Visas and residence permits

Visas and residence permits

Most students from non-European countries who intend to study here will need a Studentenvisum (student visa) or a Studienbewerbervisum (applicant visa) to come to Germany. Please do not travel to Germany on a tourist visa if you want to study here: you will not be able to exchange it for a student or applicant visa without returning to your home country.

Find out whether you need a visa for Germany on the German Federal Foreign Office's website.

If you do not require an entry visa for Germany based on your citizenship, please be aware that you will still have to register with the authorities or apply for a residence permit once you arrive in Germany.

As it takes several weeks or months to obtain the visa, you should contact the German embassy or consulate in your country of residence as early as possible: this ensures that you will receive your visa in time for the start of your programme and the Orientation Weeks for international students.

Which type of visa should I apply for?

We recommend that you apply for the 'Studienbewerbervisum' if at all possible: please ask the embassy or consulate staff about this possibility first. The advantage of this visa is that you can apply with the letter confirming receipt of your application – which you should receive soon after you send us your application – rather than the offer letter, which you will only receive several weeks after applying. To put it another way: applying for an applicant visa means that the university application and the visa application are processed simultaneously rather than one after the other, thereby shortening the entire process significantly.

Eligibility criteria for Studienbewerbervisum (applicant visa)

You are eligible for a Studienbewerbervisum, if:

  • you have not received an offer letter from a university or a Studienkolleg. (If you have, you should apply for a Studentenvisum (student visa) instead.)
  • the expiry date of your passport or travel document is sufficiently far in the future (see Foreign Office website).
  • your entering Germany is not contrary to the public interest.

Studentenvisum (student visa)

If you cannot apply for a Studienbewerbervisum, the documents to be submitted for a Studentenvisum are essentially the same, with the exception of item 6 on the list below: you must furnish the offer letter from the University instead of the receipt confirmation for your application package.

Which documents do I need to submit with my visa application?

The consular staff will tell you exactly which documents you must provide, however, you will likely need to provide some or all of the documents below:

  1. a qualification (certificate) that gives you the right to study at a German university.
  2. certificates showing any periods of university study undertaken thus far.
  3. proof of any existing German language skills (e.g. a German language certificate) or any evidence that shows you are planning to attend an intensive German language course in Germany.
  4. evidence of sufficient funding for your entire stay in Germany.
  5. a health insurance certificate.
  6. a) if you are applying for a Studienbewerbervisum (applicant visa): the receipt confirmation for your university application from the University or Uni-assist (as the case may be). This is proof that you are applying for a place on a degree programme in Germany.
    b) if applying for a Studentenvisum (student visa): the offer letter from the University.

Residence permits and registering with the authorities

When you are in Passau and have your enrolment certificate ('Immatrikulationsbescheinigung') from the University, you should do one of the following at the earliest opportunity. Which of the two you need to do depends on your citizenship and visa status:

  • apply for a residence permit at the Ausländeramt if you are a non-EU citizen and your visa does not cover your entire stay (i.e. the whole duration of the degree programme)


  • register with the Bürgerbüro (as you will be staying for more than three months), if:

    • you are an EU citizen
    • you needed an entry visa to come here but the visa covers your entire stay

Student helpers will be on hand to assist you with the formalities during the Orientation Weeks for international students.

Please click on the relevant section below for details and addresses:

Applying for a residence permit

Non-EU citizens are issued electronic ID cards for foreign citizens, the 'e-Aufenthaltstitel'. If either your passport or residence permit is about to expire, you should renew your residence permit at least eight weeks before your current one runs out. At the time of writing, the fee for a student residence permit application is €85.00.

To apply for a residence permit, you need to provide the following documents:

  • the completed application form (which you can get from the International Office – contact details on the right)
  • a valid passport (which should include your entry visa)
  • the enrolment certificate ('Immatrikulationsbescheinigung') you received from the University of Passau
  • health insurance certificate
  • proof of sufficient funds for your stay, such as one of the following:

    • a scholarship or bursary with a stipend of at least €720 per month
    • a guarantee given by a company, organisation or private individual registered or resident in Germany, that the they will pay for any expenses incurred during your stay in Germany, as well as bank account statements showing that the amounts have actually been paid into the account
    • a blocked savings account ('Sparbuch mit Sperrvermerk') held in a German bank, with a monthly withdrawal limit of €720. The minimum deposit must be €720 times the number of months on the programme (one semester = 6 months). The limit can only be removed with the approval of the foreigners' registration office

  • a copy of the lease/rental contract for your flat or a letter from your landlord or landlady (e.g. a so-called 'Wohnraumbestätigung')
  • a biometric passport photograph

Contact information for the Ausländeramt ('foreigners' registration office') in Passau:
Rathausplatz 1
Phone: +49 851 396 431
Fax: +49 851 394 180

Registering as a resident

If you are an EU citizen or if your entry visa covers your entire stay in Germany, you do not need to apply for a residence permit; however, you are required to register at the Bürgerbüro ('citizens' office') in Passau as a resident if the duration of your stay exceeds three months. Registration is free of charge, but you are legally required to do so within one week of moving in to your new accommodation.

Please take along the following documents:

  • your passport or ID card
  • the enrolment certificate ('Immatrikulationsbescheinigung') you received from the University

Contact information for the Bürgerbüro:
Rathausplatz 2 (Old Town Hall)
Phone: +49 851 396 225


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Useful links

From the Federal Foreign Office:
visa regulations
do you require a visa?

From the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD):
information on visa applications (and more)