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Foreigners' Registration Office


Students from non EU/EWR countries (third countries)

Please note that you may need a visa for Germany even if you have already acquired a residence permit for another EU-country.
List of countries for which a visa is required.

Please contact the German embassy in your home country as soon as possible to find out about the entry requirements and which documents you need to apply for a visa. It is necessary to apply for the visa or residence permit while you are still in your home country. For further important information about visa application, please visit the website of Study in Germany.

Necessary documents to apply for a visa:

  • a valid passport, biometric passport photos
  • a university entrance qualification which is recognized in Germany (A-Levels or equivalent)
  • proof of your previous academic performance
  • proof of financial resources
  • letter of admission from TU Dortmund University

Warning: It can take from a few weeks up to several months to process visa applications, so please apply as soon as possible. We do not recommend you to come to Germany with only a tourist/travel visa (Schengen visa). It cannot be extended and is only valid for a maximum of three months.

Please note that the International Office does not have any influence on the embassy's process of issuing visas.

Registration at the Foreigners' Registration Office

Everyone who stays in Germany must register their residence with the Foreigners' Registration Office within the first ten days after their arrival in Germany.

In order to avoid potentially long waits, you can reserve an appointment online to register your residence. All necessary documents for registering your residence can be found on the website of the public order office of the City of Dortmund.

Registration form

Contact Information for the Foreigners Registration Office:
studententeamstadtdode or visastadtdode
Contact form


Important Information

Presentation: Residence law for international Students

Residence permit during the job search

After you have successfully completed your studies at the university, there is a possibility to extend your stay in Germany. In order to do so, you must apply for a job search residence permit as soon as possible. With this permit, you will have 18 months to look for a job that fits to your degree. The period of 18 months begins as soon as you have received the last grade of your degree and can prove the completion of your studies to the Foreigners' Registration Office.

Tip: We encourage you to start looking for a job as soon as possible and to make an appointment in advance with the Foreigners' Registration Office to plan your stay in Germany.

Information about entering the German job market!


Residence permit for employees

If you have found a position, you must inform the Foreigners' Registration Office and apply for a residence permit for employment purposes. You will need the necessary documents such as a valid work contract and a confirmation of your health insurance coverage as evidence. The Foreigners' Registration Office will then check if the position corresponds to your academic degree and if approved, will issue a new residence permit.

Information about the recognition of occupational experience abroad.

The employment agency's Migration Check helps your employer to decide if you need a work permit to work in Germany and if it can be issued.


Inform the Foreigners' Registration Office about changes during your residence if:

  • you leave for a semester abroad or for a semester off.
  • you work as a freelancer.
  • you change your major or your university.
  • you lose your passport.
  • you missed the visa extension deadline.
  • you are unable to pursue or continue your studies to reasons of health.
  • you need to travel due to urgent reasons.

Information about changing your major

Presentation about the Foreigners' Registration Office in Dortmund

Information about blue cards


Do I always need to carry my passport with me?

No, however you are required to have a passport or passport replacement document for your entry into and stay in Germany. That does not mean that you always have to carry it with you. Nonetheless, you must be able to present it if the authorities (ex. police) ask for it.

Please pay attention to the following: before your passport or passport replacement expires, you must apply for a new document in time so that it can be issued while the old one is still valid.

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

  • You must immediately apply for a new passport if the current one becomes void or lost.
  • You must immediately apply for a new passport or a change as soon as the information in it becomes inaccurate.
  • If you do not own a passport, one cannot be reasonably obtained or you needed to leave it temporarily at a German authority, you need to promptly apply for a replacement identity card at the immigration office.

If you find the passport or passport replacement that you had lost, you need to inform the immigration office or German diplomatic mission. This applies even if you did not report the loss.

Which steps are directly necessary after entry?

  • Renting housing and registering with the immigration office within weeks. There is no obligation to register during a temporary stay of up to three months. However, you are obligated to register within two weeks as soon you move into housing or after three months in a hostel/hotel/youth hostel, etc. A violation of this can be punished as an administrative offense with a certain fee.
  • Enrollment at a university or obtaining a certificate for the start of a preparatory course.
  • Opening a bank account- in Germany every person with a legal residence permit and an official registration document from the immigration office may have an account.
  • Application for the residence permit at the immigration office. It is important to make an appointment at the immigration office in advance to avoid residence permit expiry.

Which reasons can be taken into account when the period of study lasts longer than normal?

In the prognosis and specifying of the indefinite legal term “reasonable period of time”, not only general language barriers but also individual circumstances such as delays caused by illness must be taken into account.

