How To Get a Student Residence Permit in Germany

A Student Residence Permit is a German title that allows you to reside in Germany while you pursue a degree there. In addition, you are also required to obtain a residence permit when you are taking part in a study exchange programme, enrolled in preparation courses, language courses, or trainings and internships in Germany. Since one of the most commonly asked questions is how to get a student residence permit in Germany, we have compiled the essential information you need in order to be granted your permit in no time. So, let’s go through the essentials.

International student numbers in Germany are increasing every year and this country has long become a hub for ambitious students eager for knowledge. However, international students should go through a few procedures before they commence their studies in Germany. Initially, they should obtain a student visa and the moment they find accommodation in Germany, they must apply for a student residence permit. The procedure is not as tiresome as it may appear, however, you do need to have all the necessary required documentation.

Studying in Germany has a wide range of benefits – from the internationally recognized qualifications, to the world-class universities and cultural diversity students encounter. Besides, the education in Germany is mostly free (due to low or no tuition fees at all), and the living costs are quite budget-friendly. Now, let’s learn how to get settled in the land of castles.

Do I need a Student Residence Permit?

Everyone who is not an EU/EEA citizen must apply for a student residence permit at the Ausländerbehörde if they will study in Germany for longer than 90 days

However, citizens of the following non-EU/EEA countries can enter Germany visa-free and apply for a residence permit directly (they do not need to get a student visa from the German Embassy):

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Great Britain
  • Brazil
  • El Salvador
  • Honduras
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • San Marino
  • South Korea
  • United States

Everyone else has to get both a German student visa (in their home country before they travel) and a residence permit (after arriving in Germany.)

How do I apply for a Residence Permit in Germany?

To apply for a residence permit in Germany, you should follow these steps:

Step 1 – Register

As soon as you find accommodation in Germany, you should register with the local residents’ registration office. They will give you a confirmation (Meldebestätigung) in written proving that you have registered. Make sure not to lose this document since you need it for your residence permit.

This registration should happen within one or two weeks since the moment you move to Germany; otherwise you will be required to pay an administrative fine. You should book an appointment within that time period, and you can usually book the appointment online through the residents’ registration office.

You will need the following documents when you register:

  • A signed housing confirmation from the landlord.
  • A passport, visa, and personal identification card.
  • A registration form (which you can take from the residents’ registration office)

Fee: Normally, no fee is required to register.

Step 2 – Apply for the residence permit

You should apply for a residence permit at the foreigners’ registration office in the city you are studying in within three months. You can get the address from the International Office or search it online. Afterwards, make sure to fill out an application form and set an appointment. You will need to submit the following documents at the office, in person:

  • Passport and visa
  • Registration confirmation
  • Proof of Health Insurance
  • Certificate of Enrolment from your university
  • Proof of financial resources
  • Proof of scholarship award (if any)
  • Health certificate
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Biometric passport photos
  • Proof of English/German proficiency
  • Original certificates of previous education

Fee when you first apply: €50-60 up to €110 ; Extension: €100

Processing time: The processing time of the residence permit usually takes two to three weeks.

How long is a Residence Permit valid for?

A student residence permit is usually valid throughout the duration of your study programme. However, if you do not finish your programme in time, the validity of the permit can be extended. It is suggested that you apply for extension a few weeks before the permit expires. You need proof from the university to show that your studies are progressing regularly in relation to the standard period of study.

What are the benefits of a Residence Permit?

Live in Germany: The student residence permit allows you to live in Germany for the duration of your studies. It is usually issued for one year with a maximum of two years. However, the permit can be extended.

Work in Germany: According to the law in Germany, international students can work during their studies, nevertheless, this is only for a certain number of hours. The law claims that you can work full-time for 120 days per year, or part-time for 240 days per year. Long-term contracts are prohibited during this period.

In addition, if you graduate from a German university, you can extend your residence permit for another 18 months (if you plan to find a job in Germany). If you do find a job, you must apply for the Employment Residence Permit in Germany and proceed working there for the duration of your permit.

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