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.
- 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.