Visa and Residence Permit for Exchange Students
The entrance regulations for Germany vary according to the applicants nationality:
- Citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland only need a valid ID card or comparable document to enter the country.
- Citizens who come from from so-called „positiven Drittstaaten“ such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea or the United States you can enter Germany without a visa.
- Non-EU students, from other countries outside the European Union, need a student visa that entitles them to participate in a study programme in Germany
Find further detailed information regarding visa regulations which apply to your specifc country of origin on the following webpages:
Students from so-called "positiven Drittstaaten"
As mentioned above, students from so-called "positiven Drittstaaten" such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea or the United States can enter Germany without visa.
However, if you plan to stay longer than 3 months in Germany, you need to apply for a residence permit, the so-called "Aufenthalterlaubnis", after your arrival to Germany.
The application must be submitted to the Immigrations Office "Ausländerbehörde" within the first three months of your stay in Germany. The International Office will support you during this process.
As Non-EU student, you usually need a student visa to enter Germany for which you need to apply in your country of origin before you move to Germany.
Please make sure that you apply for a so-called "student visa" which allows multiple entries into the country. It is impossible to study in Germany with a tourist visa or a visa for “cultural/academic/language purpose”. Please apply as soon as possible since the visa process might take several weeks at the German consulate/embassy. Read more details concerning the application for a student visa here.
If you plan to stay longer than 3 months in Germany, you need to apply for a residence permit, the so-called "Aufenthaltserlaubnis", after your arrival to Germany. The application must be submitted to the Immigrations Office "Ausländerbehörde" within the first three months of your stay in Germany. The International Office will support you during this process.
NON-EU students who study in a EU member state
NON-EU citizens who study in a EU member state do not need to apply for a visa for Germany as the EU's mobility arrangements (REST Directive) enable you to study in other EU member states (with the exception of Ireland and Denmark) for up to 360 days if you hold a residence title for study purposes in the respective EU member state where your home university is located.
Find more detailed information about the EU mobility within the REST Directive.
Here you can find more general information about studying in Germany and the legal framework conditions for immigration and residence of foreign students and scholars.
Application for Study Visa
To apply for a student visa, please contact the German embassy/consulate in your home country.
They will also tell you in detail which documents you will need for the application. All necessary documents can usually be downloaded directly from their websites.
Usually required documents:
- Valid passport
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof of sufficient financial funds
- Records of previous study and language skills
- Letter of acceptance from Westfälische Hochschule as host university
Find further information on the DAAD website
Proof of sufficient financial funds
To receive the student visa, you must prove your financial resources. You have to deliver proof to the German embassy/consulate in your country of residence, as well as to the authorities in Gelsenkirchen/Bocholt/Recklinghausen, that you have sufficient funds to finance your stay (living expenses) here in Germany.
From January 1st 2021, the presumed annual requirement amounts to 10.332€, which corresponds to 861€ per month.
You have the following options to prove your financial resources:
- open a blocked account "Sperrkonto" with a value of at least 10.332€. Please consider, that the required amount of money on your blocked account depends on the duration of your stay. If you are planning to stay for six months, you will have to pay 6 x 861€ into your blocked account. After your arrival to Germany, the blocked account will allow you to withdraw a maximum of 861€ per month.
- present a formal commitment "Verpflichtungserklärung" of a third party (e.g. your parents). In this commitment the third party confirms to support you with at least 861€ per month and it must be presented to the German diplomatic representations.
- present a confirmation of an acknowledged publicly financed scholarship (e.g. DAAD or from your home university). This scholarship must support you with at least 861€ per month or state a comparative proof of income (e.g. salary).
In case you encounter any problems to obtain the visa in time, please get in touch with us immediately so we can try to help you.