Visa Process & Requirements

Who needs a visa? It’s a big world, and requirements to enter Germany can vary depending on your home country. Generally, non-EU students need to apply for a visa.

Visa and Immigration Advice


Students from these areas do not need a visa or residence permit for Germany:

  • EU
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway

They receive a "Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung" (freedom of movement certificate) upon registering with the local authorities.


Students from these areas do not need a visa to enter Germany:
  • Andorra
  • Australia (including the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Norfolk Island, Christmas Island)
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • El Salvdor
  • Honduras
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand (including the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau)
  • San Marino
  • Republic of South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • USA (including the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands)

You will be required to apply for a residence permit upon enrolment.

All other students require a German student visa (issued by a German Embassy or Consulate) before entering Germany. If you are not sure about the process, please contact our International Admission team.

Even if you come from a country (other than those already mentioned) whose citizens can enter Germany with a simple travel visa, you must have a German student visa to apply for the residence permit. If you don't have it, you will have to return to your home country. This rule applies both to holders of a residence permit from another EU country and to persons who entered Germany with a visitor's visa. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Applying for your student visa for Germany


Where do I find the nearest German mission?

You can apply for your student visa at the German mission nearest to you. The addresses of German missions around the world can be found here. You need a student visa to enroll at the IUBH. In accordance with German law, the visa officer must carefully assess your motivation to study in Germany. This means that you must provide all the necessary documents as well as demonstrate your personal commitment and sincerity.

How long does it take to get a student visa for Germany?

Visa processing can take up to 3 months, depending on the quality of your preparation. Your visa will be valid for up to 90 days, after which you must get an extension. We assist you in this process. Some embassies issue a visa whose validity starts on the day it is picked up. In such a case, if the visa is picked up in May, for instance, it will have expired before you actually arrive in Germany. Please clarify this with the German embassy in your country.

Which documents do I need?

You will normally be required to submit the documents listed below. The embassy, however, can ask for additional documents or further clarifications.

Please check your local embassy or consulate for details - these are valid for your application.

  • Visa application form (available at the embassy)
  • A valid passport
  • Letter of Admission and letter from the registrar's office
  • Proof of sufficient funding (see above)
  • Two passport photos (special regulations):
  1. Size of photo: 35mm x 45mm
  2. Size of head from hairline to chin: between 32 and 36 mm
  3. The face has to be centered and clear
  4. The light should be smooth and even on the face - no shadows, reflexions, or red eyes.
  5. The background should be single-colored and there should be contrast between face and background
  6. The photo should be of good quality and display colours accurately
  7. You should look into the camera with a closed mouth and a neutral face expression
  8. Your eyes have to be visible
  9. A headdress is only allowed for religious reasons. If you wear a headdress make sure that the face is clearly visible from hairline to chin

Language and Financial Resources


To be eligible for a student visa, the prospective student must fulfil certain requirements in terms of language skill, study goals and financial resources. These must be documented and presented to a visa officer.

Which proof of language do I need to study at the IUBH?

If you enter the IUBH directly, you need to show an IELTS Score of 6.0 in the English language. If you attend the Pathway Programme, an IELTS score of 5.0 is generally sufficient as you learn English within this programme.

The law says that you don’t need German because the language of instruction in all IUBH programmes is English. But knowing even a bit of the language will make your daily life in Germany easier. It is also an important sign of your commitment to study in Germany and may help you in the visa process.

How much money do I have to show to get the Visa?

The visa officer must make sure that you have a sincere wish and the means to study in Germany. This is why all international students must provide proof of funding (covering tuition and living expenses) to get a visa and/or residence permit.

Students in IUBH programmes: You need to provide proof that you have the financial resources to cover tuition fees and living expenses.

The German embassy calculates 7.900,-€ per year for a student´s cost of living expenses. This means that you need to show funds for tuition plus 7.900,-€ for the first year. You need to explain how you plan to fund your studies and expenses in the following years.

How do I prove my sincere wish to study in Germany?

To prove that you are committed, your grades must show your ability to study. Before your interview in the embassy we invite you to use our visa preparation service.