Study on Free Tuition in Germany: University Application Process,and Student Visa Requirements

Did you know Germany is the world’s most popular non-Anglophone study destination, and the third most popular overall – only the US and the UK welcome more international students each year? The question is what motivates so many students to study in Germany?

Germany is a country characterized by variety. Trendy and modern Berlin can seem a world away from the more traditional and conservative Munich. The gleaming skyscrapers of Frankfurt form a stark contrast to quaint Heidelberg. And if bustling and fast-paced Hamburg becomes too much, you can always retreat to the peaceful and picturesque Middle Rhine region.


Tuition Fees

If you are an international student and want to study in Germany at undergraduate level, the great news is there are no tuition fees at public universities in Germany for undergraduate students, and this also covers domestic, EU and international students in all states, with the exception of Baden-Württemberg, where non-EU students will be required to pay tuition fees of €1,500 (~US$1,670) per semester from autumn 2017.

Note that while tuition costs are free for domestic and international students, however international students will be required to pay a nominal fee per semester. This fee covers administration, student support and other costs, and is usually no more than €250 (~US$280).

The rather unfortunate news is that If you want to study in Germany at master’s level, you will be required to pay tuition fees. This is usually only the case for students who have not completed a related bachelor’s program at a university in Germany within the past few years – classed as “non-consecutive” students. Fees for non-consecutive master’s degrees vary, but can amount to as much as €10,000 (~US$11,100) per semester.

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University Application

The application process for universities in Germany varies depending on a number of factors. If you have a European qualification, such as a baccalaureate or A-levels, then you will only need to prove you can speak and understand German (unless you’re enrolling on a course taught in English) and you can then apply directly for a university-level course.

However, students with academic qualifications from outside Europe may have to sit the Feststellungsprüfung entrance examination after attending a preparatory Studienkolleg. High-achieving students may be able to bypass this.

Usually for many courses, you can apply directly to the international office of the university. Alternatively, you can apply using uni-assist, a centralized admissions portal for international students. This is one of the services run by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the world’s largest funding organization supporting international student and academic mobility.

For some subjects, there is a nationwide cap on the number of students who can enroll. For these subjects (mostly life sciences), students from the EU (plus Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) need to apply through the Foundation of Higher Education Admission. Students from outside of the EU should apply as normal.

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Student Visa Requirements


Applicants from outside the EU:

  • If you are from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Switzerland or the US, you will not need a visa to enter the country, but you will need to register at the local Residents’ Registration Office and the Aliens’ Registration Office (Ausländeramt) to obtain a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis).
  • If you are from Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco, San Marino or Taiwan you will only need a student visa for Germany if you want to work before or after your degree. You will need to apply for a residence permit.
  • If you are from any other country, you will need to obtain a visa from your nearest German embassy before you enter Germany, as well as a residence permit. Ensure that you apply for a National Visa for the purpose of study rather than a Schengen Visa, which will only allow you to stay in Germany for three months.
  • In order to get a residence permit you will need to present confirmation that you’ve registered at the Residents’ Registration Office, proof that you have health cover (your university will help with this), proof of your financial means (see above), your passport (with visa if you need one) and a tenancy agreement which shows you have found somewhere to live. It will be valid for two years, after which time you must get it renewed.
  • To obtain a visa, you will need to present the same list of documents as for a residence permit. You may also have to show proof that you don’t have a criminal record and are free of certain diseases. The specific list will depend on the embassy.
  • The same language requirements apply as specified in the requirements for EU students. You may also need to produce this evidence at the visa stage.




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