Most non-EU citizens planning to study in Germany for more than three months must obtain a student visa in their home country. Exempted from this requirement are citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United States. Whether or not student visa requirements apply, however, all non-EU citizens must obtain a residence permit within three months of their arrival. Only EU citizens—i.e., citizens of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain—do not require residency permits. Everyone staying in Germany for longer than a week must register at the Einwohnermeldeamt (Local Residents’ Registration Office).
Those requiring student visas must apply for them at a German embassy or consulate in their home country before they travel to Germany. To find the address of your country’s German embassy or consulate, click here. We strongly recommend that prospective students apply for student’s visas well before their planned departure date, as the application process can take several months.
To apply for a student visa, you must submit a letter of admission from a German university or some other form of notification indicating that you have been assigned to a preparatory program (a so-called Studienkolleg), placed in a university German course, or offered a Ph.D. position. In addition, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient funding for the first year of study—no less than 7,020€. For this you will be expected to submit proof of scholarship money, bank savings, a controlled account (Sperrkonto) in Germany, or some other guarantee of financial support, such as a letter from a parent or relative.
Before the student visa expires, you must apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) by submitting your passport, visa, official registration of your local address (Meldebescheinigung der Stadt Aachen), and proof of your student status (Studienbescheinigung) to the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners’ Registration Office) located at the RWTH:
Aufenthaltsgenehmigungen für Studierende und Hochschulangehörige
Telephone: (49) 241–432 33-20, -21,- 22
You can find detailed information about visa requirements on the Web site of the German Foreign Ministry (Auswärtiges Amt). There you can also find out more information about regulations governing immigration.