Short & Sweet

Whether you need a visa for Germany depends on where you come from and how long you plan to stay here.

For more and binding information about visa requirements, contact the German embassy or German consulate in your home country.



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.


Use the to find out which visa you should apply for.

Two types of visas

Student applying for a visum
Student applying for a visum© DAAD/Jan Zappner

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 usually 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

Tips on applying for a visa

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 up to two years. This visa can be extended and also if the intended study programme is shorter (e.g. one-year Master’s degree), the visa will only be issued for this period. 

You will have to apply for an at the  in your town of residence once you are in Germany.


International students from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland do not require a visa. The Federal Foreign Office provides information on current visa regulations.

Do you need a visa to study in Germany? Pay attention to the difference whether you need one for application and preparation or for the study itself.