How can I get a student visa for doctorate studies in Germany?

Getting a visa is a very crucial aspect of your journey. To know everything about getting a visa for doctoral studies in Germany, read this article!

How to get a visa for a doctorate degree in Germany?

The standard of doctoral education in Germany, world-class infrastructure, quality of research programs and the welcoming environment created by German universities for international students is attracting international students from all over the world to pursue their doctoral degree from Germany. You'll be stunned to know that 1 out of every 7 doctoral students in Germany is an international student. So, if you are planning to pursue your doctoral studies from Germany, you're on the right track. However, there are a few things that you need to be aware of, and we will discuss them in this article.

The first and most important thing to know is the policy regarding residence in Germany as an international student, and secondly, the process of getting a visa for your doctorate degree in Germany. There are numerous restrictions on international student seeking residence in Germany during their doctoral studies. The German Embassy and Consulates are solely authorized to issue a visa. The “visa” is an official validation and authorization for entrance in Germany, a reserved right for non-German students, and it is guaranteed under the Section 71, Paragraph no.2 of the Residence Act in the German law.

The German visa – who needs it and who does not?

Entrance policies, visa restrictions, issuing of the visa, and regulations of the German state vary depending on the country of origin of the student seeking the German visa. Therefore, there are three categories of international students applying for a visa based on the entrance rules applied to them. 

Students from the European Economic Area (members of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and the European Union)

Students belonging to the areas mentioned in the title do not require a visa to pursue doctoral studies from Germany. Freedom of movement applies to them, and they can enter Germany without a visa. All they need to show during the time of travel is an identity proof. If you belong to this category, as an international student you are required to get registered at the Bürgeramt or Einwohnermeldeamt (Citizen Service or Resident Registration Office) if you plan to reside in Germany for more than three months.

During the registration process, you will be required to present the following documents:

  • Passport or identity proof
  • In case you are married – marriage certificate
  • A completed application in the German language – the Anmeldeformular

Once the registration process is complete, you will be handed over a registration certificate – the Anmeldebestatigung. This certificate will come in handy for applying for a German bank account or enrolling in a doctoral course. 

Students from Israel, Honduras, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Republic of South Korea, and the United States of America

If you belong to any of the countries mentioned in the title, you are not required to present a visa for entering Germany as an international student. However, if you plan to stay in Germany for three months or more, you are required to get registered at the local authorities at the Bürgeramt or Einwohnermeldeamt (Citizen Service or Resident Registration Office) within one week after you arrive in Germany.

 

Moreover, once you register and get the registration certificate, you must immediately apply for a proper residency permit for your stay in Germany during your doctoral studies. To apply for a permit, you need to visit the Foreigners Registration Office, or the Foreign Authority also known as Auslanderbehorde. 


Students belonging to the third-world

If you belong to a third-world country, you’ll be required to get a visa for entering Germany and residing during your doctoral course. 

Your visa application must highlight the reason for applying for a visa along with supporting documents and must be submitted at the German Embassy or Consulate in your country. You can download the German visa application form online for free here or fill the German visa application form directly online

Once you land in Germany, you are required to get registered at the local authorities at the Bürgeramt or Einwohnermeldeamt (Citizen Service or Resident Registration Office) within one week after you arrive in Germany. Moreover, once you register and get the registration certificate, you must immediately apply for a proper residency permit for your stay in Germany during your doctoral studies. To apply for a permit, you need to visit the Foreigners Registration Office, or the Foreign Authority also known as Auslaenderbehoerde.

Things to remember while filing a German visa application

If you’ve not submitted your German visa application yet, here is a list of important things regarding your visa application, stay in Germany, and enrollment in a German university that you must remember. 

Stay alert, ensure you apply for the correct visa

Any German visa will now allow you to stay in Germany during your doctoral studies. You need a “Student Visa” which is issued to international students who want to pursue their higher studies or doctoral studies from a German university. 

A “Tourist Visa” will not allow you to reside and study in Germany. Even if you arrive in Germany with a Tourist visa, you will not be allowed to enroll in any German university. Also, if you stay in Germany for more than the duration permitted by your Tourist visa, you’ll be asked to leave the country. 


Apply quickly, don’t wait too long

You must be aware of the fact that a German visa application takes weeks together to get processed, maybe a few months. Once the German university of your choice accepts your application for doctoral studies, start putting together your documents and file the German visa application as soon as possible. Don't delay the process. If you do not get your visa on time, the university might allow your seat to another candidate. 

Enroll on time, don’t miss the enrollment data

Your enrollment in the doctoral course is the most important aspect of your doctoral study program. It is the time when you will be formally known as a doctoral student. Therefore, ensure that you get your visa on time and land in Germany at least a week before your enrollment date. This way, you'll get ample time for finding accommodation, applying for a residency permit, setting up a German bank account, and get accustomed to the people and new place. 

