If you want to study in Germany and you are from outside of Europe, you will most probably need to apply for a German student visa. In turn, this means that you will have to go through the interview process with the officer from the German Embassy/Consulate responsible for your student visa application. You might already be aware that, in the case you do not prepare sufficiently for the interview and fail to perform well, you run a risk of your application being rejected. If that happens, you will need to postpone your studies by at least one or two semesters (6-12 months), depending on whether your desired program has intakes in both winter and summer semesters.
Long story short: the stakes are quite high, and that is exactly why you should take the visa interview seriously and make sure that you invest quite a bit of time in preparing for it. We know that the interview for a German student visa is one of the most (if not the most) stressful parts of the visa application process for students. That is why we decided to make your life easier and put the answers to the central questions here 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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Do I need a visa to study in Germany?
If you are not from the European Union or a small number of other countries, you will need to apply for a German student visa. In fact, except for the EU countries, there are only 18 states whose citizens do not need a student visa to come and study in Germany. These countries are: Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the USA, the UK, Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco, and San Marino. The citizens of all of the other countries need a visa.
Group 1 (EU + 4)
No visa or residence permit needed.
Group 2 (USA, UK, Canada, South Korea, Brazil, El Salvador +8)
No visa needed, but residence permit (after arrival).
Group 3 (rest of the world)
Always need a student visa.
What is a German student visa?
A student visa for Germany is a type of visa which you can get if you have applied to a study program at a German university and received a letter of admission (also known as a letter of acceptance) from that program. The study course that entitles you to a German student visa might be offered by various types of higher education institutions in Germany, like Universities, Universities of Applied Sciences and Academies of Arts, Music, and Film.
The application fee for the German student visa is 75 Euros (37.5 Euros for minors, i.e. those who are less than 18 years old). It is equally important to underline that you should not expect to receive your visa soon after your application. In fact, the German student visa processing time might take around 12 weeks. The expected duration of the processing time depends on your local German Embassy/Consulate.
In order to apply for a German study visa, you will usually need the following documents:
German student visa: Checklist
Completed application form
Valid Passport and copy of its data page
Recent biometric photos
Acceptance letter from German university
Proof of financial resources
Proof of preliminary health insurance
Certificates of past academic achievements
Further ReadingSample: LOM for a German Student Visa (2022/23)
Is there any interview for a German student visa?
Yes, it is. International students, who need a visa to study in Germany, will have to go through the visa interview procedure at their local German Embassy/Consulate. The appointment day is also your interview day. For many embassies, these appointments can be made via their website with an electronic appointment reservation system. If your embassy/consulate does not offer this service, they will most likely specify on their website in which form they expect you to request an appointment.
Be punctual and arrive on time! Actually, you should be at the German Embassy's/Consulate's doors at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment and, consequently, the interview.
When you are invited for an interview with the Embassy/Consulate, you have to show up in person and alone, and submit all of the required documents for the German student visa application (see list above). Do not forget that:
Even one missing document may become a reason for rejection. Hence, double-check that all of the requested documents are in your hands;
You need to present both originals and two copies of those documents;
They should be ordered according to the list provided by the responsible German Embassy/Consulate;
They should not be stapled.
The visa interview will start soon after you submit the documents. In this interview, you should be able to demonstrate that you know which documents are part of your application and, therefore, important to enter and live in Germany. Showing competence and being prepared are good signs for the German Embassies and Consulates.
The basics that you need to know about the interview for a German student visa
What is an interview for a German student visa, and why is it needed?
Generally speaking, an interview for a study visa in Germany is a one-on-one meeting with a German Embassy/Consulate officer, who asks you various questions, from personal to study-program-specific. The interview session is needed for the Embassy/Consulate employer to make sure that your purpose of visiting Germany is indeed study-related, and, in general, that you meet all of the student visa requirements and that all of the information provided by you is correct and sincere.
How long is a German student visa interview?
You should expect your German student visa interview to last 10-15 minutes. It goes without saying that the style and the length of the interview differ based on the country and on the German Embassy/Consulate officer who is conducting the interview at that given time. However, it is fair to say that 10-15 minutes is an average student visa interview length. By the way, usually, the interviews are conducted by only one person.
