International Office

Visa and residence status

On the following page, the RUBiss (RUB - international student services) team has compiled important information on the necessary formalities of your study stay in Germany.

Entry regulations

Before traveling to Germany, you should first find out which entry regulations apply to you:

Citizens of EU member states, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland:

  • An entry visa is not required, only your identity card.
  • If you plan to stay in Germany longer than three months, you must register at the City Administration Office (Bürgerbüro) and obtain a Freedom of Movement Certificate or a residence permit for citizens of the Swiss Confederation.

Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and the USA:

  • An entry visa is not required, only your passport.
  • For stays longer than three months and in order to take up employment, you will need a residence permit, for which you can apply at the Foreigners' Office after entering Germany.

Non-EU citizens:

  • If you plan to stay in Germany longer than three months, you must first apply for a national visa for Germany in your home country or country of residence (D visa) before entering Germany. This also applies if you are already in another EU member state.
  • Entry into Germany with a "visitor or tourist visa" (Schengen visa category "C" valid for 90 days) is not suitable for a study stay! It can neither be changed into a residence title for study purposes nor extended after entry. You must then travel back to your country of origin at your own expense and apply for the applicable visa there.
  • The national visa of category "D", usually issued for a period of 90 days, also entitles the holder to a short stay in other Schengen countries. After entering the country, you must apply for a residence permit at the local Foreigners' Office.

City registration

In Germany, all persons staying longer than three months must register with the City Administration Office (Bürgerbüro) of the city in which they live.

In Bochum, students from non-EU member states must register with the city before they can apply for a residence permit at the Foreigners' Office. Other German cities may observe different procedures, please inform yourself if you live outside of Bochum.

You should register with the city within two weeks of your move (also within Germany). However, it is also sufficient if you make the appointment at the respective City Administration Office within two weeks!

Book an appointment online (Website in German)

Please bring the following documents to your appointment:

After the city registration is completed, you'll receive two letters to your German address:

  • Tax identification number (tax ID) from the tax office

    • Please keep this letter safe. You will need this in case you want to work in Germany.

  • Media license fee

    • The media license fee finances the radio, television and online services of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio. The contribution amounts to approximately €51 every three months (as of 2021).

    • Every household in Germany must pay the media license fee. If you live in a shared flat, you can also share the fee with your flatmates.

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens: freedom of movement

Citizens of EU member states, the European Economic Area and Switzerland do not need a residence permit for their stay in Germany. However, they must prove their right to free movement at the respective City Administration Office if planning on staying longer than three months.

Free movement application

Non-EU citizens: residence permit

Students from non-EU member states must apply for a residence permit after arriving in Germany. The Foreigners' Office of the city in which you live is responsible for this.

Applying for your residence permit for the purpose of studying:

Send the following documents (filled out and signed)* to the Foreigners' Office via e-mail or post:

After a few weeks, you will receive an invitation to a personal interview at the Foreigners' Office. There you will also have to pay the visa fee of about 110€.

*This information only applies to the Foreigners' Office in Bochum.


Extension of your residence permit for study purposes:

Your German residence permit is normally valid for 1-2 years. before your permit expires, it is your responsibility to contact the Foreigners' Office to extend it. Please consult the following website for more information:

Information on the extension of the residence permit

Non-EU citizens: temporary residence permit

The issuing of the electronic residence title (eAT) takes a processing time of approx. 12-16 weeks. If your residence permit expires within this period, a temporary replacement document (Fiktionsbescheinigung §81.4) will be issued. This in addition to your old residence permit remains valid until your new residence permit is received. During this period, travel out of and re-entry into Germany is permitted. However, it is advisable to find out from the embassy/consulate of the country you are travelling to whether it is possible to enter and leave the country without any problems before leaving Germany.

International degree seeking students
International exchange students
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