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German Language Course Visa: Comprehensive Guide For International Students (2022/2023)

A special type of visa is required to attend a language course in Germany. Find out about the costs, processing time, requirements and what you can and cannot do with this specific visa.

Studying German in Germany is an excellent idea as, among others, everyday communication with native speakers will significantly help you to acquire or strengthen your German skills. Did you know that you do not need a student visa to do a language course in Germany? In fact, there is a distinct type of visa just for this purpose, and it is called German Language Course Visa. If this is a type of German visa that you would like to learn more about, then you are in the right place! In this article, we cover the fundamental questions related to the language visa in Germany and try to guide you through the bureaucratic jungle that stands on your way to getting this visa!

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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Can I get a Visa for a Language Course in Germany?

Basically, everyone can get a visa for a language course in Germany. Moreover, students from some countries even do not need a language visa to attend a German language course in Germany! In total, we can distinguish between three groups of countries based on the need for a visa and residence permit for a German Language Course Visa:

  1. Countries whose citizens need neither a visa nor a residence permit to do a German language course. For example, every EU member-state falls into this category.

  2. States whose citizens do not need a visa but need a residence permit. For instance, the USA and the UK.

  3. Countries whose citizens need both a visa and a residence permit. For example, China and India.

 

Below you can find the full list of countries divided according to these categories.

Group 1 (EU + 4)

No visa or residence permit needed.

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Group 2 (USA, UK, Canada, South Korea, Brazil, El Salvador +8)

No visa needed, but residence permit (after arrival).

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Group 3 (rest of the world)

Always need a student visa.

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The basics that you need to know about the German Language Course Visa

What is a German Language Course Visa?

German Language Course Visa (Visum zum Sprachkurs) is a type of visa which you can get if you want to attend an intensive German language course in Germany and have a letter of acceptance from that kind of course. The language course that entitles you to a German Language Course Visa visa has to offer lessons of at least 18 hours per week, which should be held every day. Weekend or evening courses are insufficient and do not qualify you for a language visa. Besides, the qualifying language course should aim to equip you with advanced German skills and should be limited in time.

Do not mix up! There are two types of language courses. One is followed by studies and is known as a preparatory language course for studies, while another is just a separately standing intensive course, which is not supposed to prepare you for attending a study program in Germany. 

 

What are the key differences between these German language courses? Well, for the preparatory German language course, you need a student visa, as after completing that course, you will continue with your studies at the German higher education institution. In the case of the intensive German language course, which is the focus of this article, you need a special German Language Course Visa. If you want to pursue a degree in Germany after completing the intensive course, you have to go back to your home country and apply for a student visa or a student applicant visa.

How much does a German Language Course Visa cost?

The fee for a German Language Course Visa application is 75 Euros (37.5 Euros for minors, i.e. those under 18). Students have to pay the money in the local currency based on the exchange rate at the time of application. As for the payment methods, these vary from country to country. In some cases, you will need to pay in cash only, in other cases with a credit card, yet in other cases, only a demand draft might be acceptable. For example, the German Embassy in Argentina accepts only cash, while for the German Embassy in Singapore, paying with a credit card is also an option. Keep in mind that the visa fee will usually not be reimbursed in case your application is unsuccessful.

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Further Reading

German Language Requirements to Study in Germany

German Language Course Visa: Processing Time

How long does it take to get a language course visa for Germany? Based on our research, in most cases, the processing time for the German Language Course Visa is 2-3 months. Keep in mind that there is no universal processing time that applies to all cases. In some countries, German language visa processing time might take 6 weeks, while in others, it might take even 16 weeks. Hence, checking the processing times at your local German Embassy/Consulate is of utmost importance. Below are some examples of processing times for the German Language Course Visa in different countries.

How long is a German Language Course Visa valid?

German Language Course Visa is valid for the duration of your language course. As the language course should last at least 3 months and maximum 12 months, the language visa for Germany is valid for 3-12 months. It is noteworthy that an extension of the German Language Course Visa beyond one year is not possible.

Can I work with a German Language Course Visa?

