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Ausländerbehörde Berlin

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Studying in Berlin*
* Does not apply to citizens of countries of the European Union and the EEA states as well as Switzerland

Who may enter to study?

The German Federal Republic allows foreign citizens to complete their academic degree or advanced training. State universities or officially recognized universities (universities, teacher training colleges, art colleges and universities of applied sciences) or comparable educational institutions, universities of cooperative education as well as state or officially recognized lectures come into consideration for such an education.
It is also possible to attend a German language course if the language skills are required for professional education or a subsequent course of studies. German language courses must be intensive courses with at least 18 hours per week and may not be publicly funded. Evening, weekend or distance learning classes do not fulfil the requirements.The general educational requirements for acceptance to an intended course of studies can generally not be made up for in the federal territory.

The purpose of the stay for studying comprises

  • language courses for university preparation, lectures, required internships (max. duration usually two years)
  • basic course of studies (basic and main course incl. student internships, intermediate and final exams) up to a first degree qualifying for a profession at a German university
  • with consecutive courses of studies (bachelor and master's degree), even up to a second degree qualifying for a profession (major-related modules including student internships, exams and final papers) at a German university
  • postgraduate studies, additional or complementary studies (postgraduate)
  • PhD
  • as well as subsequent practical activities if they are part of the prescribed course of instruction.
What are the steps of the visa procedure?

Generally, a visa has to be applied for if the stay is to last longer than three months. Exempt from this obligation are citizens of certain states such as e.g. Australia or Israel. Citizens of Brazil and El Salvador are also exempt from the visa requirement if the stay is for the purpose of studying or taking a language course. They can apply for the required residence permit at the Foreigners' Authority within three months of entering the country. In cases of doubt, German agencies abroad will be happy to provide information on visa requirements.There is a so-called no-response deadline for the issuance of a visa for studying purposes. This means that German agencies abroad will issue the visa when the prerequisites examined there are present, if the Foreigners' Authority does not make a statement within the specified time of three weeks and two working days.

Family reunification

Students and language students may be permitted to have their spouses and unmarried minor children follow them or enter the country with them in individual cases. The fundamental prerequisite for this is secured subsistence of the family including sufficient health insurance coverage. The subsistence of students and language students is deemed to be ensured if personal funds in the amount of the highest respective BaföG (German study grants) rate can be verified to the agency abroad or the Foreigners' Authority. As a rule, an amount equalling 12 times the highest respective BaföG rate is to be transferred to a blocked account in Germany. The German agency abroad in the country of origin will provide information on the possibility of guarantees and declarations of commitment. The subsistence of spouses and children is deemed to be ensured if personal funds in the amount of the respective standard German ALG II (unemployment benefit) rate plus the share of the rent for the Berlin flat has been verified.

Working during studies

The residence permit entitles students to take up employment, which is not to exceed 120 days or 240 half days in all in one year, as well as to take up student secondary/assistant jobs. This does not apply to stays for university preparation in the first year of the stay, except during the holiday period. Please read our leaflet for students

What documents do I need?

Documents to be presented on application for a residence permit for the purpose of

Commencement of a course of studies after successful study preparation

When preparatory measures for attending the course of studies, such as language courses, college courses or preparatory, practical internships have been successfully completed, the residence permit issued for this purpose according to § 16, Section 1 of the Residence Act remains valid until its date of expiry.

Therefore, the course of studies may also be commenced with the temporary residence permit. It is only necessary to arrange a personal interview with the Foreigners Registration Office on the expiry date of the temporary residence permit.

An immediate appointment with the Foreigners Registration Office must only be arranged in the event that preparatory study measures are broken off without successful conclusion, thus causing the expiry of the residence permit.

Job search after successful completion of studies

After successful completion of studies, the residence permit can be extended for up to 18 months to search for a job that is appropriate for the degree, insofar as this position may be filled with foreigners according to the regulations (s. §§ 18, 19, 19a of the Residence Act). The residence permit can also be granted for the preparation of business formation or freelance self-employment (§ 21 of the Residence Act). It is also possible to work in a job or self-employed without limitation. Please read our leaflet.

Documents to be presented when applying for a residence permit for the purpose of looking for work(Externer Link)

Continuation of a course of studies started in other states of the European Union

Students in EU member states with a Schengen agreement residence title can enter the country without a visa and apply for their German residence title for the purpose of studying directly at the Foreigners' Authority of Berlin. Residence titles for study visits to Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Great Britain, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland cannot be replaced by or extended with a German residence title for the purpose of studying.
Students who started their course of studies in other EU member states may study in Berlin if their Berlin or Brandenburg university attests that they meet at least one of the requirements of the student directive of the European Union. If the Foreigners' Authority of Berlin receives this attestation from the university, a certificate of matriculation or note of authorization as well as verification of ensured subsistence, then students must be granted a German residence title for the purpose of studying in addition to the residence title from the first country of study.

eAppointment and queue numbers

Visitation without an appointment during office hours may result in longer periods of waiting and an additional visit is often necessary. Therefore it is generally recommended to have an appointment if you wish to apply for or extend a residence permit. Please follow this link to make an appointment online…(Externer Link)

Important: Customers of Section IV Z 2 (responsible for university students and graduates) can book appointments in advance only to a limited extent. If no online appointments are available within the period desired, customers must present themselves in person before expiry of their residence permit and wait their turn for an appointment according to a number received in the waiting room.

For students and newly qualified graduates without an appointment the issuing of queue numbers will start 30 minutes before opening time in the former 'House Canteen' (House A). Please click on the file for more information.


Landesamt für Bürger- und Ordnungsangelegenheiten
- Ausländerbehörde -
Friedrich-Krause-Ufer 24
13353 Berlin

Stand: 05.2014