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Formalities


FAQ

  • Renting an apartment and registering with the Foreigners' Registration Office within a few weeks. For a temporary stay of up to three months, there is no obligation to register. However, you are obliged to register within two weeks as soon as you move into an apartment or stay in a hostel/hotel/youth hostel etc. after three months. Failure to do so may be punished as an administrative offense with a certain fee.
  • Enrollment at a university or receipt of a certificate confirming the start of a preparatory course.
  • Opening a bank account - in Germany, any person with a legal residence permit and an official registration certificate from the foreigners authority may have a bank account.
  • Applying for a residence permit at the Foreigners' Registration Office. It is important to make an appointment in advance at the Foreigners' Registration Office so that your residence permit does not expire.

Find out more on these pages: Housing, Bank account, Residence registration

No, but you will need a passport or a passport replacement document to enter and stay in Germany. This does not mean that you must always carry it with you. However, you must be able to present it if the authorities (e.g. the police) ask for it.

Please note the following: Before your passport or passport replacement expires, you must apply for a new document in good time so that it can be issued while the old passport is still valid.

You must apply for a new document in the following cases:

  • You must apply for a new passport immediately if the old one becomes invalid or is lost.
  • You must apply for a new passport or a change as soon as any information in the passport is changed.
  • If you do not have a passport, cannot obtain one in a reasonable manner or have had to temporarily hand it in to a German authority, you must apply for a replacement passport from the foreigners authority immediately.
  • If you find your lost passport or replacement passport, you must inform the foreigners authority or the German diplomatic mission abroad. This also applies if you have not reported the loss.

Yes, international students are obliged to take out statutory health insurance for the entire duration of their studies.

If you are taking part in a preparatory course, such as the DSH language preparation course, are a regular student, over 30 years old or a doctoral student, you must have your statutory or private health insurance company exempt you from the insurance obligation.

Digital health insurance registration procedure

Please request the electronic health insurance certificate or your exemption from compulsory insurance (privately insured persons) from your statutory health insurance company as soon as possible after admission or after your arrival in Germany. You can find further important information about the submission here.

Here you will find further important information on health insurance in Germany.

When forecasting and specifying the undefined legal term "reasonable period", not only general language barriers, but also individual circumstances such as illness-related delays must be taken into account.

However, caution is required if the illness precludes a positive prognosis because it is not to be expected that the ability to study can be restored within a reasonable period of time. A diagnosed examination anxiety does not release you from the restriction to a reasonable period of study.

In the event of serious delays at the beginning of your studies, it is particularly important to explain and justify the changes in the further course of your studies to the immigration authority and the department as well as the admissions department of the International Office. Even if the average duration of studies is significantly exceeded, it may be disproportionate to refuse to extend the residence permit if the final examination is imminent and a successful degree is to be expected.

If the average duration of studies has already been exceeded by three or more semesters, it is advisable for students to obtain an opinion from the university themselves.

The examination board of the faculty is often responsible for this, but individual professors can also provide an opinion. If family, social or psychological problems are the cause of the delay in studies, the psychological counseling centers of the Studentenwerke and the International Office of the university can also help, e.g. with individual counseling.

A semester of leave has no negative effects in and of itself.

However, it must be ensured that ...

  • ... there is a good reason for the interruption. This can be an illness, pregnancy, maternity leave and subsequent care of the child, but also a serious illness of a close relative in Germany or in the country of origin.
  • ... the total duration of studies remains reasonable, but does not exceed the limit of ten years. It may be the case that a residence permit is issued with the condition that the approval of the foreigners authority must be obtained before applying for a leave of absence at the admissions office. In this case, the two points mentioned must be submitted in advance.
  • Students must ensure that their residence permit does not expire when they travel abroad. The foreigners authority may be asked to extend the residence permit early or issue a probationary certificate for the period after the residence permit expires. If you do not apply for an extension, you will not be able to return to Germany with an expired residence permit. A new visa procedure must be carried out from your home country or country of residence.
  • Undue hardship also exists if the application could not be submitted in time because the residence permit contained a resolutory condition. This resolutory condition, an ancillary provision according to which the residence permit expires in the event of deregistration, is only issued by a few immigration authorities, but is generally permissible. The fee for the residence permit, regardless of whether it is issued for one or two years, is around €100 and can also be higher.

It is imperative that you apply for an extension or the issue of another residence title (e.g. settlement permit) before your residence title expires.

If you submit an application in good time, you may continue all previous activities, e.g. gainful employment, until the immigration authority has made a decision.

If you submit the application after the deadline has expired, this can lead to considerable legal disadvantages, meaning that you may be deported and not allowed to take up any further employment.

International students can work up to 120 full days or 240 half days during their studies. In addition, there is the possibility of permanent part-time student employment, provided that you have a valid employment contract with the hiring university department.

After completing your studies, you also have the option of extending your residence permit for up to 18 months in order to find a job in Germany. Any employment is permitted while you are looking for work.

As an international student, am I generally allowed to work in Germany?

Well-qualified foreigners, e.g. with a foreign professional qualification or a university degree, have the legal option of immigrating to Germany after five years with the prospect of permanent residence. Special regulations apply to the EU Blue Card.

Access to the labor market is only possible if there are no German or privileged foreign workers available for the position nationwide. The applicant must therefore first find a job. Employers must report this to the Federal Employment Agency. The Federal Employment Agency only agrees to issue a residence permit if the position cannot be filled by a jobseeker with preferential rights and the working conditions are equivalent to those of Germans. Exceptions apply to highly qualified persons, e.g. scientists and specialists. The Employment Ordinance regulates further exceptions to the approval requirement, e.g. for professional athletes.

  • Further information on the Blue Card:

Information on the Blue Card

Even after completing your studies, you have the option of extending your residence permit for up to 18 months in order to find a job in Germany. Any employment is permitted while you are looking for work.

Do I need the approval of the Federal Employment Agency for every job and where can I apply for it?

The Employment Ordinance regulates activities for which the granting of a residence permit is not subject to approval. In the case of marginal employment, the approval of the Federal Employment Agency is also required for the EU Blue Card. If you require approval for your type of employment, you do not have to apply for it yourself: If you apply for a visa or residence permit for employment at the foreigners authority or a foreign mission, these authorities will involve the Federal Employment Agency.

The following requirements apply for family reunification with a foreigner:

  • The foreigner is already living here with a settlement permit, a permanent residence permit for the EU, an EU Blue Card, an ICT card, a mobile ICT card or a residence permit.
  • Sufficient living space is available.
  • The livelihood of the family members, including health insurance, is secured without recourse to public funds.
  • There is no reason for deportation.
  • Depending on the situation, further requirements must also be met:
  • Spousal reunification for both Germans and foreigners depends on both persons being at least 18 years old and at least one of them being able to communicate in German.

What language requirements must be met?

In principle, proof of written and spoken German at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is required for a visa to join a spouse.

Important!

Please inform the Foreigners' Registration Office of any changes during your stay if...

  • you travel during your semester abroad or apply for a semester of leave.
  • you take up free-lance employment.
  • you change your course of study or university.
  • You lose your national passport.
  • You have missed the renewal of your visa.
  • you are unable to start or continue your studies for health reasons.
  • you have to travel for urgent reasons.

Information sheet on changing your studies

Information sheet for international students

Information sheet for international graduates