You are an EU citizen, or a citizen of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland
EU citizens and citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have the right to study in Germany and to take on work thereafter. They do not require any special permit for residence or employment while studying in Germany.
You are a citizen of Bulgaria, Romania or Croatia
As a citizen of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia, you can also pursue studies without a residence permit. However, you are subject to the same employment restrictions during your studies as students from states outside of the European Union.
After completing your studies, you do not require a work permit for professions corresponding to your qualifications. Contact partner is the Central Placement Office of the Federal Employment Agency (Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung der Bundesagentur für Arbeit - ZAV - website in German).
You are a citizen of another country
If you possess citizenship of another country, then the following applies for you:
Prior to arrival
If you wish to study in Germany, then you generally need a visa to enter the country. You can obtain one from the German representation (embassy, consulate general) in your home country.
After arrival, you'll have to have the visa replaced on-site in Germany with a residence permit pursuant to Paragraph 16 of the German Residence Act.
For study courses of no more than one year, it is possible to obtain a visa for the entire period of residence.
Citizens of the following states require no visa to enter Germany for the purpose of study:
- Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- El Salvador
- San Marino
- German Foreign Office - Visa Procedure
- The German Foreign Office has further information available regarding the visa process
- Foreign Residents Authority
- If you already know which German city or community you will live in, then you can direct your questions directly to the respective Foreign Residents Authority (Ausländerbehörde)
After arrival, you'll have to request a residence permit from the local Foreign Residents Authority within your visa's validity period pursuant to Paragraph 16 of the German Residence Act. If you do not require a visa to enter Germany, you'll have to submit the request for a residence permit within three months of arrival.
In general, there are four prerequisites you will need to fulfil for a residence permit:
- Register with the Registration Office (Meldebehörde) within one week
- Submit enrolment confirmation from the academic institution
- Provide evidence for how your studies will be financed
- Show proof of valid health insurance
Questions will be answered by the respective Foreign Residents Authority . Many Foreign Residents Authority offices provide more detailed information on their Internet websites, such as the State Capital of Munich (website in German) and the City of Nuremberg (website in German).
You may not work during the period in which your application to study is pending. Students in foundations courses or in preparatory language courses should note the following: You may only earn money during session breaks.
Otherwise, with a residence permit you may work up to 120 full days or 240 half days a year. Additionally, you may work as an academic or student assistant without restrictions, perform an obligatory work placement or work in a company for a graduation thesis.
After studies have been completed
After successfully completing your studies, you can request a residence permit for a job search. With it, you will be permitted 18 months to find employment consistent with your education and training. During that time, you may work without restrictions.
If you find a suitable position, you'll receive a residence permit for employment without further checks for employment access prioritisation and without special salary requirements. After two years, you'll be able to request permanent residence.
Graduates of higher education will additionally have the opportunity to request
- A residence permit as a researcher,
- A residence permit for freelance activities
- Or an EU Blue Card, which was introduced in Germany on 1 August 2012.
You'll obtain the EU Blue Card if you have
- A German degree,
- A recognised foreign degree
- Or a degree from a foreign institution of higher education which is comparable with a degree from a German university or other institution of higher education
and surpass specific minimum salary requirements in the position being offered to you.
"We need you in Bavaria"
You'll find an overview of all information, contact partners and useful links in the flyer "We need you in Bavaria" ("Wir brauchen Sie in Bayern"- website in German) from the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior and the Regional Office for Bavaria of Germany's Federal Employment Agency.