A visa is absolutely necessary under the immigration laws there; the only exceptions are for applicants from European Union countries and from states with which special agreements have been made: Honduras, Iceland, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the USA.You can apply for it at the German embassy or consulate in your home country. You can find the addresses of the German embassy and the consulate in your home country on the website of the German Federal Foreign Office.
International students from a third country must – with a few exceptions – obtain a visa for entry into Germany. They can get this visa from the relevant German mission abroad. Basically, the process differentiates between two types of visas.
The Schengen Visa is issued for a short stay (for example, tourism, participation in a summer language course) of up to three months per half-yearly period. Beware: Holders of a Schengen Visa must leave the country again after three months at the latest. This means the Schengen Visa is not a suitable instrument if you wish to study, do a doctorate or complete a research stay in Germany.
A National Visa is issued for stays lasting longer than three months (for example, to attend a preparatory course at a Studienkolleg or to study a full programme).
If you wish to study or do a doctorate, you must make sure right from the beginning that you apply for a national visa for the purpose of studying (student visa). As a rule, you will have to present the following papers and documents to the relevant German mission abroad (e.g. embassy or consulate in your country):
- letter of admission from the German university,
- health insurance policy,
- proof of any academic credits gained or examinations passed,
- proof of any German language skills you may have or of your plans to take a language course in Germany,
- documents that prove how you intend to finance your living expenses while you are studying (proof of sufficient financial resources).
Tip: Student applicants who have not yet been admitted to a German university or Studienkolleg can apply for a Student Applicant Visa. It is valid for three months and can be converted into a residence permit for the purpose of studying once you have been admitted to a higher education institution.More info at the DAAD website