Welcome to Germany!
Have you received your letter of admission? Then it's time to plan your studies at SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences. One important step is your visa and residence permit.
We have put together the most important questions for you!
Visum Degree Programmes + Exchange & Study Abroad
Who needs a visa?
If you are not a citizen of the European Union or of an EEA state (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and you are planning to study in Germany, you must apply for a visa at the German Embassy in your home country BEFORE you come to Germany. Without proof of a valid student visa, Germany universities are not allowed to enrol you.
Citizens who do not need to apply for a visa before their arrival:
Citizens of certain countries such as Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the USA can enter Germany without a visa. The same applies to citizens from Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino as long as they do not seek employment in Germany. Swiss citizens do not need to apply for an entry visa either. After entering Germany, citizens of these countries need to apply for a residence permit (for further information see section "Residence Permit").
Citizens who require a visa for studying in Germany have to submit proof of it (or of a valid German residence permit if they already live in Germany) to SRH at the beginning of their studies in order to be fully enrolled and to receive further documents, services and lectures. This regulation does not apply to citizens who do not need to apply for a student visa before their arrival. Please note that citizens of countries that need a visa to enter Germany also need to apply for a residence permit (for further information see section "Residence Permit").
Please contact the German Embassy in your home country to find out whether you need a visa to enter Germany.
Which visa do I need to apply for?
Please apply for a long-term national (D) visa for study purposes if you are a degree-seeking or exchange/study abroad student who is planning to study at SRH Berlin for at least one semester (6 months). Please check the validity of your national visa (90 days or 180 days) as soon as your have entered Germany since you need to convert your national visa into a residence permit before it expires (check date of entry stamp in passport).
Some of you (exchange students in particular) might receive a national (D) visa that is valid for up to 12 months instead of a 90-day national (D) entry visa. Non-EU citizens who will stay in Germany for less than one year may obtain such a visa. Since it should cover the entire period of your stay, you won't need to apply for a residence permit after your arrival in Germany, which will save you time and effort.
Attention: the short-term (C) Schengen visa is only valid for up to 90 days (for touristic purposes or short courses only) and is not valid for your studies in Germany and cannot be changed to a residence permit.
If you are a citizen that does not need an entry visa for Germany, you need to apply for a German residence permit within the first 90 days after your arrival in Germany (please check the stamp in your passport).
For how long will my visa be valid?
When you receive your visa, you will notice that it is only valid for 90/180 days. This is not a mistake and there is no reason to worry. This visa is an entry visa and must be converted into a German residence permit at the Foreigners' Registration Office after your arrival (for further information see section "Residence Permit").
How long does the visa process take?
Please do not underestimate the process and keep in mind that you will not be able to study in Germany without a valid visa.
Visa processing times can take several months so you should apply as early as possible. Please consider that there might be a significant waiting period for an appointment (4 to 6 weeks) and a processing period of an additional 4 to 8 weeks. We recommend that you contact the German Embassy in your home country at least 3 months before the start of the semester.
Which documents are required for my visa?
In order to be able to apply for a student visa, you need an acceptance letter from a German university. The other documents that are required to obtain a student visa include a valid passport, a current photo, proof of financial support as well as some additional application documents.
Almost all students who are applying for a visa must provide proof of their financial means in order to apply for a national visa. They must prove that they are able to cover their financial expenses during their studies in Germany. There are various ways to prove that you can finance your studies.
The following forms of proof are possible:
- Your parents can submit documents certifying their income and financial assets.
- Someone with permanent residence in Germany can guarantee to the Foreigners' Registration Office that they will cover your expenses.
- A security payment can be deposited into a blocked account.
- You can present a bank guarantee.
- You can present a scholarship award notification from a recognised scholarship provider.
Bear in mind that visa rules and regulations can differ considerably from country to country. It is known that in some countries, a blocked bank account is the only financial proof that is accepted. Therefore, it is crucial that you contact the German Embassy in your home country as early as possible.
What is a blocked bank account?
A blocked account is an account that is subject to foreign exchange controls in a country that restricts the amount of its currency that can be transferred to other countries or exchanged into other currencies. In short, it is an account which is not freely accessible to the account holder and serves to prove adequate financial means.
There are several banks that provide this service. Some are directly recommended by the embassies or third-party agents who act as liaison between the applicant and the embassy.More information and list of banks
Visum Winter and Summer School / Short Courses
Who needs a visa?
Citizens of EU/EEA countries:
If you are a citizen of an EU or EEA state (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway), you do not need to apply for a visa in order to do a short-term (less than 90 days) course in Germany.
Citizens of certain non-EU/EEA countries (incl. Switzerland):
Citizens of certain non-EU and non-EEA countries can enter Germany without a visa, such as citizens from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the US. The same applies to citizens from Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino who do not seek employment in Germany. The same applies to citizens from Switzerland, that do not need to apply for an entry visa.
Such citizens are allowed to stay in Germany/Schengen area for a total duration of 90 days within a period of 180 days after their arrival to Germany/Schengen area. After entering Germany/Schengen area (please check the stamp on your passport), please make sure that the 90 days cover the whole period of the short course. 90 days after your entry date, you have to leave Germany/Schengen area. You are not required to apply for a German residence permit at the Foreigners' Registration Office.