No, you cannot work in Germany with a language course visa. German language visa does not allow you to get employed. However, if you have a student visa, you are allowed to work, although with some limitations. In particular, your German student visa will enable you to work 240 days per year part-time (e.g. up to 20 hours per week) or 120 days per year full-time (e.g. more than 20 hours per week). Moreover, after graduating from a German university, you can also work with a job-seeker visa.

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Further Reading

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Germany?

What can you NOT do with a German Language Course Visa?

Here are the things that the German Language Course Visa does not allow you to do:

 

  • You cannot change the purpose of your stay. In other words, you cannot convert your German Language Course Visa to a student visa, student applicant visa, job seeker visa, employment visa or any other type of visa.

  • You cannot extend your German Language Course Visa after you complete your language course. At the same time, you cannot stay in Germany for more than 12 months with a language course visa.

  • You cannot stay in Germany to pursue a degree after you complete your German language course. Put differently, you cannot enroll at higher education institutions in Germany, like Universities, Universities of Applied Sciences and Academies of Arts, Music, and Film. If you want to continue with the study program in Germany after finalizing the intensive language course, you have to go back to your country and apply for a student visa.

  • You cannot take up employment with the German Language Course Visa.

German Language Course Visa: Requirements

When applying for a German Language Course Visa, it is of utmost importance to present the right documents to the German Embassy/Consulate. If your language visa application is not complete, this can lead to the rejection of your application. Hence, you should take the requirements seriously!

 

Also, remember that the documents you will need for your German Language Course Visa application may vary from country to country. That is why we recommend you check with the German Embassy/Consulate responsible for your application if there are any nation-specific documents you need to bring or criteria that apply to you. Meanwhile, we would like to present the core general documents you usually need to submit to apply for a German Language Course Visa.

German Language Visa Checklist:

  • Completed German Language Course Visa application forms

    • You can find the form on the website of the responsible German Embassy/Consulate.

  • Passport

    • Valid passport and copies of its data page.

  • Recent biometric photos

    • The size of the photo should be 35(W) x 45(H). Your face in this photo should be clearly visible and should occupy 70-80% of the picture. This equals to 32-36mm of height. The background should be without shadows, bright and unicolored, preferably in neutral grey. Further details regarding the photo quality, head position and the rest can be found here.

  • Proof of admission to the German language course 

    • The letter of admission of the certificate of enrollment should usually contain the following information: the weekly amount of hours the language course will take; the location of the language course; the duration of the course; the level of German that the student will acquire by the end of the course.

  • Proof of payment of the language course fee

    • The equivalent of 75 Euros (or 37.5 Euros for minors) paid in the local currency.

  • Proof of sufficient funds

    • Here you should demonstrate that you are able to cover all your living costs while in Germany (e.g., accommodation, health insurance etc.). Currently, the amount to be proved set by the German government is 934 Euros per month or 11 208 Euros per year. For example, if your language course lasts for 6 months, it means that the amount to be proven will be 5 604 Euros (934*6). There are various ways through which you can do that. The most popular ones are arguably blocked account*, declaration of commitment from the German resident, and scholarship.

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  • Letter of Motivation/Statement of Purpose

    • Generally speaking, a Motivation Letter for a German Language Course Visa is a mandatory application document requested by all local German Embassies/Consulates in which you need to convincingly demonstrate your motivation for coming to Germany. Among others, in this document, you will need to convincingly explain why you need to attend a German language course, why you want to do it in Germany and how completing this course is connected with your future plans. Put another way, it is through the LOM that you make a formal request for your German Language Course Visa.

  • CV

    • CV or Résumé is another compulsory document where you should provide information regarding your academic background, work experience (including internships), extracurricular activities and skills. German Embassies and Consulates require you to submit the CV according to the German tabular style.

  • Health Insurance

    • Proof of preliminary health insurance that covers the first 3 months in Germany. At this point, travel insurance usually suffices. In Germany, you will have to get an insurance plan with one of the health insurance providers that cover the rest of your stay.

  • Proof of German Language knowledge (if applicable)

  • Certificates of past academic achievements and professional trainings

    • For example, school- and university-level diplomas and proofs of vocational trainings, internships etc.

  • Proof of accommodation

    • E.g., a lease contract or a letter from the landlord confirming that you will be staying in the specific dormitory.

