Visa and Entry

Information about visa requirements can be found on the homepage of the German Federal Foreign Office Overview of Visa requirements (Auswärtiges Amt).


Entering Germany without a Visa

  • EU nationals
    they do not need a “Sichtvermerk” (visa), but a valid passport is necessary, an “identity card” is sufficient.
  • Non-EU nationals, who dont require a Visa to enter Germany,
    they dont need a Visa to enter Germany, but after coming to Germany have to apply for a valid residence. This Link will help you for further Information about Abteilung Ausländerangelegenheiten in Mainz city.

Entering Germany with a Visa

For citizens of all countries not mentioned above a visa is necessary to stay in the Federal Republic of Germany.

There are various types of visas that you may apply for as an applicant or potential applicant for higher education in Germany. The visa duration depends upon the purpose of your stay in the Federal Republic of Germany:

  • "Visum für Studienzwecke" - Studienvisum" (student visa)
  • "Visum zum Erlernen der deutschen Sprache in Vorbereitung auf ein Fachstudium" - Sprachkursvisum zum Studienzweck (German foreign language course visa for the purpose of future studies in Germany)
  • "Visum zur Orientierung über ein Studium an einer deutschen Hochschule" - Studienbewerbervisum (prospective student visa)

The above mentioned visas all express your desire to study in Germany. Thus, all three types of visa can be changed to a student visa by the "Auslandsbehörde" (foreign authorities) here in Germany.

The following visas CANNOT be changed into a "student visa" in Germany:

  • Touristenvisum (tourist visa)
  • "Besuchsvisum" (visitor’s visa)
  • "Geschäftsvisum" (visa for business purposes)
  • "Sprachkursvisum ohne Studienabsicht" (foreign language course visa without the purpose of future studies in Germany) - regardless of the language you learn in the language course

If you are traveling to Germany with one of these visas, it is necessary for you to return to your native country to apply for a student visa. In general, it is not possible to change a student visa into a "Aufenthaltsbewilligung" (residence permit). At the completion of your studies, it is thus not possible to change your visa to a "Erwerbstätigkeitsvisum" (paid employment visa).

You must apply for the relevant visa at the responsible German consulate in your native country or your country of permanent residence. Upon arrival in the Federal Republic of Germany, you are required to register with the "Auslandsbehörde" (foreign authorities) in the city where you live.

Family members


If your spouse wishes to travel to Germany with you, he/she will usually be granted the same rights of residence as you have. This right will expire when your own right of residence expires.

A residence permit for a spouse will usually be granted if it is apparent that the subsistence of both partners is assured without the need for social welfare support and these have adequate living space and health insurance cover.


Under the law as it stands, children only have a legal right of residence in Germany if both their parents have a residence permit, the child has not yet reached its 16th birthday, and in case its accommodation and financial support are suitably provided for. In other cases, the Foreigners' Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) will make a decision at its own discretion.