International Affairs

Residence in Germany

 

Students from EU/EEA member states and Switzerland
… can enter Germany without any visa with their valid identification documents. They do not need any residence permit for studies.

Students from the USA, Canada, Australia, El Salvador, Honduras, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Brazil
… can enter Germany for studies with a valid passport without any visa

Within the first three months in Germany or another Schengen state, you have to apply for a residence permit for the purposes of study.

Students from all other Non-EU member states (third states)
… need a national visa for education and study purposes for entering Germany (no tourist visa!)

 

 

Applying for A Residence Permit for Purposes of Study (“Aufenthaltstitel (AT) zu Studienzwecken”)

Having entered Germany or another country in the Schengen area, you normally have three months’ time to apply for a residence permit. In any case, you have to apply for a residence permit for purposes of study with the local Aliens Registration Office before your entrance visa expires.
The waiting time until issuance of the eAT (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel – electronic residence permit) usually is about three months.

You need:

  1. Biometric passport photo
  2. Registration certificate
  3. Health insurance certificate
  4. Enrollment certificate (by KIT, upon enrollment)
  5. Appointment with the responsible Aliens Registration Office (waiting time for an appointment up to five weeks).
  6. Money in cash: EUR 65.00 to EUR 110.00 depending on the duration of the residence permit.
  7. Personal documents
  8. Proof of financial resources: You must prove that you have at least EUR 853 per month (EUR 10,236 per year). The following forms of proof are possible:
    • A scholarship award notification from a German foundation / university or from your home country. If the scholarship amount is below EUR 853 per month, you have to prove that you have the remaining financial resources.
    • Blocked account with a bank in Germany: For a residence permit of one year, you have to deposit EUR 10,236 on the bank account. Each month, you are allowed to withdraw EUR 853 only. Not all banks offer blocked accounts. From abroad, you can apply for a blocked account with Deutsche Bank. Note: After entering Germany, you will have no access to the money on the blocked account. You will be able to withdraw money from this blocked account after having received your residence permit only. Granting of the residence permit may take several weeks! Please bring along sufficient cash or have sufficient money on another account in order to pay for your living in the first three months!
    • Declaration of financial support in writing by your parents, stating that all expenses during your stay for studies in Germany will be covered by your parents. This document must be submitted in original form and in German (or as a certified translation). As a rule, the signature must be certified by a notary or the German Consulate and carry and official seal. In addition, certified proofs of your parents income have to be presented (to confirm that financial resources are sufficient to fund your studies in Germany).
    • Declaration of commitment (Article 68 AufenthG, German Residence Act) by relatives or persons knowing you: The commitment is to be declared to the Aliens Registration Office or the German representation abroad. It can be made for the entire study period. The persons have to prove to the authority that they are in a position to comply with this commitment (certified proofs of income).

Please note: Not all types of proof of financial resources from all countries are accepted by all German embassies. Please ask your German embassy in good time which proof of financial resources from your home country will be accepted by them.  

Extending / Changing the Residence Permit

You already have a residence permit for studies in another EU member state?

This residence permit for the purposes of study is valid for the issuing EU member state only, not for Germany.
With this residence permit, you are allowed to travel as a tourist to all Schengen states, including Germany.

► Information: Schengen visa vs. national visa

The national visa always is bound to a purpose (study, work). This purpose may be pursued in this country only, i.e. the purpose is bound to the country (study in Germany, not in other Schengen states). However, it is always possible to travel in the Schengen area with this visa. The Schengen visa is a tourist visa for the Schengen area (travels).

You have been in Germany for a longer time already and you possess a residence permit for preparing your studies / for study?

Look for your residence permit in the following list and read the information provided there.
Please note: Enrollment with the wrong residence permit is not permitted!

Residence Permit for Study Preparation (Article 16.1 AufenthG, German Residence Act)

The residence permit for study preparation consists of two documents: eAT (electronic residence title / permit with a photo in the size of a credit card) and a supplementary sheet (containing the exact details of your residence permit). The residence permit for study preparation may be granted for a maximum period of two years. You have to be enrolled in a degree program within two years upon the date of your arrival!
The residence permit for the purposes of study will be granted, if you attend a German course or the Studienkolleg (preparatory college) to prepare for your studies.
With the residence permit for study preparation, you can be enrolled in a degree program at KIT. The supplementary sheet may be updated after enrollment only.
► For enrollment, you have to present the valid eAT (residence title / permit) and the supplementary sheet!

Residence Permit for Studying at Another University in Germany (Article 16.1, AufenthG, German Residence Act)

The residence permit for studying at another university in Germany consists of two documents: eAT (electronic residence title / permit with a photo in the size of a credit card) and a supplementary sheet (giving the exact details on admission: Usually, the name of the university and subject studied).
You already have the residence permit for studying, if you have studied at a German university before and now want to move to KIT and enroll here.
Present the admission letter of KIT to your Aliens Registration Office and have the supplementary sheet updated before you move to Karlsruhe and enroll at KIT.
► For enrollment, you have to present the valid eAT and the supplementary sheet (updated for KIT)!

