How to write a CV for a German Student Visa: A Guide for International Students 2024

In case you need a student visa to study in Germany, then you will have to submit a CV for your German visa application! Find out more about the format and the structure of a good German Resume!

You might already be aware of the fact that citizens of some countries do not need a visa to study in Germany. If you are not from one of those countries, then you will need to apply for a German visa. This, in turn, means that in addition to submitting a CV to gain admission to your desired German Bachelor's or Master's program, you will also need a CV for your German student visa application.


The purpose of this article is to provide clear answers to the most crucial questions about the CV-writing process with regard to the German student visa context. We know that writing a Resume for a study visa in Germany is one of the most (if not the most) challenging application tasks for students. That is why we decided to make your life easier and put the answers to the central questions in one place.

It is our goal to inform you honestly and accurately, therefore, we need to add a DISCLAIMER:


You should use this text as a general guide, but it cannot be a legal consultation. The visa regulations are made and executed solely by the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt). Please be aware: Some rules and procedures can vary from embassy/consulate to embassy/consulate, even within one country. That is why we highly recommend you also consult the German representation abroad near you for information that applies to your case.

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The basics that you need to know about the CV for your German student visa

What is a Curriculum Vitae for a student visa in Germany?

Generally speaking, a Curriculum Vitae (CV) - known as Lebenslauf in German - is a (mandatory) application document requested by most of the local German Embassies/Consulates, where you should provide information regarding your academic background, work experience (including internships), extracurricular activities and skills in a concise and structured way. To put it differently, CV is your short biography, and it is through the CV that you can make a good first impression on the embassy officer, which might be crucial for your successful application for a German student visa. That is why writing a very good CV according to German standards is important, and that is why you should take the CV-writing seriously.

CV vs Curriculum Vitae vs Resume vs Lebenslauf - What are the differences?

Do not be confused or surprised if you find out that your local German Embassy/Consulate does not mention "CV" but instead uses terms like "Curriculum Vitae", "Resume", or "Personal Data Sheet". Depending on the location, German Embassies/Consulates may use one of these expressions for what is called in German "Lebenslauf". It is noteworthy that in Germany, you will come across "CV" more frequently than "Resume".

Table 1: Different wordings used for "CV"


Typical Context/Scope



University and Job Application

Dominant term in the German-speaking countries

Curriculum Vitae

University and Job Application

CV is an acronym of Curriculum Vitae


University and Job Application

Same meaning, but less frequent than CV

Personal Data Sheet

University and Job Application

Same as CV, but used extremely rarely 


University and Job Application

German word for CV

Is a CV necessary for the German visa application?

Whether you need to apply for a German Student Visa or a Student Applicant Visa, you will (almost) surely have to include a German-style CV in your visa application package. In other words, generally, you cannot apply for a German student visa without a CV. Thus, without including a CV, your application for a German visa will be incomplete, which will most probably lead to rejection. For instance, the German Embassy in Indonesia is very straightforward about it. According to them, without a CV (which is a mandatory document), your application for a German student visa will definitely be rejected.

Table 2: German student visa CV - country-specific examples


Term used




German Representation in Argentina



German Representation in Armenia



German Representation in China



German Representation in Colombia


Curriculum Vitae

German Representation in India


Curriculum Vitae

German Representation in Kenya


Curriculum Vitae

German Representation in Pakistan



German Representation in Peru



German Representation in Russia


Curriculum Vitae

German Representation in Singapore

South Africa

Curriculum Vitae

German Representation in South Africa


Curriculum Vitae

German Representation in Uganda



German Representation in Ukraine


Further Reading

LOM for a Visa in Germany: A Guide 2024

How do I write a CV for a German student visa?

When writing a CV for a German student visa, the first thing you should do is check whether your local German Embassy/Consulate has any specific requirements in this regard. If that is the case, you must take them into account. However, it happens quite often that the German Embassies/Consulates do not mention anything other than just the fact that they need your CV. The good news is that it is not a problem at all! Why? Because in Germany, there are standardized expectations with regard to the CV (whether it is for a visa, for a study program etc.), which you can always follow without any worries!  Let us present to you these standards through the seven frequent questions that we get at MyGermanUniversity.

1. What do German Embassies look for in a CV?

In your CV, German Embassies and Consulates look for an answer (at least partial) to the question of whether your profile fits the purpose of your planned study visit to Germany. Usually, the key information that the embassy officers look for in your CV for a German student visa is the details about your academic and professional experience.

2. What should CV for a German visa look like?

This question can be reworded as "what is the structure of the CV for a German visa". Basically, a German CV should consist of four core sections, which are:

  • Header. In this section, you should provide your personal details, like your first and last names, physical and email addresses, phone number, etc.

  • Education. This is THE most important section of your CV for a German student visa. Here you should provide information regarding your academic background. For example, it can be a high school diploma and a Bachelor's degree. Among others, you should include the date when you attended the school/university, the names of the institutions, location, etc.

