Student Applicant Visa Germany: Complete Guide (2024)

Fees, requirements, processing time, duration and all other important information about getting a German student applicant visa

Surprisingly, if you ask international students in Germany whether they arrived here on time, most of them will tell you that they actually missed the start of the semester. In fact, 38% of international students who want to study in Germany do not manage to arrive in Germany by the time their studies commence. The reason is straightforward: lengthy visa procedure.


If you do not want to be among that 38%, one of the things you can do is to apply for a German student applicant visa instead of the regular German student visa. This article breaks down what this visa type is about and why it makes sense.

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 by the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI), and the local Foreigners’ Offices (Ausländerbehörde). Please be aware: Some rules and procedures can vary from embassy/consulate to embassy/consulate (even within one country), and from Ausländerbehörde to Ausländerbehörde in Germany. That is why we highly recommend you also consult the German representation abroad near you, and the local Foreigners’ Office in Germany (which Ausländerbehörde is responsible for you depends on your residence in Germany) for information that applies to your case.

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What is Student Applicant Visa in Germany?

Student Applicant visa (or Visum zur Studienbewerbung) is a type of visa which you can get if you have applied to a German University but do not have an acceptance letter yet, or if you need to prepare yourself in Germany for your studies, for example, by taking a language course, going through the Studienkolleg Preparatory Course, doing a compulsory internship etc. It is noteworthy that a student applicant visa is also known as a "prospective student visa."


In general, you are considered a student applicant if you are interested in studying in Germany but have not yet been officially admitted to a German university.

German Student Applicant Visa: Requirements

If you are already familiar with the standard German student visa requirements, it means that you are also (almost) fully aware of the requirements for the German student applicant visa. The main difference is that in the case of a student applicant visa, instead of the letter of acceptance, you need to provide the proof of application to a study programme and/or proof of correspondence with the university or uni-assist.


Remember that the documents you will need to provide for the prospective student visa in Germany may vary from country to country. Here is the list of the core documents that you usually need to submit to apply for a German student applicant visa:

  • Completed application form

  • Valid Passport and copy of its data page

  • Recent biometric photos 

  • Proof of application and/or proof of correspondence with the university or uni-assist

  • Proof of financial resources (e.g. blocked account* 💰)

  • Letter of Motivation/Statement of Purpose

  • CV

  • 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 private or public providers that cover the rest of your stay 

  • Proof of language skills: present a language certificate or proof that you plan to attend a language course in Germany before starting your studies (in English or German)

  • Certificates of past academic achievements, e.g. Bachelor’s degree, secondary school degree.


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How long is the German Student Applicant Visa valid?

The student applicant visa is usually valid for 3 months but can be extended by another 6 months if needed. Put differently, you can stay in Germany for no more than 9 months in total with this type of visa. This way, you have enough time to meet the university’s entry requirements and convert your student applicant visa into a residence permit once you are in Germany and get the admission letter. The residence permit is valid for the duration of your studies.

If you do not receive the letter of admission within maximum 9 months, you will have to leave Germany.


Further Reading

APS India

Can you work on a student applicant visa in Germany?

Yes, starting from March 1st, 2024, international students are allowed to work with a student applicant visa in Germany. Prospective students can now work part-time (no more than 20 hours per week).

Note: Do not forget that as soon as you receive your letter of admission and convert your student applicant visa into a student residence permit, your rights of taking up an employment in Germany will be relatively expanded, but some limitations will still apply. With the German residence permit for studying, you can work 280 days per year part-time or 140 days per year full-time. It is noteworthy that before March 1, 2024, foreign students were allowed to work 240 days per year part-time or 120 days per year full-time.

How much does a German student applicant visa cost?

As you might have guessed, unfortunately, applying for a student applicant visa does entail some fees. In fact, the amount of money one should pay for this type of visa is exactly the same as for a regular student visa. In other words, you need to pay 75€ for the student applicant visa. Keep in mind that in some countries, students who have a scholarship from a German public institution (e.g. DAAD) do not have to pay any visa processing fees.


As in the case of the student visa, the payment needs to be executed in the local currency. Hence, we suggest you check the up-to-date exchange rates before visiting the embassy/consulate. As for the payment methods, these vary from embassy/consulate to embassy/consulate. In some cases, you will be asked to pay in cash only, in other cases with a credit card, yet in other cases, only a demand draft might be acceptable. In general, if your application is rejected, you cannot get your money back. Put another way, the visa fee is non-refundable.


Further Reading

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Germany?

Student Applicant Visa in Germany: Processing time

The processing time for the German student applicant visa might take 4-12 weeks. Yes, the range is significant because the processing time for your student applicant visa entirely depends on the local German Embassies and Consulates. In other words, there is no universal student applicant visa processing time that applies to all countries. However, it is fair to say that the typical processing time is 2-3 months, like in the case of India, Nigeria, Colombia and others.

Student visa vs. Student Applicant Visa

Both student visa and student applicant visa are equally as valid to enter Germany and stay as a student. In the application process, they differ slightly in the documents you will be asked to provide. In particular, in the case of a student visa, you need a letter of acceptance from the university, while for a student applicant visa, proof of application to the university is enough.


Moreover, students can immediately convert the student visa to a residence permit, while with the student applicant visa, they still have to wait for the letter of admission. In other words, technically speaking, the regular student visa is valid for the duration of your studies, while the prospective student visa is valid for maximum 9 months. Last but not least, students can work in Germany with a student visa but not with a student applicant visa.

Key differences between student visa and student applicant visa




Valid for

Right to work

Student applicant visa

Proof of application/proof of correspondence

Max. 9 months


Student visa

Letter of admission

Duration of your studies


Why should I apply for a student applicant visa?

Applying for a German student applicant visa is the right choice if you want to significantly decrease the chances of missing the start of the semester. The thing is that in addition to the long processing times, getting a visa appointment also takes quite a lot of time. This, in turn, means that from the moment you start trying to get a visa appointment, it might take over 3 months before you have the visa in your hands. 


Consequently, it is very likely that by waiting for the letter of admission to apply for a student visa, you will not arrive in Germany on time. That is why applying for a student applicant visa is a good idea. You do not have to wait for the admission letter to apply for this visa. Instead, you just need a proof of application to the university. Thereby, with the help of the student applicant visa, you will win considerable time, and it is very likely that you will start your studies on time.


Advice Box


The option of applying for a student applicant visa is not available in every country. Thereby, you should thoroughly inspect the possibility of applying for a prospective student visa. Even if the website of the German Embassy/Consulate responsible for your visa application explicitly mentions the student applicant visa (as in the case of Taiwan, Tajikistan, Malaysia or Singapore), you should still get in touch with them and ask whether they can indeed issue this type of visa. If the answer is positive, then it is a good idea to go for it.