However, caution is advised if the illness precludes a positive prognosis, because it cannot be expected that the ability to study will be restored in a reasonable time. A diagnosed fear of exams does not release you from the limitation to an appropriate duration of study.

What do international students have to keep in mind when the standard period of study has been exceeded?

In the case of severe delays at the beginning of study, it is particularly important to highlight and justify the changes in the further course of study with the immigration office and the department as well as the admission department of the international office. Even if the average study time has been significantly exceeded, the refusal to extend the residence permit can be disproportionate if the final examination is imminent and a successful completion can be expected.

If the average length of study has already been exceeded by three or more semesters, it is advisable for the students to obtain a statement from the university themselves.

The examination board of the department is often responsible for this, but it is also possible for individual professors to make a statement. If family, social or psychological problems are the cause of the delay in your course of studies, the psychosocial counseling centers of the student unions and the international offices of the universities can also help, e.g. with advice for individual cases.

Which consequences can failing for a semester on leave have?

Taking a semester off does not have any negative effects in and of itself.

However, it must be ensured that:

  • There is a good reason for the interruption. That could be an illness, pregnancy, maternity leave and the subsequent care of the infant, but could also be a severe illness of a close relative in Germany or in the country of origin.
  • The total duration of the study remains reasonable but does not exceed the limit of ten years. It can happen that a residence permit is issued with the condition that the approval of the immigration office must be obtained before applying for a leave of absence at the admission deparment. Then the two issues mentioned must be presented in advance.

What should I pay attention to if I would like to travel outside Germany for vacation?

  • Students must ensure that their residence permit does not expire when traveling outside Germany. The immigration office can be asked to extend the residence permit ahead of schedule or to issue a probationary certificate for the period after the residence permit has expired. If you fail to apply for an extension, you cannot return to Germany with an expired residence permit. A new visa procedure from your home country or country of residence must be completed.
  • There is also undue hardship if the application could not be submitted in time because the residence permit contained a resolute condition. This resolute condition, an ancillary provision according to which the residence permit expires in the event of de-registration, is only issued by a few immigration authorities, but it is generally allowed. The fee for the residence permit, regardless of whether it is for one or two years, is around €100 and can be higher.

What should I pay attention to when my student residency permit expires?

It is urgent that you apply for the renewal or the granting of a different residence title (ex. settlement permit) before the expiry of yours.

If you apply on time, you are allowed to continue all previous activity such as gainful employment until a decision has been made by the immigration office.

In case you first apply after the expiration date, it can lead to considerable legal disadvantages, so that you could then be subject to deportation and not be allowed to pursue any further employment.

Am I allowed to work during my studies as an international student?

During their studies, international students can work up to 120 full days or 240 half days. In addition, there is the possibility of unlimited student part-time work under the condition to have a valid work contract with hiring university department.

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

Am I allowed to work in Germany as an international student in general?

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

Access to the labor market is only possible if there are no German or preferential foreign employees available for the position across the nation. Therefore, the applicant must first find a job. The employer must report this to the Federal Employment Agency. The employment agency only agrees to issue a resident permit if the position cannot be filled by a preferential jobseeker and the working conditions correspond to those of Germans. Exceptions apply to highly qualified people, e.g., scientists and specialists. The Employment Ordinance regulates further exceptions to approval requirements, for example for professional athletes.

What should I consider after finishing my study program and after receiving my exmatriculation document?

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

Do I need approval from 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 does not require approval. In the case of an understaffed occupations, approval from the Federal Employment Agency is also required for the EU Blue Card. If you need approval for your type of employment, you do not have to apply for it yourself: if you apply for a visa or a residence permit for employment at the immigration office or a diplomatic mission abroad, these authorities will involve the Federal Employment Agency.

Can I apply for family reunion in Germany?

The following requirements apply to family reunification with a foreigner:

  • The foreigner has already been 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.
  • There is sufficient living space available.
  • The livelihood of the family members, including health insurance, is secured without using public funds.
  • There is no reason for deportation.

In addition, depending on the situation, further requirements must be met:

  • The spousal reunification for Germans as well as foreigners depends on if both people are at least 18 years old and at least one of them can communicate in German.

Which language requirements have to be fulfilled?

Basically, a visa for spouses to join you requires proof of German language skills at the A1 level of the common European Framework of Reference for spoken and written languages.

Inform the Foreigners' Registration Office about changes during your residence if:

  • you leave Germany for a semester abroad or for a vacation semester.
  • you work as a freelancer.
  • you change your major subject or the university.
  • you lose your passport.
  • you have missed the visa extension appointment.


Extra information for international students

Extra information for international graduates