D-Visa: University studies including year abroad/ exchange placement


British and other non EU-students who have been admitted by a German university (possibly with a preparatory language course) or who have been accepted by a preparatory college (Studienkolleg) may apply for a visa to study in Germany.

Visa-free travel

British nationals do not require visas or residence permits for study or research visits not exceeding 90 days within a 180-day period - provided that they do not pursue any economic activity. This privilege also applies to all other nationals who do not require visas for visits not exceeding 90 days.

For any stay exceeding the time limit above, British citizens may apply to the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for their residence permit after arrival in Germany and without having obtained a visa prior to travelling to Germany. Please note that any application for a residence permit needs to be filed within the first 90 days of your stay in Germany. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment. The visa-free privilege is also extended to citizens of Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Korea (republic), Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino and the United States of America.

Please note that you may only take up employment once you have been issued a residence permit explicitly authorising the employment. You may also choose to apply for a visa prior to travel, effectively permitting employment from the first day of visa validity.

All other nationalities require a visa prior to travelling to Germany.

General information

A student visa may also be granted to individuals undertaking a preparatory language course or attending preparatory college (Studienkolleg) in advance of their university studies.

If you have not been admitted to a German university yet or have not yet decided on the university or the course of study, you may be granted a study applicant visa limited to 9 months. Contact us for details.

Students holding a visa or residence permit for university studies are permitted to work part-time to support themselves. For details, please refer to the information here.

Upon successful completion of their studies at a German university, students may be granted an additional residence permit of up to 18 months to find suitable employment. This does not apply to students at a UK university undertaking a semester abroad/ exchange placement as part of their UK degree course.

Under German law, all residents must have sufficient health insurance cover. Please read our additional information on health insurance requirements.

How to apply for your visa:

1. Complete the VIDEX online application form, print one copy of the form including the barcode page (page 7) and sign the form on pages 5 and 6. Separate application forms are required for each applicant; all children also require separate forms.

2. Compile your supporting documentation to bring to your appointment:

  • Printout of the online application form including barcodes (as under #1)
  • Valid passport signed by the holder, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least six months. The passport needs to have at least 2 consecutive blank pages (i.e. a blank double page spread).
    Plus 1 photocopy of the passport biodata page
  • Current UK residence permit (BRP)/ visa (non-British applicants only).

    Plus 1 photocopy of the permit/ visa

  • 2 fully biometric passport photos, size 35 x 45 mm. Consult our FAQs for detailed requirements.
  • Evidence of admission to university/ exchange semester/ degree course/ PhD programme

    • Undergraduate and graduate students taking a full degree course at a German university:
      German university admission letter (Zulassungsbescheid)

    • Undergraduates enrolled at a UK university undertaking a year abroad or an exchange semester/ semester with a German university:
      German university admission letter (Zulassungsbescheid) or corresponding confirmation. Letter or confirmation must state name of student, course title and duration of study at German university
      Plus Study abroad confirmation by UK University (1 copy), must state name of student, course title, complete duration of study at UK University plus place and dates of study abroad.

    • PhD students:
      Letter of acceptance from German academic supervisor
      Plus (if university requires PhD students to be formally enrolled): 1 copy of the German university admission letter (Zulassungsbescheid).

  • Evidence of sufficient funds minimum EUR 934 for each month of stay, (as of 1 September 2024, EUR 992) for a maximum of up to 12 months. Options below may be combined, provided that the total requirement is being met. Please note that NO alternative evidence of funds is acceptable.
    • Blocked account,
    • OR evidence of scholarship,
    • OR evidence of UK student loan indicating the maintenance loan component per month or academic year,
    • OR formal commitment (Verpflichtungserklärung) by sponsor resident in Germany
  • Professional/ academic curriculum vitae
  • Prepaid, self-addressed Royal Mail Special Delivery return envelope (up to 500g) in order to return your passport after processing (not applicable for applications submitted to a Visa Application Centre run by our external service provider, TLScontact).

  • Visa fees apply
  • Processing time: For some visa categories, we will require approval from other German government agencies, such as the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) or the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde). If you have previously lived in Germany this will add to processing times, as the immigration office may need to look into your previous immigration record. Once a decision has been made on your application, we will contact you.

    In this visa category, most applications are typically processed within 2 weeks. A student visa may not be issued more than 3 months ahead of the intended travel date.

    Although we will provide you with a file number, please understand that we cannot respond to questions regarding the status of your visa application. Should we have any questions or should we require additional documentation to process your application, we will contact you.

3. Book an appointment to apply for your visa.

Where to book your appointment/ apply for your visa:

Please apply directly to the German Mission having jurisdiction for your place of residence

Additional information

If your application is successful, you will be issued a limited-validity entry visa - similar to a UK entry clearance. Students on a year abroad/ exchange placement may be issued a visa covering their entire stay. Please make sure to check the validity of your visa! Once you have arrived in Germany please register your new residence with the local authorities (Meldebehörde) within 2 weeks of having moved in and apply to your local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for your Electronic Residence Permit.

We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment.

Further information on studying in Germany is available here.

Further information on living and working in Germany is available here.

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