BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Studying and education

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Studying and education in Germany

School pupils

A separate residence title for the purpose of attending school can generally only be issued for a time-limited school student exchange or to attend an intensive language course that is also of a limited duration, provided the means of subsistence is ensured during the stay (section 16 subs. 5 of the Residence Act), further information: see brochure entitled "Studying and Working in Germany", pages 9 et seq.

Trainees

Third-country nationals can receive a residence permit for the purpose of completing vocational training courses (section 16 subs. 5a of the Residence Act) as well as to undertake in-company basic or further training, also known as dual education (section 17 subs. 1 of the Residence Act). The latter instance requires consent from the Federal Employment Agency, unless the position is one that does not require prior consent.

Possibilities for limited employment are available subject to certain requirements (section 16 subs. 5a and section 17 subs. 2 of the Residence Act), further information: see brochure entitled "Studying and Working in Germany", pages 10 et seq.

Applicants to study

Third-country nationals who wish to study in Germany but have not yet been admitted to a state or state-recognized university can receive a residence permit of up to nine months (section 16 subs. 1a of the Residence Act). This requires proof of qualification for admission, which can be obtained if necessary by taking an entrance examination, further information: see brochure entitled "Studying and Working in Germany", pages 12 et seq.

Students

The German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) provides for two ways in which students from third countries can obtain a legal residence title in Germany while studying. If you wish to study at a German University only, you may be able to be issued with a residence title for the purpose of studying. This also applies if you will be studying in other EU Member States as well as at the German institution, but will be spending most of your overall EU residence period in Germany.

Should most of your residence period be spent in another EU Member State, you will need to apply for a residence title there under Directive 2016/801/EU. This residence title will permit you to study at a German higher education institution for a specific period (You will find details further below at "Mobility while studying").

Residence title for the purpose of studying

A foreign university student can be issued with a residence permit for the purpose of studying in Germany with a period of validity of at least one and at the most two years (section 16 subs. 2 sentence 1 of the Residence Act). Studying must be the primary purpose of the stay; evening or weekend courses or correspondence courses therefore do not qualify.

Knowledge of the language in which the course of studies is to be conducted is waived under certain conditions (section 16 subs. 1 sentence 4 of the Residence Act). Limited employment as well as spare-time student employment are permitted (section 16 subs. 3 of the Residence Act).

Graduates of German universities are entitled to a settlement permit after as little as two years, subject to certain conditions (section 18b of the Residence Act), further information: see brochure entitled "Studying and Working in Germany", pages 34 et seq.

Mobility

The rules on mobility within the EU applying to third-country nationals coming to the EU for the purpose of studying have been eased. This means that if you have already been issued with a residence title under the Directive on conditions of entry and residence (Directive 2016/801/EU) in another EU Member State, you may come to Germany and study here without applying for a German residence title. The member states Great Britain, Ireland and Denmark will not implement the Directive.

Mobility can be exercised, if the residence in Germany for study purposes is planned for max. 360 days. In addition, the host higher education institution in Germany needs to send a notification to the National Contact Point at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. This needs to be submitted as soon as the intention to study in Germany is decided. The complete notification has to be made available to the National Contact Point at latest 30 days before the planned entry into Germany.

Information on the notification:

If a student is to come to Germany within the mobility mechanism, the host higher education institution needs to send an appropriate notification to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. In order to do so, the notification form (see Download in the right-hand column [only available in German]) must be completed in full and digitally. Additionally, digital copies of the following documents need to be submitted together with the form:

  • the residence permit issued by the first EU Member State (valid throughout the entire duration of the mobility),
  • a recognised, valid passport/replacement passport,
  • evidence of participation in a Union or multilateral programme incorporating mobility measures and of the validity of an agreement between two or more higher education institutions,
  • proof of admission to the host higher education institution, and
  • proof of subsistence (incl. proof of health insurance).

In general, all supporting documents – short of the passport and the residence permit - need to be submitted in German.

The notification form is forwarded via the BSCW server. You will find more information on registration and transmission in the right-hand column (only available in German).

After checking its completeness, the Federal Office transmits the notification to the relevant immigration office. The office may deny the planned residence within 30 days. Otherwise the student may enter into Germany. The Federal Office issues a certificate for mobility. This certificate is declaratory and not necessary for the entry.

Third-country nationals who have been issued with a residence permit in Germany in accordance with section 16 of the Residence Act may in turn exercise mobility in other EU Member States in which the Directive on conditions of entry and residence has also already been transposed, and may study at a higher education institution there. Some Member States require a separate notification for this which is to be made to the authorities with individual responsibility; an overview of the procedures in other Member States will be made available on this page soon.

Date 23 July 2018

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Wichtige Mitteilung

Warning!

There have been several occasions very recently in which people have pretended to be employees of the Federal Office and asked for an interview at which they questioned asylum applicants intensively. This took place in some cases on the pretext that a second hearing was allegedly needed. Important: The Federal Office does not conduct home visits! These individuals do not work for the Federal Office. The Federal Office has therefore filed criminal charges. If something similar happens to you, or if you observe anything of this nature as a carer, please report this to your local police station.Interviewers from reputable survey institutes who are currently conducting interviews as part of research projects in which data are collected on a voluntary basis clearly state who they are working for. They also give the name of the survey institute and prove this by showing the appropriate documentation. This means that you can make enquiries should you have any doubts.

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