How to write a Letter of Motivation (LOM) for a Visa in Germany: A Guide for International Students (2022/23)

If you need a student visa to study in Germany, then you will have to write a Motivation Letter for your German visa application! Find out more about length requirements, general guidelines, and how to start your LOM!

Whether you are planning to do your Bachelor's or your Master's in Germany, you will most probably need to submit a Letter of Motivation (LOM) to gain admission to your dream program. In addition, depending on where you are coming from, you may also need to write another Letter of Motivation for your German student visa. If you are not from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the USA, the UK, Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco, or San Marino, then you will need to apply for a German student visa. That means that you will need to include yet another motivation letter as a part of your German visa application.


Further Reading

Visa for International Students

The purpose of this article is to provide clear answers to the most crucial questions about LOM-writing within the German student visa context. We know that writing a Letter of Motivation for a German student visa is one of the most (if not the most) challenging 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.

Check out our Video Course (64 min.) on "How to write a Letter of Motivation"

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

What is a Letter of Motivation for a student visa in Germany?

Generally speaking, a Letter of Motivation (LOM) is a mandatory application document requested by local German Embassies/Consulates in which you need to convincingly demonstrate your motivation for coming to Germany, to seek admission to your specific study program, and explain why you should be given the opportunity to study in Germany. Put another way, it is through the LOM that you make a formal request for your German student visa.

Motivation Letter vs SOP vs Personal Statement - What are the differences?

Do not be confused or surprised if you find out that your local German Embassy/Consulate does not mention "Letter of Motivation," but instead uses terms like "Statement of Purpose (SOP)," "Personal Statement" or "Cover Letter." Depending on the location, German Embassies/Consulates may use one of these expressions for what is called in German “Motivationsschreiben''.

Table 1: Different wordings used for “Letter of Motivation” (LOM)




Letter of Motivation (LOM)

University Application

Dominant English-language term in German-speaking countries; widely used in American English 

Motivation Letter

University Application

The same as LOM but in a different word order

Statement of Purpose (SOP)

University Application

Same meaning, widely used in British English

Personal Statement

University Application

Less frequent than LOM or SOP

Cover Letter

Job Application

Predominantly used for the job market

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Is a Letter of Motivation necessary for the German student visa?

Yes, a Letter of Motivation is a mandatory element of a German student visa application package. Thus, if you are a citizen of one of those countries where you need a visa to study in Germany, you have to prepare a Letter of Motivation. We present some relevant examples below in Table 2.

Table 2: German student visa - country-specific examples


Term used

Specific requirements







Letter of Motivation




Letter of Motivation




Statement of Purpose / Motivation letter








Letter of Motivation




Motivation Letter







How do I write a Motivation Letter for a student visa in Germany?

This is a very popular yet very broad question to answer compactly. Hence, let us break it down into five frequent questions that we get at MyGermanUniversity.


What is the structure for the Letter of Motivation?

Luckily, there is a standardized structure for the LOM available for you, which you should always follow:

  • Introduction and salutation.

  • Main body. This is supposed to be the longest part because here, you elaborate on why you want to study in Germany, your plans for the future etc.

  • Conclusion and valediction.


What is the format for the Letter of Motivation?

If not otherwise requested by the local German Embassy/Consulate, you are safe if you follow these suggestions:


  • Margins: 2.5 cm, or one inch, on all sides.

  • Font size: 11- or 12-point of a standard script like Times New Roman or Arial.

  • Line spacing: 1.5-point.

  • Text alignment: justified (text is aligned with both margins).


How long should the Letter of Motivation for the visa be?

Ideally, it should be no more than one page (e.g. see the example of the German embassy in Nigeria), as long as you follow the above-mentioned formatting recommendations. In other words, you will end up having around 500 words, which is always a good target range.


NOTE: If your local German Embassy/Consulate requests anything different in terms of the length of the Letter of Motivation, please follow the stated rules.


How do I start a Motivation Letter for a German student visa?

You start a motivation letter for a German student visa by getting straight to the point:

  • Introduce yourself;

  • State what is this letter for; and

  • Briefly present your most important details.


What do I write in a Motivation Letter for the visa?

Basically, you should try to answer the following five questions briefly:


  1. Why Germany?

  2. Why this specific program?

  3. Why are you a very good fit for the program?

  4. Why is the program a very good fit for you?

  5. How is studying in Germany at the given program connected with your future plans?

Guidelines provided by German Embassies/Consulates

After studying the websites of German Embassies/Consulates in dozens of countries, the following is clear:

In general, German Embassies/Consulates do not provide any guidelines for writing your Letter of Motivation (see Table 2). This is done intentionally, as LOM-writing is supposed to be an open-ended task. 

Sometimes (extremely rarely), some Embassies/Consulates can get very specific. For example, the German Embassy in Ukraine provides one of the most detailed guidelines (link here). In fact, this guideline consists of a list of questions that is quite similar to what we suggested to you in the previous section.

Sample: Letter of Motivation for a Student Visa in Germany

Before writing their own LOM, students often try to find a Letter of Motivation 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. 

It is fine to use a sample as long as you want to use it just as a guideline. However, beware that the Internet is full of low-quality samples, meaning that even if you behave ethically and just use it as a guideline, you are at high risk of ending up with a bad Letter of Motivation. Find out more about the Letter of Motivation sample here.


Further Reading

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

WARNING: PLEASE, DO NOT PLAGIARIZE! Just use our sample for the purpose of getting an overall idea of what the LOM should look like. In general, if you plagiarize or copy anything directly from any source, you will not be able to get away with it. German Embassy or Consulate will find out about it, and your application will be immediately rejected.