Attention: Similar visa waiver regulations for short-term stays (less than 90 days) may apply to citizens of other non-EU and non-EEA countries. Please check with the German Embassy in your home country about the requirements.
Which visa do I need to apply for?
If you need a visa for a short course in Germany, you need to apply for a Schengen (C) tourist visa at the German Embassy in your home country before you come to Germany. The Schengen (C) visa is valid for a period of 90 days for a short-term stay in Germany/Schengen area.
Please note that the Schengen (C) visa is only valid for the period that is stated on the visa and cannot be extended or converted into a German residence permit.
It is your responsibility to obtain the visa in a timely manner. Usually, Schengen (C) visas may take approx. two weeks to be issued. Please be informed that during summer (May to October) the processing time may be longer. Please make sure that you apply for your visa promptly before your departure.
If you plan to pursue a degree programme or an exchange/study abroad programme, you need to apply for a national (D) visa.
Short course + subsequent studies at SRH?
If you are a citizen who needs an entry visa for Germany and you plan to take a short course and you wish to start your studies at our university directly after the short course, please make sure to apply for a long-term national (D) study visa (your stay in Germany will surpass 90 days) which has to be converted into a German residence permit before its expiration. Otherwise, you may not be able to continue your studies in Germany. Please enquire with the German Embassy in your home country.
Citizens of certain countries (Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, USA, Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland) who plan to take a short course and who wish to start their studies at our university directly after the short course, are required to apply for a German residence permit within the first 90 days after their arrival (please check the stamp in your passport). Otherwise, you may not be able to continue your studies in Germany.
Residence Permit How to get your residence permit
What are the first steps after getting to Germany?
- Start flat hunting and find a place to live (shared room, apartment, etc.). Please note that a hotel or hostel is a good choice when you first arrive. However, you will need a proper residential address in order to complete your city registration.
- After moving into your new apartment/room, get an appointment to register your address (Anmeldung) at the local registration office (Bürgeramt). Please note that this needs to be done within 2 weeks of your move-in date. In big cities like Berlin, however, it is more realistic to secure your appointment at the local registration within this 2-week period as appointments are usually booked out for several weeks.
- Don't forget to sign up for a (German) health insurance plan if you haven't done so already. Without proper health insurance, you will be unable to start your studies.
- National (D) visa holders: Keep in mind that you need to change your current visa to a residence permit within 90 or 180 days of your arrival in Germany (please check arrival stamp and visa conditions). This needs to be done at the Foreigners' Registration Office in your city.
- Students who do not require an entry visa: Please apply for your residence permit within the first 90 days after your arrival in Germany (please check the stamp in your passport).
- Some students, e.g. exchange students who stay in Germany for less than a year, might receive a national (D) visa that is valid for up to 12 months instead of a 90-day national (D) entry visa. These students do not need to apply for a residence permit after their arrival in Germany.
- Swiss citizens: Please apply for a “Residence Permit Switzerland” (Aufenthaltserlaubnis-Schweiz) within the 90 days of your arrival in Germany. This is a formal act that has to be done by each Swiss citizen that is planning a longer stay in Germany. However, this application process is not comparable to the residence permit process of regular students (less paperwork).
Further information about this process can be found in the “Student Welcome Guide” that you will receive together with your acceptance documents.
How and where do I apply for my residence permit?
Residence permit application for Berlin
- Please be aware that the residence permit application process may take several weeks to complete so book your personal appointment early (6 weeks before your visa expires). You can book your appointment online.
- Please bring the following documents and proofs to apply for your permit.
- Where will the appointment take place?
Landesamt für Einwanderung (LEA)
- We offer a support service in Berlin at our Berlin School of Management/Technology campus, whereby the university submits your documents to the authorities for you. Please make an appointment with the International Office to utilise this service.
Residence permit application for Dresden
- Please be aware that the residence permit application process may take several weeks to complete so book your personal appointment early. You can book your appointment via email.
- Please fill out the following form and bring all necessary documents and evidence.
- Where will the appointment take place?
Residence permit application for Hamburg
- Please be aware that the residence permit application process may take several weeks to complete so book your personal appointment early.
- Please fill out the application form and bring all necessary documents and evidence. More information.
- Where will the appointment take place?
Either at the Foreigners Registration Department office responsible for your residential district or at the
Hamburg Welcome Center
Residence Permit | Rights and Obligations
With a valid German residence permit for study purposes you...
- Have employment rights: You are allowed to work up to 120 full days (full day = 8 hours per day) or 240 half days (half day = 4 hours) during the calendar year. Freelance work is not permitted.
- Can move freely within the states of the Schengen area, within the residence permit’s term of validity, for a total stay of up to 90 days within a period of 180 days. This regulation applies only to visits for touristic purposes. Attention: In order to study or intern in another country of the European Union, you may have to apply for a separate study or internship visa. Please check with the respective embassy for the requirements.
- Can apply for other visas at embassies in Germany: This might be relevant if you want to do an exchange semester or if you want to do an internship abroad.
- Need to check the validity of your passport: Your residence permit is only valid in combination with your passport. If your passport expires before the residence permit, your residence permit will no be longer valid. If you leave Germany for more than 6 months, your residence permit automatically expires.
- Are responsible for your own legal status in Germany and you need to check the expiration date of your passport and residence permit/visa.