Do you need a visa to live, study or do an internship in Germany? We explain to whom the visa requirement applies and what exceptions there are.


You will generally need a visa, which you must apply for before coming to Germany. You can apply for the visa at the German diplomatic mission in your home country. There are exceptions for specific countries, depending on the duration and purpose of your stay.

Two types of visas

Student applying for a visum
Student applying for a visum© DAAD/Jan Zappner Open fig caption

1. Prospective student visa („Visum zur Studienbewerbung“)

If you have not yet received notification of admission to a university or foundation course, you should apply for a prospective student visa.

This visa is valid for three months and gives you the opportunity to meet the requirements for admission to a German higher education institution. If you need more time, it can be extended by up to six months. If you are admitted to a higher education institution or foundation course during this period, you can apply for a

Student erhält das Visum
Student erhält das Visum© DAAD/Jan Zappner Open fig caption

2. Student visa („Visum zu Studienzwecken“)

If you have received your notification of admission to university or a foundation course, you should apply for visa for study purposes. Student visas are usually valid for three months. Within these three months, you will have to apply for an at the  in your town of residence.

Proof of financing