The German student visa process

Indian students applying for higher education in programmes longer than 3 months in German universities can apply for a National Visa. Find out more about how to apply, and about other types of student visas to Germany.

Hundreds of Indians apply for a German student visa each year for their studying abroad in Germany. Germany is very welcoming of foreign students, but the visa process can take a few months and you should start the process as soon as you have an invitation letter and letters of confirmation for financial aid in hand. At the very least, apply not sooner than three months before you have to leave for Germany.

Applications are to be made at the German embassy in New Delhi or consulate in your city or the nearest metro in India. There are consulates in Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. Here is a look at the steps to apply for a German visa to make the process easy for you.

As a student applying for a duration of stay longer than 90 days, you will be applying for a National Visa. You will have to appear for a personal interview at the German consulate or embassy with all the necessary documents. You will need to make an appointment online to submit your visa application.

In addition to a German Visa, a student staying in the country for a duration that exceeds 90 days will be required to get a Residence Permit. The application for the Residence Permit must be made at the earliest, on arrival in Germany.

There is no appropriate or fixed time within which to apply for your visa, however, it is best to be done at the earliest. Three months prior to the joining date at the university is reasonable enough time for the visa to get processed.

Types of German Visa for students

There are three different categories of student visa –

Language Course Visa (Visa for Language Learning)

German/German & English study programmes require that candidates are proficient in the German language. The following German language certificates are recognised by the universities –
  • German Language Diploma of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, Level II (DSD)
  • Goethe Institute German Language Diploma (GDS)
  • Test of German as a Foreign Language (TestDaF)

Applicants to German universities who need their language skills to be validified can enrol for the aforementioned language courses and apply for the Language Course Visa. Get the complete details here.

Student Applicant Visa (Visum Zur Studienbewerbung)

The student applicant visa is for those applicants who have applied for admission to German universities but are awaiting a response. The Student Application Visa acts as a stopgap for the actual student visa. It allows students to join the programme on time, without having to wait for the student visa application be processed. The visa is granted for 90 days.

Germany Student Visa (Visum Zu Studienzwecken)

The German Student Visa is for students who have received an admission offer from a German University. It could be a Foundation Course or a regular graduate programme, such as a course in medicine studies. Students are granted a visa for a period of 90 days. However, students who have to remain in German for longer durations must apply at the 'Ausländerbehörde' (the Alien Registration Office), in the city where the university is located to get the 'Aufenthaltsgenehmigung' (proper Residence Permit).

Documents Required

Check off the following documents from a list as and when you prepare them:
  • Application form, completed (the application form can be downloaded online)
  • Passport (valid)
  • Two photographs
  • Letter of acceptance to a university in Germany
  • Academic transcripts (marksheets)
  • Proof of sufficient funds (about 8,000 Euro per year). You may show a scholarship for study in Germany as proof too
  • Certificate of German Language proficiency (if studying in German or attending a language course)
  • Certificate showing health insurance purchase
  • Declaration of the authenticity of your documents

One way to show proof of availability of funds is to make a security payment into a blocked account at Deutsche Bank or some other German bank. A blocked account will not let you withdraw money until you get to German.

Application Process

Arrive at the visa application centre at least 15 minutes before your appointment time. You will be given a token against the printout of your appointment letter. If you miss your appointment, you can't cancel or reschedule. Instead, you will need to book a new appointment after 24 hours.

At the time of the visa application, you will also need to provide a digital photograph and biometric fingerprint data. If you have injuries on your fingers or henna, you should allow it to heal/fade away before you book an appointment as these can interfere with the Biometric scan.

After you receive a letter of approval from the embassy, you can submit your passport along with the approval letter to VFS, the German Visa Application Center, in your city. You will also need to pay a small fee (currently INR 911) for the visa.

You will also need to apply for a residence permit after you arrive in Germany, valid for 2 years.

Other Student Visas

If you are taking a short-term course of less than three months for a half-year period, you can apply for a Schengen visa.

If you haven't been already admitted to a German university, you can apply for a Student applicant visa This will let you visit Germany for three months, while you look for a programme to study. After you secure admission you can convert your visa into a National Visa. It may be possible to extend the Student Applicant visa, at the discretion of the visa authorities.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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