  • Additional documents might be requested in individual cases.

 

Note: All of the language visa documents should be submitted as originals with two attached copies, unless stated otherwise.

Once again: it is crucial to check the websites of the German Embassies/Consulates as the requirements might vary. For example, the German Embassy in Armenia requires CVs and LOMs to be either in English or German, while the German Embassy in Argentina accepts CVs and LOMs only in German language.

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Further Reading

Sample: LOM for a German Student Visa (2022/23)

How to apply for a German Language Course Visa?

Getting an appointment for your German Language Course Visa might take months. Besides, you might end up waiting another 3 months before your language visa is processed. Consequently, you should act swiftly if you want to be in Germany on time.


The procedure for applying for a language visa in Germany may vary slightly from country to country. Despite this, you have to know about NINE key steps to get your German Language Course Visa:

1

Make sure your selected language course qualifies you for a German Language Course Visa. The course should be limited in duration, it should be an intensive course with classes of at least 18 hours per week (daily lessons), and the goal should be to acquire comprehensive German skills.

2

Start collecting the documents required for your German Language Course Visa application. You can find all of the required documents in the "Language Course" (or  Sprachkurs) section of the website of the German Embassy/Consulate responsible for your language visa application.

3

Book the appointment at the German Embassy/Consulate responsible for your application. You can find the German mission near you here. Note: you need to have all of the necessary documents ready by the time of your appointment. In other words, you can start collecting your documents both before and after you book the appointment. The key is that by the time you visit the Embassy/Consulate, you have all of the necessary documents in your hands.

4

Visit the Embassy/Consulate. Make sure you are there at least 15 minutes before the appointment.

5

Submit the documents. All of the documents should be ordered according to the checklist provided by your local German Embassy/Consulate. Do not staple the documents!

6

Pay the fee for processing your language visa application.

7

Complete the interview. It will take 10-15 minutes. During the interview, you have to make sure to explain with convincing arguments why you need to attend this course and how it will help with your future goals. Using information from your CV and LOM during the interview will help you with proper argumentation.

8

Wait for the response. Depending on your country, it might take even over 12 weeks.

9

Collect your passport and visa.

Do not forget to check procedural information that applies to your specific case on the website of your local German Embassy/Consulate.

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Further Reading

Student Visa Interview

Do I need to apply for a Residence Permit for a German Language Course Visa?

If you are from the EU member-state, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you do not need a residence permit. If you are not from the mentioned countries, you will need a residence permit for your language visa in most cases.

 

If you need a visa to attend a language course in Germany, the visa is usually valid for 3 months. After arriving in Germany, you will need to get a residence permit for your German language course until your 3-month visa expires. In rare cases, you might even get a 6-month visa, which might actually be sufficient for the duration of your stay in Germany. In this case, you will not need a residence permit. For example, if you got a 6-month visa and your intensive German language course will last for 5 months, it means your visa is valid for the whole duration, and you do not need to apply for a residence permit for your German language course. In situations like this, just to be on the safe side, we still suggest you to check with the local Immigration Office responsible for your residence permit application whether you need to apply for the permit.


 

In case you need to apply for a residence permit for a German language course, here is the list of the basic documents that you will have to submit:

  • Filled-out application form. You can find the application forms on the website of the Foreigners' Authority responsible for your application. 

  • Valid Passport. Make sure that your passport's expiry date is not very close and that it has enough free pages left.

  • Current biometric photo.

  • Valid entry visa for attending the German language course (if applicable).

  • Proof of participation in the language course. For instance, a letter of admission.

  • Proof of sufficient financial resources. For example, a blocked account or a declaration of commitment.

  • Valid health insurance.

  • Proof of housing. For example, it can be the certificate of registration (Meldebescheinigung) or rental agreement.

  • Additional documents might be requested in individual cases.

 

Note: Depending on the German city or town you reside in, requirements might differ slightly.

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Geeky Stuff Box

You should apply for the residence permit for the German language course at least 4-6 weeks before your visa expires. The processing time for the language course residence permit is approximately 4-6 weeks, and the countdown starts as soon as you submit the required documents and pay the fee. The language course residence permit fee is around 100 Euros.