Last Updated : Sep 4, 2023
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For students planning on beginning their studies, covid has brought about several uncertainties. Here I lay out the student visa process. If you instead just want to get your visa application, use Atlas.
Given the pandemic, Germany is only issuing visas to those in exempt categories. For starters, make sure that you come under one of these categories. Students whose coursework cannot be done entirely remotely are qualified. If you're going for a language course then it's unlikely your application would be accepted.
The student visa is also commonly known as National or Schengen Type 'D' visa. Everyone is required to get this if their coursework is for more than 90 days.
If you have confirmed that you're eligible then the next step is to prepare your visa application. We've made it simple and easy to do this and the next steps on Atlas- it's like a Turbotax for visas. You'll enter a few details about yourself, and get a full application along with ancillary documents, checklist and an appointment. The process will take you 5 minutes. If you decide however not to use it, I'll highlight the process.
The main form you need to fill up is the national visa application. Most applicants make the mistake of not filling up the new, online version. This one automatically sends in your data to the authorities, and will save you and the consular officer 30 minutes during your interview. In the form, this is what you'll all need:
This is standard, personal information about yourself, your parents and your address.
If you're married, you'd need to provide your partner's information and place of residence.
This is important --- you're required to provide a reference in Germany. For students, this is your University. Make sure to ask your University who is the right person to be put in --- they are well aware of this process.
You'll need to provide details of your housing. In your interview, they'll ask proof of housing such as rental agreement, hotel bookings, airbnb reservation or university housing letter. So only put if you have one of these.
You need to provide evidence of proof of sufficient funds to cover the costs of your stay. This can either be your own a) bank statements showing a balance of no less than 853 EUR per month or b) a scholarship letter. If you intend to use a mix then take both as evidence.
There'll be other standard questions too but those will be pretty straight-forward.
As a student, you are required to have insurance for at least the first 90 days of your stay. It's a good idea to have insurance for the full length of your stay. You can use Atlas to get one quickly or check out Safetywing.
Letter of Acceptance
Don't forget this! You need the letter of acceptance from the German University. It should highlight your course, and dates.
Make sure to take 2 copies of all ancillary evidence such as passports, state IDs, etc. Where applicable, take originals too.
Letter from University
While not stated explicitly, you're almost certainly going to be asked for proof that you need to be physically present in Germany. It's a good idea to get a letter from your University confirming the existence of in-person classes.
Letter of Motivation
This is a short letter explaining why you need a visa, and specifically why you need to travel during covid. Here's a sample you can use.
The Consulate of Germany, San Francisco
Dear Consular Officer,
I wish to apply for the Germany Residence visa (type 'D') for my coursework at [Name of University] to study [Name of subject] from [DD-MM-YYYY] to [DD-MM-YYYY]. The coursework cannot be performed remotely, and I need to be physically present. I am attaching a letter from the University confirming the same.
To support my application, I am presenting you with evidence of my financial means, proof of housing & insurance, and letters from University confirming my admission.
You need to schedule an appointment, and attend a visa interview with all these documents. Make sure to go to the right consulate --- you can find which one is applicable to you here or just schedule an appointment on Atlas, and the AI will find this out for you.
There are several small things in addition to what I highlighted above that you need to carry. You can save all this trouble by using Atlas. I also recommend always using the official checklist as well.