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 month to process visa applications, so please apply as soon as possible. We 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.
- Information about studying abroad for international students in Germany
- Work and Study
- Change of study major
- Confirmation of study progress
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.
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.
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.
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 Foreigner’s Register 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.
In comparison to a residence permit, a settlement permit is an open-ended residence document. It gives you the right to gain employment, is valid within all of Germany (spatially unrestricted) and may not be further provided with ancillary provisions (by the Residence Act).
The requirements for receiving a settlement permit are defined.
The basic requirements for obtaining the permit are as follows:
- You have had a residence permit for five years.
- You can secure/guarantee your livelihood
- You have sufficient German language skills.
However, there are also exceptions. For example, if you are highly qualified or need this residence permit for humanitarian reasons.
The permit for permanent residence is an unlimited residence permit that foreigners from third countries receive after five years of legal residence in a member state of the European Union.
This title includes the right to move to other member states and similar to the settlement permit, largely places third-country nationals on an equal footing with German nationals (e.g. in terms of access to the labor market and social benefits).
Since 1 August 2008, students have been able to easily participate in cross-border projects and degree courses, as the German residence permit also entitles them to mobility within the European Union.
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.
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. However, the job must be connected to the degree obtained beforehand. Any employment is allowed while looking for a job.
There is still a recruitment freeze for unskilled and low-skilled workers. Exceptions only apply to nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia who can be granted a residence permit for any employment up to and including 2020.
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.
The EU Blue Card is the central residence permit for academic professionals. It enables people from third countries who want to bring their professional skills to Germany to move to Germany in a simple and unbureaucratic manner.
This requires two things:
- The applicant must provide evidence of a university degree. If the degree was completed abroad, the degree must be recognized in Germany or be comparable to a German degree.
- There must be a binding job offer or an employment contract with a gross annual salary of at least 52,000 Euros (2018). In so-called shortage occupations, the lower salary limit is only 40,560 euros (2018), e.g., for doctors and engineers. In these cases, the Federal Employment Agency carries out a comparability check with regard to working conditions such as working hours and salary.
The EU Blue Card is initially issued for four years or, if the employment contract has a shorter term, for its term plus three months.
After 33 months of highly qualified employment, EU Blue Card holders can be granted a settlement permit. If the holder of the EU Blue Card already has good German language skills, the settlement permit can be granted after only 21 months of highly qualified employment.
Family members of EU Blue Card holders do not have to prove German language skills before entering the county and may take up unlimited employment immediately after entering the country.
Residence times with the EU Blue Card in other countries can be cumulated for the EU permanent right of residence regulated by European law if the stay in the first country is for at least 18 months.
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 Foreigners’ Registration Office or a diplomatic mission abroad, these authorities will involve the Federal Employment Agency.
The following requirements must be met for the approval of the Federal Employment Agency for gainful employment:
- No German or other privileged foreigner is available for the job (priority principle)
- The working conditions must correspond to those of Germans.
- You must have been permitted, tolerated, or have resided in Germany with a residence permit for at least three months
If approval is required, the priority check (see above) will be waived after a stay of at least 15 months.
Approval from the Federal Employment Agency is not required if you are aiming for vocational training in a state-recognized or comparable regulation occupation, or if you have been permitted, tolerated, or have resided in Germany with a residence permit for four years without interruption.
Employment is not permitted if people have gone to Germany to obtain monetary or non-cash benefits for asylum seekers, or if the people themselves are responsible for the fact that measures to end their stay cannot be carried out. In addition, employment is excluded for nationals from a safe country of origin if they submitted an asylum application after 31 August 2015 whose rejection was final.
The Immigration Act has given the federal states the opportunity to set up so-called “hardship case commissions”. In special individual cases, these commissions can listen to people and recommend the granting of a residence permit, even if the general legal requirements are not met. The prerequisite is that a foreigner has an enforceable obligation to leave the country, i.e., he has unsuccessfully exhausted all possible options for obtaining a right of residence and therefore there is no longer any legal reason for remaining in the federal territory. Furthermore, there must be special, outstanding humanitarian reasons. However, the granting of a residence permit is also generally excluded in these cases if criminal offenses of considerable importance have been committed. In addition, the granting of residence can be made dependent on the fact that the livelihood is secured or that a declaration of commitment is submitted.
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.
No, however you are required to have a passport or passport replacement for your entry into and stay in Germany. That does not mean that you always have to have 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 produced 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 Foreigners’ Registration Office.
- If you find the passport or passport replacement that you had lost, you need to inform the Foreigners’ Registration Office or German diplomatic mission. This applies even if you did not report the loss.
In order to easily illustrate securing a living, the following example serves as an explanation:
Sascha, 27 years old, wants to study at Humboldt University in Berlin and his wife and two children aged three and six want to accompany him. Relatives arranged an 80-square-meter apartment for them for €1,200 in rent including heating. First, Sascha has to secure his livelihood in the amount of the BAföG rate of €861.
For his family members, their needs according to SGB II/SGB XII plus the costs of accommodation are applicable. Health insurance coverage must also be guaranteed.
Standard requirements (2021):
3-year-old child €283
6-year-old child €309
3x €300= €900 (an equal share of the total rent for each person, not including Sascha’s share).
Total needs for family members: €1,893
The requirement is reduced by the wife’s entitlement to child-care allowance of €438 to €1,455. The family must therefore prove a total monthly income of €2,316.
Health insurance: If Sascha is not yet enrolled in a course of study, the entire family can only take out private insurance. After enrolling, Sascha is legally insured and family members are also insured free of charge.
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.
- Renting housing and registering with the Registration 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 (usually €20-50 fine).
- Enrollment at a university or obtaining a certificate for the start of a preparatory course.
- Opening an account- in Germany every person with a legal residence permit may have an account.
- Application for the residence permit at the Foreigners’ Registration Office. There are always delays here because the immigration authorities cannot allocate timely appointments.
However, the application must be submitted before the visa expires, preferably in writing or by fax if a personal visit is not possible.
Students must ensure that their residence permit does not expire during a home leave. The immigration authorities 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 necessary, an extension can also be requested from abroad by e-mail.
If you fail to apply for an extension, you cannot return to Germany with an expired residence permit. A new visa procedure must be completed.
There is also undue hardship if the application could not be submitted in time because the residence permit contained a resolutive condition. This resolutive 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 €100.
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.
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. 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 faculty/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.
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 Foreigners’ Registration Office must be obtained before applying for a leave of absence. Then the two issues mentioned must be presented in advance. If the Foreigners’ Registration Office rejects the approval, an appeal can be made against it.
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.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Social Counseling Service for International Students.
You can reach us here: social.counselingtu-dortmundde
We are looking forward to assisting you!
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Location & approach
The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dortmund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dortmund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station ("Dortmund Universität"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station ("Dortmund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop "Dortmund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dortmund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dortmund Universität S".
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dortmund Universität S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.
The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.
The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".Zum Lageplan