Residence Permit for International Students in Germany

17, March 2023

Resident Permit (Visa)

As a non-EU national, a student residence permit permits you to live in Germany while pursuing studies at a German institution. After you arrive in Germany, you must apply for a student residence permit. This implies that before you may go to Germany, you must first get a student visa from the German embassy or consulate in your home country. The Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner's Authority/ Immigration office) issues it, initially for a period of one or two years. As long as your studies go well, your student residence permit might be renewed for the remainder of the program and you will have to submit the necessary documentation every time you go for the renewal.

How to Apply for a German Residence Permit for Studies?

After you arrive in Germany, you must apply for a student residence permit. The steps are as follows:

  1. Register your address
  2. Make sure you have health insurance.
  3. Gather all of your documentation.
  4. Book an appointment, fill out the application, and send it to the Ausländerbehörde (Foreingers Office) of your area
  5. Pick up your student residence permit card

Register your address

The first step is to book an appointment and register your address with the Bürgeramt (or Bürgerbüro in German) of your area. Within 14 days of entering Germany, you must register your address and get a Registration Certificate (Meldebestätigung). The Meldebestätigung is required not just to apply for a residence permit, but also to open a bank account. Within a day, you will receive the Meldebestätigung. The following documents are necessary for an appointment with the Bürgeramt:

  1. The Wohnunggeberbestätigung (Proof of Residence Certificate). When you move in, your landlord should supply you with such a certificate. Alternatively, you might print the form from the Bürgeramt's website and have them fill it out for you.
  2. The Registration Form. You will find and fill this at the Bürgeramt.
  3. Your passport and your initial student visa.

Health insurance

In Germany, international students have two health insurance options: Public (statutory) health insurance or private health insurance. You must get a health insurance certificate to submit with your application after you have health insurance coverage.


The following documents are to be arranged:

  1. Residence Permit Application Form. You can download this from the website of the Ausländerbehörde or obtain it in person at the office.
  2. Your passport.
  3. Your student visa (if applicable).
  4. Biometric photo.
  5. Proof of financial means. Depending on your situation, this could be:
    1. Proof of blocked account.
    1. Proof of a scholarship.
    1. Proof of financial support from your parents or a sponsor.
    1. Job contract
  6. Health insurance certificate.
  7. Certificate of enrollment or letter of approval from your university (if applicable).
  8. Proof of enrollment in a German preparatory language school (if applicable).
  9. Proof of conditional acceptance into a German university (if applicable).
  10. Residence Registration Certificate.

Application at Ausländerbehörde

When you have all of the required documents, you must present them to the Ausländerbehörde on the day of your appointment to apply for your student residence permit. You'll also meet with an immigration officer for an interview. Ascertain that you have the cash to pay for your residence permit extension fee. For first extension it is 110 EUR and for further extensions it is 100 EUR. Some, immigration offices accept card payments, but always better have the required amount in cash. It usually takes about 5-6 weeks to acquire your student residence permit once you submit your application.

There is no need to panic if you are unable to schedule an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde due to unforeseen circumstances, such as moving to a new city for an internship and your residence permit is about to expire and you are unable to get a speedy appointment at the new city's Ausländerbehörde. Ausländerbehörden all around Germany would issue you with a temporary residence permit (Fiktionsbescheinigung), which would extend your current residence status for 3 or 6 months until you could get an appointment with the relevant office. Especially since the onset of Covid-19 regulations, walk-in appointments are no longer possible for residence permit extensions, and in most cases, students are receiving a Fiktionsbescheinigung and it is accepted as a valid document even when you apply for part-time jobs or internships.

Student experiences

The most important document for students seeking to extend their residence permit is proof of financial resources, which varies from city to city and officer to officer. As a general rule, you must present proof of 934 EUR per month or 11,208 EUR per year as a blocked account in order to receive a one-year extension. It depends on the city and the officer, though.

On conversing with students of certain cities (Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dresden etc), the Ausländerbehörde in these cities are not very concerned about having a blocked account, and a simple bank account statement will suffice when applying for a residence permit extension. There have also been occasions where students with less than 11,208 EUR have received a two-year extension. Also, most Ausländerbehörde accept a valid employment contract and three months' pay slips, so even if you don't have 11,208 EUR in your bank account, you may easily receive a one- or two-year extension.

However, from interactions with students from NRW, it is expected of them to mandatorily have a blocked account when applying for an extension. And, in most cases, the length of the extension is determined by the amount in your blocked account. So, if you have a blocked account with 11,208 EUR you receive a year’s extension. However, if you have a blocked account and an employment contract, you may be able to acquire longer than a year.

Similar is the case at Ulm. The Ausländerbehörde is not strict regarding a blocked account, but regarding the amount of EUR 11,208. And from student experiences, they don’t give much consideration to job contracts and pay slips.

In conclusion, it could be said that there isn’t a generic answer as to for how long could someone get his or her student residence permit extended or what is the minimum amount to be shown as proof, every time you go for the residence permit extension. So, the best way to get a good understanding of the documentation needs in different places is to speak with former students who have already gone through the procedure in that city or Ausländerbehörde. Another thing you may do is to not wait until the last minute to schedule an appointment; instead, email or call the Ausländerbehörde a month or two ahead of time, telling your situation, requesting an appointment and asking them of the necessary documents, so you have plenty of time to have everything in order before the time!