All about visas

Whether or not you need to apply for a visa for your course stay depends on your nationality and the duration of your stay. You can check which nationalities require a visa on the Foreign Office website. The list of countries that require a visa can be found here.

There are various visas that may be suitable for a planned language course attendance in Germany:

Student Applicant Visa (National Visa National Visa
A national visa (type D) is valid for a period of time which exceeds the duration of 90 days and enables its holder to stay in Germany. With a national visa, one is only allowed to stay in other Schengen states under special circumstances.
)

If you would like to begin university studies in Germany directly after the end of your language course but have not yet received definitive confirmation of acceptance from a German university, you can, in some cases, apply for a student applicant visa. Please consult the website of the German embassy in your home country to see whether this is a possibility. Student applicant visas are valid for three months and may be extended by a maximum of six months. In your application you must provide evidence that, among other things, you are already in contact with universities in Germany and that you will be taking an intensive German language course in the time leading up to the start of your studies. If, for application purposes, you commence university studies or take a study preparation programme Study preparation programme
A study preparation programme may be an intensive language course or a preparatory college.
after your stay, the residence permit can be converted accordingly. You can find information about other important conditions on the website of the relevant German embassy.

Study Visa (National Visa National Visa
A national visa (type D) is valid for a period of time which exceeds the duration of 90 days and enables its holder to stay in Germany. With a national visa, one is only allowed to stay in other Schengen states under special circumstances.
)

If you would like to begin university studies in Germany directly after the end of your language course, and have already been (conditionally Conditional acceptance letter
In some cases, universities issue conditional acceptance letters. A condition may be, for example, that you hand in the required German language certificate until a certain point of time.
) accepted by a German university or preparatory college, you should apply for a student visa. This visa permits you to stay in Germany for a longer period of time. In your application, you must provide evidence that, among other things, you will be taking an intensive German language course in the time leading up to the start of the studies. You can find information about other important conditions on the website of the relevant German embassy.

Language course visa (National Visa National Visa
A national visa (type D) is valid for a period of time which exceeds the duration of 90 days and enables its holder to stay in Germany. With a national visa, one is only allowed to stay in other Schengen states under special circumstances.
)

If you would like to take an intensive language course in Germany that is several months long (longer than 90 days) and then leave the country again, you should apply for a language course visa. This visa permits you to stay for the relevant period of time. In the application, you must provide evidence that, among other things, you have booked a German course that lasts for a duration of more than 90 days. This visa cannot be converted into a different type of visa or residence permit. At the end of the language course you must leave Germany. A visa or residence permit issued for the purpose of attending a language course has a maximum residence duration of 12 months. You can find information about other important conditions on the website of the relevant German embassy.

Job Seeker’s visa (National Visa National Visa
A national visa (type D) is valid for a period of time which exceeds the duration of 90 days and enables its holder to stay in Germany. With a national visa, one is only allowed to stay in other Schengen states under special circumstances.
)

If you would like to work in Germany but have not yet found a job, you can apply for a job seeker’s visa for qualified specialists. This visa is valid for a maximum of 6 months. The conditions are that you have a German or other equivalent university degree and that you have the financial means to support yourself. If you find employment within the 6 months, you can apply for the relevant employment residence permit or the EU Blue Card directly in Germany. You can find more information about working in Germany here.

Schengen Visa

If you want to take a language course that only lasts a few weeks (e.g. a summer course), the Schengen visa is sufficient. This visa entitles you to stay in the Schengen area for a maximum duration of 90 days. In general, it cannot be extended or converted into a different type of visa or residence permit. The nationals of a small number of countries can apply for their residence permit after entering Germany; to see if your country is one of these, please take a look at the list of countries requiring a visa. You can find more information about the Schengen visa on the website of the relevant German embassy.

 

We will gladly help you choose the correct type of visa before you submit your application. As soon as you have booked and paid for one of our courses, we will send you an official confirmation of registration that you can present as part of your visa application.

For further information about how visas are awarded in your country, please follow this link for the websites of the German embassies around the world. 

It is important to note that the processing time for a visa application is often three to four months (when you are applying for a national visa National Visa
A national visa (type D) is valid for a period of time which exceeds the duration of 90 days and enables its holder to stay in Germany. With a national visa, one is only allowed to stay in other Schengen states under special circumstances.
). We recommend that you submit all of the necessary application documents in good time to the relevant German embassy. You can find the respective leaflet with all the important information on the website of the Foreign Office or the German embassy in your home country.

