If you are a European Union citizen, under the European Union Regulations, you are not required to obtain a visa or work-permit to live, want to study or work in Berlin. The only requirement is for you to register at your local Residence Registrations Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) within one week of obtaining permanent accommodation, this must be completed within your first three months. To register, you will need to present your passport, a copy of your rental agreement and a completed registration form, which you can acquire from the office. The Residence Registrations Office will be located at the town hall in your neighbourhood.
Regulations also allow for spouses and children under 21 years of age to accompany you. Non-EU family members will require the necessary visas.
All other non EU citizen wanting to travel in Germany for more than 90 days, will require a visa. This visa can either be applied for prior to coming to Germany or during your initial 90 days.
There are three different visas for students:
1. Study Applicant’s Visa – for those who have applied for a course at a university (or equivalent) in Germany and have the confirmation letter.
2. Student Visa – for those who have applied for a course at a university and have received the admission letter.
3. Language Course Visa – for those only wanting to do a language course in Germany.
A Language Course Visa cannot be converted into a Study Applicant’s Visa or Student Visa in Germany. If you want to do a course at a German university immediately after your language course, you will need to apply for a Study Applicant’s Visa or a Student Visa, these cover both the language course and the university course.
As long as all your paperwork is in order, generally speaking applying for a visa relatively easy.
If you are apply for your permits prior to arriving in Berlin, you need to do so through your local German Embassy. If you decide to apply after your arrive in Berlin, you need to go to the aliens registration office (Ausländerbehörde) located in Wedding at Friedrich-Krause-Ufer 24 to register. This office is only open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is strongly advisable to get an appointment.
The website also allows you to download the application for residency permits. The application is in four different languages, including English. In addition to your application form you may also be required to produce one or more of the following documents:
- two visa application forms for a residence permit, duly filled in and signed (please include your postal address, phone number and email address)
- two recent colour passport photos (35 x 45 mm, front facial view)
- your national passport (valid at least three months longer than your intended stay)
- a letter of acceptance from university or exchange organisation
- your flight itinerary with confirmed reservation
- proof of medical insurance for the duration of your stay
- proof of sufficient funds for your study in Germany (e.g. copy of scholarship grant, current bank statements, certified assurance of coverage by a third party/sponsor); minimum monthly amount required: Euro 638,00.
- the visa fee – unless waived for holders of certain scholarship programmes.
Your application will usually take between 1 – 2 weeks. You will be provided with a temporary certificate while you wait. Certificates may be restricted to a time period, however this can be extended at a later point in time.
- A permit for more than one year is €60 each.
- A permit for minors is €30 each.