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International

Entry and visas

Formalities regarding your stay in Germany

Regulations for individual target groups

If you are an EU student you can enter Germany without a visa. You do not require a residence permit either, your passport or ID card from your home country is sufficient. However, you must register with the registration office at your place of residence no later than 7 days after your arrival in Germany. In order to do this, you need a permanent address; addresses of hostels or hotels will not be accepted. You can find the addresses and opening hours of the registration offices on the local authorities’ websites (in German: www.erlangen.de, www.nuernberg.de, www.fuerth.de, www.erlangen-hoechstadt.de, etc.).

If you are a citizen of a non-EU state, you must apply for a visa at the German embassy or consulate in your home country prior to your departure for Germany. Please note that it may take six to eight weeks to process your visa application. For further information on the application procedure, please contact the embassy or consulate in your home country directly.

On the Federal Foreign Office‘s website you can find all the information you need on the German embassies and consulates abroad.

Citizens from certain states can only apply for a residence permit after having entered Germany. You can find a list of these countries and further information on the application procedure on the website of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

As a visiting student you stay at FAU for a longer period of time (more than four weeks). If you come from a state where you are required to get a visa for Germany, you may only stay in Germany for a maximum of 90 days. If you wish to stay longer you must enrol at FAU and apply for a residence permit.

Since placement students come to FAU to gather practical experience and do not attend lectures they cannot, as a rule, enrol at FAU and therefore do not get student status.

Non-EU placement students

Citizens from countries outside the European Union (non-EU placement students) require a visa to enter Germany. Please apply for the visa at the German embassy or consulate in your home country prior to your departure for Germany. Please note that it may take six to eight weeks to process your visa application. For further information on the application procedure, please contact the embassy or consulate in your home country directly.

Please note that there are different kinds of visas which placement students can apply for (national visa or Schengen visa). Please ask at the German embassy or consulate in your country which visa is the right one for you. The decision about which visa to apply for depends on how long your placement in Germany will be and whether you might want to extend it at a later point in time. Please do not start your placement on a tourist visa.

Citizens from certain states can only apply for a residence permit after having entered Germany. You can find a list of these countries and further information on the application procedure on the website of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

As there might be difficulties with the application for residence permits or visas, particularly in the case of placement students, please make sure you contact the German embassy or consulate and clarify which documents you need in order to apply for a placement visa once you are in Germany.

Regulations for non-EU citizens

The following documents must usually be enclosed when applying for a visa:

  • proof of financing (how are you going to finance your studies in Germany?)
  • confirmation of admission to a degree programme – if your German proficiency is already advanced enough for you to take the DSH exam immediately or if you are in possession of an equivalent certificate (see German language requirements for studying) The referral to the Studienkolleg in Munich is likewise sufficient as a confirmation in case you have to take an assessment examination before starting your studies.
  • If your German proficiency is not advanced enough to start a degree programme immediately, you can apply for a German language course. Information on the formal requirements for applying for a German language course are available on the German language courses, German language skills and certificatespage. If the formal requirements for admission to a future degree programme are fulfilled, you will receive a confirmation from the University that you have been admitted to a German language class.

Admission to a German course is not equivalent to admission to a degree programme. You have to apply separately for the planned degree programme (please observe the deadlines).

  • You should apply for a visa that is valid for at least three to four months; when you enrol at FAU, it should at least cover the period until the end of the semester, i.e. three months for the summer semester and four months for the winter semester. You must apply for an extension of your visa before it expires; the preliminary visa will then be converted into a residence permit for study purposes. Generally, the residence permit is valid for one to two years. Since it is issued for study purposes, it will not be extended if you discontinue your studies. Please also note that changing your subject is only possible without any difficulties in your first three semesters.
  • Please do not enter Germany on a tourist visa as it cannot be converted for study purposes. If you arrive on a tourist visa but want to study here, you must leave the country again and apply for a new visa in your home country.

When you apply for a student visa, the German embassy or consulate will inquire whether you will be able to finance your studies in Germany, and you will be required to present proof to that effect. Likewise, after your arrival in Germany, the immigration authorities will ask you for proof of financing in order for your visa to be converted into a residence permit for study purposes. The proof of financing demonstrates that you have sufficient financial means to cover your expenses above all for your first year of studies and that you will not need any social benefits offered by the German state. Current and prospective students from non-EU countries have to prove that they have at least 670 euros per month (8,040 euros per year) at their disposal. Some immigration authorities may demand even higher sums.

In general, proof of finance can be given by:

  • Parents: statement of commitment and disclosure of income and assets
  • Statement of commitment: statement of commitment to the immigration authorities or the embassy that somebody will provide the necessary funding to cover the costs of living
  • Savings account: transfer of a certain sum of money (deposit) to a blocked account
  • Scholarship: if you receive a scholarship funded by the German state, a sponsorship organisation that is officially recognised in Germany, your own state, the Federal Foreign Office, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) or any other scholarship organisation that offers scholarships for studying at German universities, you have to submit a confirmation with details of the amount and the duration of the scholarship.

Please note that not all of the options listed above are accepted in all German federal states.

Without a confirmation from your health insurance company you will not be able to enrol at FAU. Do ask your health insurance company for a confirmation of your membership when signing the contract. You will need this confirmation upon enrolment. For more information see the page on insurance.

Formalities on arrival

You must register with the local authorities at your new place of residence no later than 7 days after your arrival in Germany:

Registration office in Erlangen (German)

Registration office in Nuremberg (German)

Usually, you will require:

  • a registration form – you will get this from the registration office
  • confirmation of accommodation from your landlord/student accommodation – also available from the registration office or for download here
  • your passport

You can only register with a permanent address. The address of a hostel or hotel will not be accepted.

It is recommended that you open a German bank account. You will need it again and again, for example for transferring your tuition fees, your rent, or the health insurance fees. You can open an account at any German commercial bank. Please check whether the bank charges fees for opening an account, for administration and for issuing an EC card (electronic cash card).

Usually, you will require:

  • your passport and residence permit
  • fees for opening your account

As international students enter Germany on a student visa they have to arrange for it to be converted into a residence permit after their arrival.

In order to do so, please contact the immigration authorities of your place of residence:

Immigration authorities in Erlangen (German)

Immigration authorities in Erlangen-Höchstadt (Erlangen-Land) (German)

Immigration authorities in Nuremberg (German)

Usually, you will require:

  • a form to apply for a residence permit
  • your identity card or passport (containing your visa, if applicable)
  • certificate of enrolment (Immatrikulationsbescheinigung) from FAU
  • proof of/exemption from health insurance
  • proof of financing
  • biometric passport photos
  • money for fees

Please note that you must apply for an extension of your visa or residence permit approximately three months before your visa or residence permit expires.

Please register at FAU’s Student Records Office. You can find all the information you need in the ‘Study’ section under ‘Application and enrolment’ and in your admissions letter .