Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to do first?
Get yourself informed - about admission requirements, language proficiency and naturally everything that has to do with visa and residence permit. You have to prove your German language skills. Or you could go in for an international course of study.
Do I need to know German?
Yes. A working knowledge of the German language is necessary. Unless you select an international course of study. You can prove your language proficiency both in Germany as well as in your country of origin. The German-run Goethe Institute offers German language courses all over the world. You can take the language diploma examinations there, which suffice for admission to an institution of higher education in Germany.
Which documents do I need?
Firstly the visa. For students there are three types of visa: A language course visa, a study applicant's visa and the visa for study purposes or the student visa. Only the the last one entitles you to a longer stay in Germany as a student. What's also important is your passport and other original certificates.
How do I secure a place at a university?
The Academic Office for foreign students (Akademisches Auslandsamt) and the Central Office for the allocation of study places, (ZVS) allocate seats for students. You can only be accepted if you provide proof of qualifiying for admission to higher education. After that you can be registered at the university. Tuition fees are not charged in Germany, except in private institutions.
Which authorities do I need to register myself with?
The most important are the Resident Registeration Bureau (Einwohnermeldeamt) and the Office for foreigners' Affairs (Ausländeramt). At the Office for foreigners' Affairs you must prove that you can bear the financial cost of your studies. The residence permit is valid for one year and has to be renewed every year.
Do I have to translate and authenticate my certifications and documents?
Usually the German authorities require officially translated documents done at specific offices. Important: Never hand in original documents, always make certified copies instead!
Where can I get health insurance?
German as well as foreign students are basically insured with a public health insurance company. It costs less than 50 euro.
How much money do I need for my studies?
Germany is an expensive country. How high the cost of living is depends also on the city you decide to study in. Though most universities do not charge any tuition fees, you should still contend with spending about 660 euro every month.
How do I find an apartment?
Through newspapers, classifieds and notice boards. You'll get relatively reasonable accommodation in so-called shared living quarters (Wohngemeinshaften) and in student dormitories. Student Services and Academic Offices for foreign students can help you in your search.
Do I need a work permit in Germany?
No, though there are certain regulations you should know about. If you come from a country which is not a part of the European Union, you are allowed to work for only 90 days in a year. And then in certain Federal states, foreign students are allowed to work in the semester vacation. Basically, it isn't tough finding a job as a student.