Most international students will need a residence permit for the purpose of studying in order to attend university in Germany. Nationals of European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) member states are exempted from this as they enjoy unlimited freedom of movement in Germany.
To receive a students' residence permit, you must be admitted by a state or state-recognised university or similar educational institution. Studying must be the main purpose of your stay in Germany. It is not enough to attend an evening, weekend or distance study course.
If you haven't received a confirmation of enrolment yet, you can apply for a residence permit for the purpose of study application. As a study applicant, your stay in Germany may not exceed nine months. You can also apply for a residence permit for the purpose of studying if you attend a pre-study language course or a study preparatory course, for instance for instance at Studienkolleg Hamburg.
While studying, you're allowed to work up to 120 full days or 240 half days.
- Entry with a German visa for the purpose of studying. The German mission abroad in your home country is responsible for issuing visas.
Exception: Nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Brazil and the United States of America can enter without a visa.
- Letter of admission/enrolment certificate of the education institution
- Proof of financing (861€ per month or 10,332€ per year), alternatively a Declaration of Commitment
- Sufficient health insurance
You can apply for a residence permit for the purpose of studying at your immigration authority or at the Hamburg Welcome Center. They will give you more information about the application process. You can either contact the relevant authority directly or use the online tool of the Serviceportal Hamburg to submit your documents.
Once you have successfully completed your studies, you can work in a job that corresponds to your university degree or apply for a residence permit for job seekers.
Intra-EU mobility for students (up to 360 days)
If you have a residence permit for the purpose of studying in another EU member state and want to pursue part of your studies in Germany, you may stay and study here without a German residence title for up to 360 days.
Your host educational institution should notify the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). This must be done as soon as the host educational institution knows about your intention to study in Germany. If accepted, the Federal Office will issue a certificate for short-term EU mobility for the purpose of studying in Germany. With this certificate, you may enter Germany at any time during the validity of your residence title. If the Federal Office does not deny your application or does not send the certificate within 30 days, you may enter and stay in Germany without this document.
- You hold a residence title for the purpose of studying issued by another EU member state (in accordance with EU Directive 2016/801), valid for the full period of your intended stay in Germany.
- Proof that a part of your studies shall be spent at an educational institution in Germany, because you participate in a union or multilateral programme incorporating mobility measures or because an agreement exists between the education institutions involved
- Proof of admission to the host education institution in Germany
- A recognised, valid passport or replacement passport
- Proof that you can finance your stay in Germany and that you have sufficient health insurance
You can apply for a residence permit for the purpose of studying at your immigration authority or at the Hamburg Welcome Center. Contact the relevant authority directly or use the online tool of the Serviceportal Hamburg to submit your documents.
Detailed informations on the required documents for an application can be found in the Forms section.