Further ReadingLetter of Motivation for a German University: A Guide (2022/23)
Is a German student visa interview in English?
Whether your German student visa interview will be conducted in German or English largely depends on the study program you applied for. If the study program (e.g. Bachelor's or Master's) that you applied for is taught in German, then, most probably, the visa interview will be held in German. In case your program is taught in English, you should expect the interview to be in English. Keep in mind that if in the case of the English-taught study program the Embassy/Consulate employee still asks questions in German, it is totally fine to ask her/him to switch to English.
What should I wear during the German student visa interview?
Do not forget about the importance of the dress code! Business casual is always a good choice for visa interviews. You do not have to wear a suit and tie - that is not a must at all. At the same time, avoid wearing something that is too informal and disrupts your solid look. In addition to contributing to your confident appearance, business casual attire will help you to make a good first impression on the interviewer.
German Student Visa Interview Questions and Answers
You might be interested in what they ask in a visa interview for Germany. You are not the only one who wants to find an answer to this question! In fact, during the German visa interview, the Embassy/Consulate officer will ask you various types of questions. Basically, they can be divided into three key categories:
General Germany-related questions. The interviewer might be interested in your knowledge regarding Germany and the city where you are going to study. For instance, the officer might ask you general historical, geographical or political questions regarding Germany. Also, the interviewer might ask what the city - where you will be located - is famous for. These kinds of factual questions require straightforward answers.
Bureaucratic questions. The Embassy/Consulate employee might also ask where you will stay and how you will finance your stay. And again, these are factual questions which do not need that much creativity. Reminder: three of the most popular ways of financing your stay in Germany are: blocked account*, scholarship, and declaration of commitment.
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The study-related questions category is the one that requires the most effort and argumentation from your side. The key questions that you might be asked during the German student visa interview fall into this group. You should be ready to convincingly answer the following central German student visa interview questions:
Why did you choose Germany for your studies?
Why did you choose the given university/study program?
Why are you a good fit for the program?
What are you planning to do after your studies?
Here are tips on how you should answer these key German student visa questions:
For example, when the Embassy/Consulate officer asks you "why did you choose Germany", obviously, you should not say that it is because you like German cars or football teams (although both are great!). Your answers should be as much to the point as possible. You should answer this question from the educational and your future career perspective. It is also fair enough to say that in Germany you have a chance to get a high-quality education (among others, proven by famous rankings), and for free (or at least much cheaper than in countries like the US or the UK).
When asked "why did you choose the given university/study program", you should try to convince the interviewer that the given study program is the best fit for you. One of the ways of doing so is to mention some courses or modules by your chosen study program that are of great interest to you and that will help you with your future goals. Also, it is a good idea to mention professors that might help you to strengthen your grasp of topics that are important for your professional development.
Moving forward, when questions like "why are you a good fit for the program" are raised, they give you a chance to "advertise" yourself. Here you should focus on your academic background (e.g., put an emphasis on the courses of your Bachelor's that are strongly connected to what you will study in your chosen German Master's study program), program-relevant work experiences, program-relevant extracurricular activities, skills (e.g. language skills) and so on.
Last but not least, the question "what are you planning to do after your studies" can be reformulated as "how is studying in Germany at the given program connected with your future plans". In other words, here you should explain how the knowledge received from your chosen German study program will contribute to reaching your career goals.
What should you not say in a student visa interview?
It is crucial to keep in mind not only what you SHOULD say but also what you SHOULD NOT say during the German student visa interview. For instance,
You should not lie. Not being genuine is always a bad idea.
You should not try to tell the whole story. The time is limited, and you need to focus on the most relevant and valuable details that will help you to build up a strong argument.
You should not go off-topic. For example, if you try to bring not fully relevant or completely irrelevant examples, you will lose precious time, and your argument will be weakened.
Further ReadingSOP for a Visa in Germany: A Guide (2022/23)
General tips for your German student visa interview
If you want to do well during your interview, these tips will contribute to improving the quality of your performance:
Follow the dress-code
Be confident. If needed, train with friends or in front of the mirror
Read about Germany and the city you are going to study in
Know your Letter of Motivation well
Know your CV well
Be on to the point