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German Visa Information

Visa Information for Students

What is a visa?

A visa is a passport stamp or document that authorizes the passport holder to enter a country for a specific purpose and particular period of time. Every country has different visa policies and arrangements with every other country. Different types of visas are available for different purposes; common types include tourist visas, student visas, or business visas. Different visas last for different durations of time. Visas are issued through the embassy or consulate of the appropriate host country. The process is extensive and can take up to eight weeks (or more) to receive your visa. To avoid early expiration, the consulate will issue your visa no more than 90 days prior to your program's departure.

Do I need a visa?

Academic Year, Fall Only and Spring Only Programs:

  • If you are from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, or South Korea, you do not need to obtain a visa before arrival to study in Germany. However, you will need to register at the local Residents' Registration Office and the Aliens' Registration Office (Ausl√§nderamt) to obtain a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) within two weeks of arrival in the country.  The Heidelberg program staff will assist you with this process when you arrive, and there is nothing you need to do in advance.
  • If you are from within the European Union (also including Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein), you do not need to obtain a visa before arrival to study in Germany. However, you will need to register at the local Residents' Registration Office and the Aliens' Registration Office (Ausl√§nderamt) to obtain a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) within two weeks of arrival in the country.  The Heidelberg program staff will assist you with this process when you arrive, and there is nothing you need to do in advance.
  • If you are from a country not listed above, you may be required to obtain a Residence / Long Stay Visa which you must apply for before arriving in Germany. If you are not a U.S.-passport holder and must obtain a visa, the IP Office will distribute information to you during the fall semester. Please note that students have historically had issues applying for a long stay visa from outside the United States. Non-U.S. passport holders should consult with the IP Office before applying.

Summer Programs:

  • If you are from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, or South Korea, you do not need to obtain a visa before arrival to study in Germany, as you will remain in the country for fewer than 90 days.
  • If you are from within the European Union (also including Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein), you do not need a visa.
  • If you are from a country not listed above, you may be required to obtain a Schengen / Short Stay Visa. If you are not a U.S.-passport holder and must obtain a visa, the IP Office will distribute information to you during the fall semester.

How do I obtain a visa?

There is no visa workshop for Heidelberg programs. Students from the USA are not required to obtain a visa for any term. If you are not a U.S.-passport holder and must obtain a visa, the IP Office will distribute information to you.

Academic Year, Fall Only and Spring Only Programs

More information about Residence / Long Stay Visas can be found on the German Missions in the United States website.

Summer Students

More information about Schengen / Short Stay Visas can be found on the German Missions in the United States website.

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