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International Students Office (IStO)

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Adenauerring 2
76131 Karlsruhe

Campus South
Bldg.: 50.20, Room 106

Phone +49 721 608-44911
Fax +49 721 608-44907
Contact Form

Opening hours Secretary
Mo.-Fr. 9 am-12 am
Closed on Tuesday

Please also note the office hours of our individual employees

Pre-Arrival Guide (pdf)

Visa and residence permit

For enrollment at KIT, you must present a residence permit or a visa for studying.
You will also find a lot of information on visas and residence permits on the websites of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

 

Table of contents:

Application for a visa to enter Germany

Students from EU / EEA countries and Switzerland

Students from the EU, the EEA countries and Switzerland do not need a visa and also no residence permit for their studies.

Students from the USA, Canada, Australia, El Salvador, Honduras, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Israel and Brazil

You can travel to Germany without a visa to study. With your valid passport, you enter the country as a tourist and apply for a study residence permit in Germany within the first three months (validity period of the tourist status). You need the study residence permit to legally stay in Germany and to go to university. At the same time, it allows you to travel as a tourist to other Schengen states for up to 90 days.

Residence permit to study

Within three months of entering the Schengen area, you must apply for a residence permit to study at the local Immigration office. Which immigration office is responsible for you depends on your place of residence.

To apply for a residence permit, you need a room / apartment with a rental contract in your name. With the rental contract (or housing confirmation), you must register first with the local residents' registration office within 2 weeks after your moving in. After enrollment at KIT, you will be asked to apply for a residence permit at the local immigration office of your place of residence in a second step (please note: waiting time for appointments is up to 5 weeks).

Costs of the residence permit: between EUR 65.00 and EUR 110.00 depending on the duration of the residence permit. The waiting period for issue of the eAT (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel = (electronic) residence permit) is usually about 3 months.

Please note: The three-month period does not start from the date of entry into Germany, but from the date of entry into the Schengen area.

Students from all other non-EU countries (third countries)

Nationals of all other non-EU countries need a national visa for training and studying (no tourist visa!) for entering the country. Please make sure that you in any case present the KIT admission form (Zulassungsbescheid) to the embassy / consulate. This must be requested in good time before departure with the German foreign representation (embassy or consulate) responsible for the last place of residence.

For enrollment at KIT, you must present the valid visa.

Documents for the visa application

Please check with the embassy in your home country for the necessary documents. You will need in any case:

  • a travel health insurance for the first three months (or the validity duration of the visa)
  • admission form of KIT
  • proof of funding (at least for the first three months, often the embassies require a proof of funding for at least one year)

Please note: A change of purpose within Germany is not possible! If you travel to Germany with a tourist visa or work visa, you are not allowed to study and cannot be enrolled. You must then leave the country and apply for a study visa at the embassy in your home country!

National visa (3-months)

If you travel to Germany with a national 3-month visa for studying, the visa must be converted into a study residence permit before its expiration. To do this, you must submit an application to the local immigration office before your visa expires.

Residence permit to study

Before the expiration of your entry visa for studying purposes, you must apply for a residence permit to study at the local immigration office. Which immigration office is responsible for you depends on your place of residence.

To apply for a residence permit, you need a room / apartment with a rental contract in your name. With the rental contract (or housing confirmation), you must register first with the local residents' registration office within 2 weeks after your moving in After enrollment at KIT, you apply for a residence permit at the local immigration office of your place of residence in a second step (please note: waiting time for appointments is up to 5 weeks). Costs of the residence permit: between EUR 65.00 and EUR 110.00 depending on the duration of the residence permit.

The waiting period for issue of the eAT (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel = (electronic) residence permit) is usually about 3 months.

You already have a residence permit / visa to study in an EU country?

This residence permit for purposes of studying is only valid for the issuing EU country. You may travel to all the Schengen countries with this residence permit / visa, but only stay there as a tourist. To study in Germany, you must apply for a study visa at the relevant German embassy!

Information: Schengen visa vs. national visa
The national visa is always purpose-bound (study, work). The purpose may be exercised only in the country, i.e. the purpose is bound to the country (study in Germany, not in other Schengen states). Traveling in the Schengen area is however always permissible. The Schengen visa is a tourist visa for the entire Schengen area (travel).

Residence permit/eAT for enrollment

You have been in Germany for a longer time and you have a residence permit for study preparation / study. Please find your residence permit in the following list and read the information provided.

Please note: enrollment with the wrong residence permit is not possible!

Residence permit for study preparation § 16.1 AufenthG

The residence permit for study preparation consists of 2 documents: eAT (electronic residence permit with photo in the size of a check card) and supplementary sheet (containing the exact details of your residence permit). A residence permit for study preparation is possible for a maximum of 2 years; two years after the date of arrival, one has to be enrolled in a degree program!

You will receive the residence permit for studying if you are attending a German course or the preparatory college.
⇨ With the residence permit for the preparation of studies you can be enrolled at KIT in a degree program and need to update the supplementary sheet only after enrollment.

For enrollment, you have to present the valid eAT and the supplementary sheet!
Residence permit for studying at another university in Germany AufenthG § 16.1

The residence permit for study preparation consists of 2 documents: eAT (electronic residence permit with photo in the size of a check card) and supplementary sheet (giving the exact details about the entitlement: usually university and study subject).

