Find out in good time whether you need to apply for a visa to enter Germany for the purpose of university study.
To enter the Federal Republic of Germany, you normally need an entry visa. Make sure you apply for this visa in good time at the German diplomatic mission in your home country. EU nationals and nationals of certain countries (e.g., Australia, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Canada, Liechtenstein, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and United States) do not need a visa to enter Germany.
- See the list of countries for which there is / is not a visa requirement on the multilingual web page of the Federal Foreign Office. This page also contains information about applying for a visa.
- For special information, see the web page of the diplomatic mission responsible for you.
- Note that the 3-month Schengen visa (tourist visa, visitor’s visa, business visa, visa to attend a language course without the intention of pursuing university study) cannot be converted into a residence permit for the purpose of university study in Germany. In this case, you must leave Germany and reenter with a special student visa issued by the diplomatic mission responsible.
Visa information for international applicants
Universität Hamburg recommends that you apply for a university applicant visa directly after you receive confirmation of your applicant status. This way you can enter Germany in time for the beginning of your studies.
What visa can university applicants use to enter Germany?
As an applicant, you can apply either for the university applicant visa or a student visa to enter Germany. To apply for a student visa, you will need to provide proof that you have been offered a university place (i.e., your acceptance letter). You can apply for a university applicant visa if you have applied to Universität Hamburg and have received confirmation of your application.
Why is the university applicant visa recommended?
It generally takes 2–3 months to process visa applications. Therefore, Universität Hamburg recommends that you apply for a university applicant visa directly after you receive confirmation of your applicant status. This way you can enter Germany in time for the beginning of your studies. Do not wait for your letter of acceptance! Apply for a university applicant visa as soon as Universität Hamburg confirms receipt of your application.
Once in Germany, you can have the university applicant visa converted into a residence permit for the purpose of university study. If you do not receive a university place, you will not be reimbursed the visa payment. If you do receive a place, you can be assured that you can enter Germany punctually. You bear the costs of the visa fee even if you do not receive a university place in Germany.
It is important to enter Germany before your studies begin so that you:
- have time to find housing
- can take part in International Welcome Week
- do not miss the introductions to your subject or department, which take place before the semester starts
- can register for courses punctually
- can prepare for your semester and start studying without undue stress.
What is “confirmation of application”? Why do I need it?
To apply for a university applicant visa at the German diplomatic mission, you will need confirmation of your status as a university applicant. Universität Hamburg will send you confirmation by email after you apply for admission online.
Confirmation of application does not indicate whether you have been accepted to or rejected by Universität Hamburg; it merely confirms that you have applied. Thus, you should enter Germany with your university applicant visa only when you have received your acceptance letter and have formally accepted your university place.
If you are already in Germany and your visa expires, you can present confirmation of your applicant status at your local foreigners’ department. Based on this, the foreigners’ department can give you a short-term extension to your visa until a decision has been made about your application.
How do I get the university applicant visa?
To get the visa, the German diplomatic mission checks whether you have a diploma recognized in Germany, a recognized and sufficiently valid passport or substitute, and sufficient financial resources (minimum of €670 per month) to study in Germany. The German diplomatic mission then requests authorization from the relevant foreigners’ department. If the request is not denied in 3 weeks and 2 days, it is authorized.
As a rule, the university applicant visa is valid for 3 months.
How can I get a residence permit for Hamburg?
If you are offered a university place and enter Hamburg on your university applicant visa, the Hamburg Welcome Center or the local foreigners’ department will review it again and convert it into a temporary residence permit for the purpose of university study—providing all requirements have been met.
Visa information for international exchange and visiting students
As a rule, you should apply for a visa to enter Germany as soon as you receive written confirmation of your studies from Universität Hamburg (invitation, letter of confirmation).
Important: If possible, apply for a visa for the entire intended duration of your stay in Germany. This is possible if you wish to stay in Germany for a maximum of 12 months. Your visa will then be valid for your entire stay, and you can avoid having to pay for a residency permit in Hamburg.