Procedure if you want to pursue university studies in Germany

  1. You can find information about most of the university programmes offered in Germany here. You can find detailed information about admission requirements and the procedure for international applications on the websites of the individual universities. You can find information for overseas applicants to RWTH Aachen and information for overseas applicants to FH Aachen if you follow these links.
  2. Submit all of the necessary documents in order to receive confirmation of acceptance (or conditional Conditional acceptance letter
    In some cases, universities issue conditional acceptance letters. A condition may be, for example, that you hand in the required German language certificate until a certain point of time.
    confirmation of acceptance) from the university of your choice. If you do not receive a (conditional) confirmation of acceptance, it is nevertheless often helpful to print your correspondence with the universities (e.g. emails, etc.) and bring the printouts with you for your visa application: in this way, you can at least provide evidence to the embassy that you are seriously engaged in applying for studies and that you are well informed.
  3. Undertake the necessary steps to obtain other documents required for the visa application (see the website of the respective German embassy). For proof of financial resources, see below.
  4. Secure an appointment at the embassy. Please be aware that you may have to wait several weeks to get an appointment. Bring all the necessary documents and forms to the embassy appointment and hand these in.
  5. After the embassy appointment, it may take several weeks or months before you are notified whether you have been granted the desired visa. In case of a delay in the issuing of your visa, please be aware of the cancellation/rebooking rules for your language course booking and let us know in good time. 

Proof of financial resources must be produced as part of the visa application. This means that you must prove that you can afford your stay in Germany (course costs, rent, food etc.). The relevant German embassy will specify which forms of proof of financial resources are accepted. In general, the following forms of proof of financial resources may be accepted:

  • Financing by your parents: proof of sufficient income and assets from parents
  • Undertaking: an individual resident in Germany undertakes to the immigration authorities to finance you. Further information and the necessary forms can be found on the website of the immigration office for the Aachen region.
  • Blocked bank account: A security sum is paid into a blocked account with a German bank. Every month, only a limited, precisely specified amount may be withdrawn from the account.
  • Guarantee: a person undertakes to a German bank to act as your guarantor.

Whether or not an extension is possible essentially depends on the nature of your residence permit.

If you have a Schengen visa, no extension is possible.

If you have a job seeker’s residence permit, no extension is possible beyond the maximum 6-months duration.

If a visa or residence permit is issued for attending a language course, the maximum duration of your stay is 12 months. If, for example, you have only received a residence permit for 6 months and book another language course during your stay, the residence permit can then be correspondingly extended, as long as the total duration of your stay does not exceed 12 months.

The student applicant visa is valid for a maximum of 3 months. In some cases, a student applicant residence permit may then be issued, valid for a maximum of 6 months. The period of residency of a student applicant is thus limited to 9 months in total. If you commence university studies or a study preparation programme Study preparation programme
A study preparation programme may be an intensive language course or a preparatory college.
after that, the residence permit can be converted accordingly.

A student residence permit/residence permit for university preparation (preparatory college or preparatory language course) is not normally valid for more than 2 years. It may be renewed for a minimum of one up to a maximum of two years each time. In order to get the extension, due progress with studies must be demonstrated.

It is important that you apply for the extension in good time. It must be applied for before your present residence permit expires. The cost of the extension may be up to €80.

In order to confirm regular attendance and booking of further courses at Sprachenakademie, we can of course issue a confirmation of attendance or registration for submission to the Foreigners’ Registration Office once we have received your course fee. Please always request confirmation documents of this kind several days in advance.

Whether or not you are allowed to work during your language course stay depends on your residence permit. The following applies for the respective residence permits:

  • Language course residence: no employment permitted.
  • Student applicant residence: no employment permitted.
  • Student residence: residence permit allows you to pursue employment that may not exceed a total of 120 days or 240 half-days per year, and to take on student secondary employment Student Secondary Employment
    Student secondary employment is an expression for jobs offered directly by a university or by an institution that is closely connected to a university, such as departments, faculties, professors, etc. If you work for a students' committee or a student union, this is considered a student secondary employment, too.
    .
  • Preparatory studies residence: the pursuit of employment is only allowed during the holidays.

Accommodation and residents’ registration office

You can find accommodation with preStep for example. You should organise this a few months ahead of your arrival. If you are not travelling to Germany as a tourist, but are rather planning to stay in Germany for the longer term, you must register your place of residence at the relevant Residents’ Registration Office within two weeks of moving into your new accommodation or room. You can find information about opening times for the Residents’ Registration Offices in Aachen here.

Please take your passport and rental contract (or similar confirmation of your accommodation). At the Residents’ Registration Office you will receive a registration confirmation which you will need for other administrative purposes (applying for a residence permit, opening a bank account etc.). If you move to new accommodation during your stay in Germany, you must notify the relevant Residents’ Registration Office of your new address.

Foreigners’ registration office

Before your visa expires (usually 3 months after your arrival), you must go to the Foreigners’ Registration Office to apply for your residence permit. You will need the following documents:

  • residence confirmation from the Residents’ Registration Office
  • proof of health insurance
  • confirmation of registration from your language school or university
  • where applicable, proof of financial resources
  • passport, with visa as applicable
  • the fee for preparing the residence permit (the fee for the first residence permit application is currently €110)
  • your rental contract, where applicable
  • 1 biometric passport photo

Bank account

Many banks offer free current accounts to students. To open a bank account, you will need your passport and visa, your residence permit (where required), and confirmation of registration from your language school or confirmation of enrolment from your university, where applicable, as well as your official letter of registration.