You have the residence permit to study if you are already studying at a German university before enrolling at KIT and would now like to switch to KIT.
⇨ You should present the KIT's letter of admission to your immigration 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 about a change of subject and change of university:
From the beginning of studies, a change of university or of study subject is generally possible within 18 months. Thereafter, a change may only be accepted under certain conditions. In any case, it is therefore advisable to inform the immigration office after admission and have the supplementary sheet updated. If you change the course or university without the prior consent of the immigration office, it is possible that the change will not be accepted and you have to leave the country without a degree.

Residence permit for studying at KIT AufenthG § 16.1

The residence permit for studying consists of 2 documents: eAT (electronic residence permit with photo in the size of a check card) and supplementary sheet (giving the exact details about the entitlement: usually KIT and study subject).

You have the residence permit to study if you are already studying at KIT and now have applied for another subject and would like to enroll in it.
⇨ You should present the KIT's current letter of admission to your immigration office and have the supplementary sheet updated for your new subject before you come to KIT to enroll.

For enrollment, you have to present the valid eAT and the supplementary sheet (updated for the new subject course at KIT)!

Please note: Information about a change of subject and change of university:
From the beginning of studies, a change of university or of study subject is generally possible within 18 months. Thereafter, a change may only be accepted under certain conditions. In any case, it is therefore advisable to inform the immigration office after admission and have the supplementary sheet updated. If you change the course or university without the prior consent of the immigration office, it is possible that the change will not be accepted and you have to leave the country without a degree.

Residence permit for seeking work after graduation in Germany AufenthG §16.4

Enrollment at KIT for studying is possible. However, please note that you are not able in all cases (for example, studying for a second master's degree in Germany) to change your residence permit to work to a residence permit for studies! You may then still study, but you have to leave the country after the expiration 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, family members of an EU citizen, settlement permit
  • usually no restrictions on activity or training, enrollment for studies is possible
  • please provide the valid eAT at enrollment
Other residence permit for au pair, FSJ, trainee, internship, going to school etc.

Please inquire at your immigration office in good time whether it is allowed to directly begin studying and the change of purpose (e.g. from au pair to studying) within Germany is possible. If the change of purpose is not possible and you have to apply for a new entry visa at the German embassy in your home country, you should allow sufficient time for departure, application and return journey. Should you be able to change the purpose of your stay within Germany, please request the amendment of the eAT and the supplementary sheet with the KIT admission certificate before your enrollment.

For enrollment, you have to present the valid eAT for studying with current supplementary sheet (KIT).

Proof of funding for the application for a visa at the German embassy and / or the application for a residence permit in Germany

Non-EU students must prove that they have at least EUR 735 per month (EUR 8,820 per year) for the duration of their studies in order to be to apply for their study residence permit / visa.

Possible proof:

  • Scholarship certificate from a German foundation / university or from the home country. If the scholarship is less than EUR 735 euros per month, the remaining amount must be additionally proven.
  • A blocked account at a bank in Germany: For a one-year residence permit, you have to deposit EUR 8,820 to the bank account, you may only withdraw EUR 735 a month. Not all banks offer a blocked account. From abroad you can apply for a blocked account at Deutsche Bank. 
  • A written declaration of financial support from the parents that all costs during the stay in Germany are covered by the parents. This certificate must be submitted in the original and in German (or in certified translation). As a rule, the signature must be certified by a notary or the German consulate and be affixed with an official seal. In addition, certified proofs of the parents' income must be submitted (confirming that the financial resources are sufficient to finance studying in Germany).
  • A formal obligation (§68AufenthG) of relatives or acquaintances: The obligation is to be given to an immigration office or the German foreign representation. It can be issued for the entire study period. The persons must demonstrate to the relevant authority that they are in a position to comply with this obligation (certified proof of income).

Please note: not all types of proof of funding are accepted from all countries / by all German embassies. Please inquire at the German embassy in good time which proof of funding is accepted from your home country.

Studying and right of residence

There are some residence regulations that you should comply with. The list below is not complete, but only an overview of the most important rules. Violations of these regulations may result in the imposition of fines or your immediate departure from Germany be ordered:

Changes in your circumstances:
You are obligated to notify the immigration office immediately of any changes in your living conditions: e.g. change of address due to relocation, termination of studies, planned change of subject or university.

Purpose:
Your residence permit for the purpose of studying is bound to enrollment. As soon as you are no longer enrolled, your residence permit will be invalid.

Length of stay for studies:
The total duration of the studies (preparatory courses, Bachelor's and Master's degree) may ordinarily not exceed 10 years. At the end of the 10 years, the residence permit can be withdrawn, even if you have not finished your studies.

Studying and working:
As a student, you can work 120 whole days (i.e., up to 8 hours a day) or 240 half days (i.e., up to 4 hours a day) a year. Activities at the university (student or graduate assistant) can be exercised in addition - they do not count towards the 120 full or 240 half days A compulsory internship also does not count towards the 120/240 days. However, if the internship lasts longer than necessary for the compulsory internship, each additional day is part of the 120/240 days!

Longer departure:
If you leave Germany for more than 6 months during the validity period of your residence permit, you are no longer allowed to enter because the residence permit loses its validity after 6 months outside the country (also the settlement permit). Should you have to leave Germany for a longer period (e.g. for an internship or exchange study abroad), you can register this with your responsible immigration office and extend the return period. Should you leave Germany for more than 6 months without prior consultation with the immigration office, you must apply for a visa for re-entry. This also applies if you are staying in the EU.