  • Work Experience. This part should encompass information regarding your professional experience, including internships and volunteerships. And again, you should specify the dates, the location, names of the organisations/institutions, your position, etc.

  • The Rest. This is a broad section, which you can break down into several parts. For instance, if applicable, it should include the parts on extracurricular activities (e.g., workshops, summer schools, etc.), scholarships and awards, memberships (e.g., in case you are a member of any societies or clubs), skills (e.g., language skills, digital skills) and hobbies.

3. Which CV format is used in Germany?

When it comes to the formats of German resumes, you might often hear the following words: Tabellarische, Lückenloser Lebenslauf. This can be translated as "Tabular CV without gaps". These are one of the main requirements with respect to the German CV format. Other popular CV format-related requirements are reverse chronology and using the same script. So, what does each of these mean?

  • Let's start with the first word "Tabular". To put it shortly, when German embassies ask you to provide a CV in tabular form, they mean that you should have the CV structured like in table format rather than a narrative. Besides, the dates (of academic or professional experiences, winter schools etc.) should be on the left-hand side, while the titles and descriptions on the right-hand side.

  • As for "without gaps", let us provide you with the following example. For instance, if in your German CV you state that you completed your Bachelor's in 2016, and then there are no more entries in any section until 2019 when you started working in company "X", it means that you have around a 3-year gap in your CV. This is something that the German embassy officer will not like. In other words, by having an unexplained gap, the quality of your German CV will be worsened. Consequently, you should try your best to avoid causing this kind of confusion and do not leave any gaps in your CV. 

  • Another important requirement of the German CV format is reverse chronology. This means that you should start with the most recent experience instead of the oldest. For instance, you should first mention your Bachelor's degree and then the school diploma.

  • Last but not least, you should use the same script type throughout your German CV, preferably a standard script like Times New Roman or Arial. The font size can be 11-12pt for general text and 14-16pt for headers/titles.

4. Should I use Europass CV for a German visa?

If the German Embassy or Consulate does not explicitly ask you to use the Europass CV, you should not do that as Europass is not a very commonly used format in Germany. In other words, when the German Embassy/Consulate responsible for your student visa application does not specify the required CV format, it automatically means that the embassy officers expect you to submit a standard German CV.

5. Should I put a photo on my CV in Germany?

Yes, German Embassies/Consulates usually require you to include a photo in your CV. The headshot should be professional, LinkedIn-style. In general, a photo in a CV for any purpose, including a German student visa, is a standard in Germany. So, even if the Embassy/Consulate responsible for your German student visa application does not mention that you need a photo in your CV, you still need to include the headshot. The only case where your CV should be without a photo is when the German Embassy/Consulate explicitly asks for that, which happens extremely rarely.

6. How long should my CV be for Germany?

Your CV for a German visa should be neither too short nor too long. In general, although German Embassies and Consulates hardly ever specify that (German Consulate in Nigeria is a rare exception), they expect your CV for a German student visa to be 1-2 pages long. In a word, ideally, your German CV should not be less than 1 page or more than 2 pages.


And again: this is a standard "formula" which you should follow unless your local German Embassy/Consulate has any different requirements in this regard.

7. Is signature required in German CV?

According to German standards, a signature is generally required in your German CV. Although most of the German Embassies and Consulates do not render that explicit, unless specifically mentioned otherwise, you should always sign your CV for a German student visa application. Some of the German representations abroad, such as the German Embassy in Iran and the German Consulate in Nigeria, directly point out this requirement.

CV Guidelines provided by German Embassies/Consulates

In general, German Embassies and Consulates do not provide any guidelines whatsoever for writing your CV for a German student visa (see Table 2). In fact, they are usually extremely "parsimonious" with respect to CV-related information. 

To be more specific, in most cases, German representations abroad just mention "CV" in the German student visa requirements without any further elaboration. Sometimes (extremely rarely), some German Embassies/Consulates do provide a little bit more information. For example, the German Embassy in Egypt, the German representation in Vietnam, the German Embassy in Uzbekistan and some others fall into this category.


Further Reading

Visa for International Students

CV Sample for a Student Visa in Germany

Before writing their own CV, students often try to find a German CV example online (especially in pdf format) to have a hands-on guideline to follow. In general, we recommend that you be very careful with such samples. The reason is that the Internet is full of low-quality German CV templates, which means that you are at high risk of ending up with a low-quality CV. If that is the case, it will negatively impact your chances of a successful application for a German student visa.


However, it is noteworthy that, in general, there is nothing wrong with using templates as long as they are good. In fact, unlike the case of the Letter of Motivation (LOM), using a CV template is totally fine. Why? Because the LOM is an essay where the risk of plagiarism is extremely high, while in the CV, you just provide facts related to your own biography in a structured manner - this cannot be plagiarized. So, the key challenge is to find a good German student visa CV example. As soon as you find it, you are welcome to use it as a template.