Welcome to your first encounter with the German bureaucracy. If you are intending to stay for more than 3 months in Germany, you will have to apply for a visa; a student visa is absolutely necessary for matriculation at most German universities.
As a student, there are 4 different types of visas that might apply to you:
- A full-time student visa, applicable to students who have been accepted into a German institution of higher education;
- A student applicant visa, for students who are intending to study in Germany, but have not been accepted into a institution of higher education (this can later be converted into a full student visa in Germany upon receipt of a Zulassungsbescheid);
- A study exchange visa, for students who have been accepted for 1-2 semesters at a German university, not leading to graduation; and
- The internship visa, for students who are pursuing an internship at a German firm or university.
We strongly recommend all prospective degree-seeking students to apply for the ‘Study Applicants’ Visa’ upon submission of your application documents, which can be obtained even without a letter of acceptance from a German university. As the visa application can take as long as 8-10 weeks, there might be insufficient time for you to apply for a visa upon receiving your acceptance letter, and your letter of acceptance may even be revoked if you do not arrive by your university’s enrolment deadline. As such, do apply for the ‘Study Applicants’ Visa’ as early as May or June to avoid unnecessary complications during your enrolment at the university. Exchange students should have received their letters of acceptance significantly earlier and should not be affected. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend all students to apply for their visas at least 3-4 months before their term begins.
Please note that the aforementioned visas have to be applied BEFORE entering the country! You cannot convert a tourist visa into a student visa after entering Germany. The whole visa application process can take up to 3 months, so please apply well in advance! For more information, please consult the German Embassy in Singapore.
Note: An appointment has to be made online for the visa application. To avoid being turned back when submitting your application at the Embassy, please have at least two copies of everything, including the front page of your passport. You would also need to bring along two passport photographs which conform to the EU regulations (viz. no smiling, no side profile, white background). Bring Singapore Dollars in cash and only in S$10 denominations. No change will be provided by the embassy.