How to write a Statement of Purpose (SOP) for a Visa in Germany: A Guide for International Students (2024)

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 SOP!

Whether you are planning to do your Bachelor's or your Master's in Germany, you will most probably need to submit a Statement of Purpose (SOP) to gain admission to your dream program. In addition, depending on where you are coming from, you may also need to write another Statement of Purpose 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 SOP-writing within the German student visa context. We know that writing a Statement of Purpose 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 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.

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

22 videos plus checklist and template

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

What is a Statement of Purpose for a student visa in Germany?

Generally speaking, a Statement of Purpose (SOP) 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 SOP that you make a formal request for your German student visa.

SOP vs Motivation Letter vs LOM 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 "Statement of Purpose," but instead uses terms like "Letter of Motivation (LOM)," "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 “Statement of Purpose” (SOP)




Statement of Purpose (SOP)

University Application

Dominant English-language term in German-speaking countries along with LOM; most widely used in British English

Motivation letter

University Application

The same as SOP but in a different word order

Letter of Motivation (LOM)

University Application

The same as SOP, but more dominant in American English

Personal Statement

University Application

Same meaning but less frequently used than SOP or LOM

Cover Letter

Job Application

Predominantly used for the job market

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Is a Statement of Purpose necessary for the German student visa?

Yes, a Statement of Purpose 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 Statement of Purpose. We present some relevant examples below in Table 2.

Table 2: German student visa - country-specific examples


Term used

Specific requirements



Statement of Purpose / Motivation letter




Motivation Letter
















Letter of Motivation








Letter of Motivation




Letter of Motivation







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 Statement of Purpose?


Luckily, there is a standardized structure for the SOP 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 Statement of Purpose?


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 Statement of Purpose for the visa be?


Ideally, it should be one to two pages, as is standard for German SOPs, as long as you follow the above-mentioned formatting recommendations and as long as your particular embassy/consulate does not provide specific instructions in this regard. This means you will generally end up with an SOP in the 500-800 word range, which is generally a good range to aim for.


NOTE: If your local German Embassy/Consulate requests anything different in terms of the length of the Statement of Purpose, 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 Statement of Purpose (see Table 2). This is done intentionally, as SOP-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: Statement of Purpose for a Student Visa in Germany

Before writing their own SOP, students often try to find a Statement of Purpose 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.


Further Reading

Sample: SOP for a German Student Visa (2024)

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 Statement of Purpose. Find out more about the Statement of Purpose samples here.


Advice Box


PLEASE, DO NOT PLAGIARIZE! Just use our sample for the purpose of getting an overall idea of what the SOP 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.