Be sure that your passport is not expired

As you've already read above, you must get your visa on time so that you enroll in the doctoral program on the same date as mentioned by the Germany university. An important aspect of meeting this deadline is ensuring that your passport is not expired. Before submitting the German visa application, get the validity of your passport extended if it is expiring anytime soon. In case your passport expires after your arrival in Germany, you'll have to travel to your home country to get in renewed. The result – waste of time, energy, and money. Therefore, check the validity of your passport and get it extended on time in case your passport will get expired during your doctoral course in Germany.

Fulfilling the visa requirements

You already know that the visa application process is a sensitive procedure and even the slightest mistake can result in the visa denial. However, if the process is completed correctly, you'll surely face no problem in getting your visa. 

Therefore, in this section, we've put together a detailed list of visa requirements that you must meet to get your German student visa approved successfully. 

Student visa for doctoral studies in Germany for international researchers

Once the German university of your choice accepts your doctoral degree application, you will be required to apply for your student visa. 

Here’s a list of documents you’ll be required present along with your German visa application at a Germany Embassy or Consulate in your home country:

  • The complete German student visa application form
  • A valid passport (ensure that your passport is not expiring soon)
  • Passport size photos
  • A letter of approval by your mentor who will supervise your doctoral research in Germany
  • Health insurance proof
  • Proof of adequate financial backing for the course of your doctoral studies – usually a blocked bank account with approx. 8640 Euros. 
  • All your educational certificate (school, college, diploma, etc.)
  • Proof of your German language proficiency and English language proficiency (depending on the language requirement for your doctoral course)

 

Don’t be late for your visa interview

You must have heard the popular saying – your first impression is your last impression. Well, it is true. And, you need to be careful about reaching for your visa interview on time. Carry all your documents and be confident during the interview. Answer all the questions and keep a check on your conduct.

The German Residency Permit – an overview

Once you land in Germany, you are required to get registered at the local authorities at the Bürgeramt or Einwohnermeldeamt (Citizen Service or Resident Registration Office) within one week after you arrive in Germany. Moreover, once you register and get the registration certificate, you must immediately apply for a proper residency permit for your stay in Germany during your doctoral studies. To apply for a permit, you need to visit the Foreigners Registration Office, or the Foreign Authority also known as Auslanderbehorde. 

Here’s a list of documents you’ll be required to present for getting a German Residency Permit:

  • The complete German Residency Permit document
  • A letter of approval by your mentor who will supervise your doctoral research in Germany
  • Health insurance proof
  • Proof of adequate financial backing for the course of your doctoral studies – usually a blocked bank account with approx. 8640 Euros. 
  • All your educational certificate (school, college, diploma, etc.)
  • Proof of your German language proficiency and English language proficiency (depending on the language requirement for your doctoral course)

The German Residency Permit for doctoral students

In sync with the Act on the Residence, Economic Activity, and Integration of Foreigners in the German Territory, Chapter-2, Part III, and Section-16, if you have a Student Visa for pursuing your doctoral studies from Germany, you will be required to obtain the Residence Permit for Educational Purposes. It will allow you to stay in Germany, study at a German university, and take part in any economic activity in Germany. 

The German Residency Permit will allow you to legally reside and study in Germany, as well as:

  • Provide equal rights as the citizens of Germany
  • Allow you to take part in any economic activity in Germany – 120 complete- days/year or 240 half-days/year provided they do not interfere with your study course
  • The chance to extend your German Residency Permit by a maximum of eighteen months for getting employed once you have completed your doctoral studies
  • Once you get a full-time job, you can extend the German Residency Permit even further based on your employment contract

Advantages of receiving a German Residency Permit

The following are the benefits you will receive as a German Residency Permit holder:

  • Safe and secure livelihood in Germany during your doctoral studies
  • The identity of an international student and security to travel anywhere in the German Territory
  • A document which serves as a security that you hold a valid German Student Visa and you are not trespassing the German laws or rules pertaining to residency, employment, and education in Germany
  • Right to leverage health services in Germany
  • Right to participate in various cultural activities in Germany

Conclusion

If you read all the facts mentioned in this article, by now, you that a German Student Visa does not just come in handy for your doctoral studies but allows comes with various other benefits mentioned in the previous section. So, take your German Student Visa process seriously and ensure that all your documents are in place. Reach for the interview in time and answer all the questions confidently. If you fumble while answering any of the questions shot at you by the interviewer, you might land yourself in trouble. Check the validity of your passport and get it extended if it is going to expire anytime soon. We wish you all the best for your Visa application process!

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