Residence permit

On 01.01.2005 a new Law on Immigration entered into force which defines the legal status of immigrants, regulates residence and controls immigration in Germany.


Entrance Visa

Probably you will prepare your application and your entrance visa simultaneously. Please consider that you have to apply for a student visa before you travel to Germany! Only few countries like the members of the European Union are exempted from this regulation.

You have to apply for the entrance visa at the the German embassy or consulate in your country of origin. You also are expected to proof that you have adequate funds for the duration of your studies. When getting your passport visaed you will initially recieve an interim permission to take up residence for 3 months.

Please pay attention that you apply for a student visa in any case. A tourist visa which can also be issued for 3 months, cannot be converted into a student visa in Germany.

Please also apply for a student visa in case you intend to attend a language course or the preparatory course (Studienkolleg) before you begin with your studies. The aliens law of Germany includes the option to occupy a maximum period of two years to prepare for your studies.

If you have entered Germany with a study applicant visa you should know, that it can only be converted into a full visa for study purposes, if you have been admitted to a university within 3 months.

Financing your studies

Please ensure that you can show proof of sufficient means to finance your studies when you apply for your student visa. You can assure your livelihood with a monthly income of generally 670 €.
You can show proof of your funding by:

  • presentation of income and financial circumstances of your parents,
  • declaration a of commitment in line with article 66-68 Aufenthaltsgesetz (German Foreigners Act),
  • payment of a security into a blocked account (8.040 €), or
  • deposition of an annually renewable bank guarantee at a bank in Germany

Residence Permit

The German immigration act contains regulations on residence titles which are issued for specific residence purposes. Students may be issued with a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) for education purposes.

A residence permit is always limited. In Germany it has to be issued and extended by the local foreign registration office (Ausländerbehörde) at your place of living. In Frankfurt the Ausländerbehörde is located at



Before you can go for your residence permit you have to register your residency at your registry office. Please add the following details to your application form:

  • 2 passport photographs (only first application not for renewal)
  • passport
  • evidence of sufficient accommodation (if you don’t have a rental contract in your name you need to fill in a form which you can get at the registry office)
  • enrolment certificate or admission letter to your degree course, the studienkolleg or your language course
  • evidence of funding
  • proof of health insurance

Please make sure that you apply for the extension of your residence permit in sufficient time ahead of its expiration date. Otherwise your residence is illegal.

In case you missed the expiration date, please contact the foreign registration office immediately. You are welcome to seek advice from the students advisory team or from the counsellors of the ESG or KHG.

Change of subject

The residence permit for education purposes is issued for a specific subject. A change of the field of studies basically signifies a change of residence purpose. Within three semesters you may change your subject without a problem. If you change you subject later then that you may have to face legal consequences. Please seek advice from the International Office early enough.

Duration of study / residence

Your residence permit for education purposes can be issued for a maximum period of 2 years. It can be extended by subsequent periods of 2 years provided that you duly conduct your studies. Normally this is the case if you don’t exceed the average duration of studies of your specific subject. The maximum permissible duration of your residence permit for education purposes is 10 years.

Financing your studies

Please ensure that you can show proof of sufficient means to finance your studies when you apply for your student visa. You can assure your livelihood with a monthly income of 670 € . If your expenses for accommodation don’t exceed the amount of 133 €, required sum can be reduced by 64 € . You can show proof of your funding by:

  • presentation of income and financial circumstances of your parents,
  • declaration a of commitment in line with article 66-68 Aufenthaltsgesetz (German Foreigners Act),
  • payment of a security (8.040 €) into a blocked account, or
  • deposition of an annually renewable bank guarantee at a bank in Germany

Stay abroad for study purposes

You have to inform the foreign registration office if you intend to stay abroad for study purposes. If you don’t return to Germany within 6 month your residence permit expires.
Other conditions can only come to effect if the foreign registration office permits your stay abroad in advance. If you return from your journey only one day after the deadline your residence permit automatically expires!

Postgraduate studies, advanced studies, second degree studies, doctorate

After the completion of your degree course the purpose of your residence is ended. If you intend to continue with a postgraduate program, advanced studies, a doctorate or to apply for another degree course your residence permit has to be adjusted accordingly. The adjustment can be executed inland. Departure is not necessary. You may

  • perform postgraduate or complimentary studies for 2 years at most if the university confirms that you continue or complement your previous studies.
  • enrol in another degree course if the German consulate confirms that the two degrees are necessary in order to perform a certain profession in your home country.
  • register for a doctorate if the university confirms that your doctoral research work is in line with its own scientific interest, or your chances can be increased in your home country.

Job search and employment after the completion of your studies

The residence permit may be extended after successful completion of your studies by 18 months for the purposes of seeking a job commensurate with your qualification.
During this period your financing must be assured. However, there is no time limitation on part time jobs.

In case you found a job commensurate with your qualification a residence permit for the purpose of employment may be given. You have to apply for this permit at the Ausländerbehörde.

Other alternations in the purpose of residence

Alternation in your purpose of residence without departure can only be accepted if you have a legal entitlement, p.e. in case of marriage wit a German citizen.

Subsequent immigration of dependants

The reunification of families is basically possible. The foreign registration office can issue a residence permit for spouses and underage unmarried children.
The immigration of dependants of foreign students can only be permitted if the student has an appropriate accommodation for his /her family and is able to support himself/herself and his/her family without social assistance. The spouse who joins the student is generally not permitted to engage in regular employment.