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How to get a residence permit for students in Germany?


Date08 Nov 2021


When you are studying in Germany as a foreign student you need to apply for a residence permit in Germany. Why do you need a residence permit? What happens to your student visa? Is a residence permit the same as the registration in Germany? All these questions will be answered in this article. 

When you are a student from a non-EU/EEA country you need a residence permit if you plan to study for longer than 90 days in Germany. It will be issued at the local Foreigner’s Office (Ausländerbehörde) or at the Immigration Office. The residence permit is only valid for a limited period. Often you get a permit with a validity from one to two years. When it is about to expire you should renew it. 

Read our article on how to renew a residence permit for students in Germany! 

Your residence permit can only be used for the purpose of studying, so if the purpose of your stay changes you have to apply for another residence permit with the respective purpose. Nevertheless, the residence permit for students is also valid for the purpose of attending a language course or preparatory courses to get into a university. For these purposes the validity of the permit is a maximum of 9 months. 

Steps of obtaining a residence permit

If you want to study in Germany the first step is to apply for a student visa in your home country with the German Embassy/ Consulate or the respective visa agencies. When arriving in Germany with a student visa, you will obtain a residence title. Since your visa is usually just valid for 3 to 6 months, you have to obtain a residence permit before your visa expires. 

Before you can apply for a residence permit you have to be registered with the local authorities. The registration of your residence has to be done right after your arrival, usually within the first week. You will need the certificate of registration (Meldebescheinigung) for obtaining your residence permit. 

Check out our article on how to do the registration in Germany!

Every city in Germany has different regulations regarding the residence permit, so be sure to check the website of the Ausländerbehörde or the Immigration Office before applying. In any case you have to book a personal appointment beforehand. That can be usually done online. 

The residence permit is usually issued within two to six weeks.  

Conditions to obtain a residence permit for students

The conditions to get a residence permit in Germany for students are met quite easily if you have already obtained a student visa. 

  • You need to study at a German university which can be either a state university, a state-recognized higher education institution or a comparable educational institution.
  • Studying must be the main purpose of your stay in Germany 
  • Your financial status and your health insurance is assured
  • You meet the requirements of studying in the institution of your choice

If you are not sure about the financial status as a foreign student in Germany read our article on how to get a blocked account. For more information about the student health insurance in Germany, check this article! 

Required documents

The required documents are very similar to the ones you have to submit when applying for the student visa. 

  • certification of the purpose of the stay, for example:
  • admission to a language course or course of study
  • certificate of enrollment
  • proof of study progress (if already applicable)
  • proof of financing, for example:
  • presentation of income and financial circumstances of parents
  • payment of a security amount to a blocked account in Germany
  • scholarship contract
  • certification of health insurance for students
  • passport (valid at least for the duration of the residence permit which has been applied for)
  • two recent passport photographs
  • application form “Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels” 
  • proof of registration “Meldebescheinigung” and sometimes tenancy agreement 
  • proof of German/ English language skills
  • original certificates of previous education 


Depending on where you obtain the residence permit for students the costs can range from 50 to 110 EUR. For students under the age of 18 the fees are reduced to half of the amount. Students who receive public funds for studying in Germany are exempted from paying the fee. 

Be Aware of 

If the subject or the place of your studies changes you have to notify your authorities since these details will be documented in the residence permit with the local authority. If you are doing an accompanying internship you don’t have to notify them, but you need an additional approval letter from the immigration authorities. Working in a student job and not exceeding the maximum of 20 hours per week is allowed with the residence permit for students. In case you graduate from a German university or a similar institution, you can obtain another residence permit to find a job in Germany. Once you have found a job you have to apply for a work residence permit. 

We hope this article will help you with the process. If you have any further questions please write to us at [email protected]!

Written by: Tanja Holbe 

Cover Photo made with Canva 

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