be accepted. Any problems with your documents can cause a delay in the processing of the visa.
  • Do not confuse having a student visa with having a resident’s permit (Aufenthaltstitel). If a residency permit is what you need, check our German Permanent Residency Permit page.
  • UK residents need to apply for a student visa to study in Germany if they plan to stay in the country for more than 90 days.

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