Please note: Information on changing the subject or changing the university:

Upon the start of your studies, a change of university or of the subject studied generally is possible within 18 months. After this period, a change will be permitted under certain conditions only. In any case, it is advisable to inform the Aliens Registration Office after admission and to have the supplementary sheet updated. If you change the subject or university without prior approval by the Aliens Registration Office, this change might not be permitted and you will have to leave the country without a degree.

Residence Permit for Studying at KIT (Article 16.1, AufenthG, German Residence Act)

The residence permit for studying at KIT consists of two documents: eAT (electronic residence title / permit with a photo in the size of a credit card) and a supplementary sheet (giving the exact details on admission: Usually, KIT and subject studied).
You already have the residence permit for studying, if you are studying at KIT and now have applied for another subject in which you would like to enroll. 
Present the corresponding letter of admission of KIT to your Aliens Registration Office and have the supplementary sheet updated for your new subject before you come to enroll at KIT.  
► For enrollment, you have to present the valid eAT and the supplementary sheet (updated for the new subject at KIT)!

Please note: Information on changing the subject or changing the university:

Upon the start of your studies, a change of university or of the subject studied generally is possible within 18 months. After this period, a change will be permitted under certain conditions only. In any case, it is advisable to inform the Aliens Registration Office after admission and to have the supplementary sheet updated. If you change the subject or university without prior approval by the Aliens Registration Office, this change might not be permitted and you will have to leave the country without a degree.

Residence Permit for Seeking Work upon Graduation in Germany (Article 16.4, AufenthG, German Residence Act)

Enrollment for studies at KIT is possible. Please note, however, that it is not always possible to convert the residence permit for seeking work into a residence permit for study (e.g. when studying for a second master’s degree in Germany)! In this case, you are allowed to study, but have to leave the country upon expiry of your residence permit for seeking work (18 months), if you have not found a job.
► For enrollment, you have to present the valid eAT!

 

Residence Permit for Family or Spouse Reunification and for Family Members of an EU Citizen, Settlement Permit

  • Usually, the activity or education / training is not subject to any restrictions, enrollment for studies is possible.
  • Present the valid eAT for enrollment.

 

Other Residence Permits for Au-pairs, for Passing a Voluntary Year for Social Services (FSJ), for an Internship, for Trainees, or for Attending Schools, etc.

Contact your Aliens Registration Office in due time to find out whether you are allowed to directly start studies and whether the purpose of your stay can be changed (e.g. from au-pair to study) in Germany. If the change of purpose is not possible and you have to apply for a new entry visa for the purposes of study with the German embassy in your home country, time for your departure, visa application, and return journey should be sufficient. If it is possible to change the purpose of your stay in Germany, apply for the change of the eAT and the update of the supplementary sheet with your Aliens Registration Office prior to enrollment by presenting the admission letter of KIT.
► For enrollment, you have to present the valid eAT for study purposes and the supplementary sheet (updated for KIT)!

Important to Know: Rules on Studies and Residence Regulations

There are some residence regulations you must observe. The list below is not complete, but contains the most important rules. Violations of these regulations may be punished with fines or with the order of your immediate departure from Germany.
When your residence permit expires, apply for an extension in due time.

Changes of your living conditions:

You are obliged to immediately inform the Aliens Registration Office about any changes of your living conditions, such as a change of address due to relocation, termination of studies, planned change of the subject studied or of the university.

Purpose:

Your residence permit for the purposes of study is bound to enrollment. As soon as you are no longer enrolled, your residence permit will expire.

Duration of your stay for studies:

Total duration of your studies (preparation for studies, bachelor’s and master’s programs) must not exceed ten years. Upon expiry of these ten years, the residence permit may be withdrawn, even if you have not yet finished your studies.

Studies and work:

As a student, you are allowed to work 120 full days (i.e. up to 8 hours per day) or 240 half days (i.e. up to 4 hours per day) every year. Activities at the university (as a student assistant or scientific assistant) can be pursued in addition to the 120 full or 240 half days. A mandatory internship also is not included in this permissible duration of work. If, however, the internship takes longer than required, every additional day is part of the 120/240 days!

Longer leave:

If you leave Germany for a period longer than 6 months during the term of validity of your residence permit, you will no longer be allowed to enter Germany, as your residence permit becomes invalid after 6 months outside of Germany (this also applies to the settlement permit). If you have to leave Germany for a longer period (e.g. for an internship or for exchange studies), inform the responsible Aliens Registration Office and have the return period extended. If you leave Germany for more than 6 months without informing the Aliens Registration Office, you will have to apply for a visa for re-entry. This also applies, if you stay within the EU.

This residence permit is also valid for tourist travels of up to 90 days to other Schengen states.