Entry to higher education for applicants from countries outside the EU
Applicants from non-EU countries must hold a school-leaving qualification from their home country that corresponds to the German Abitur and allows the holder to enter higher education in their home country. If your school-leaving qualification corresponds to the German Abitur, you may apply directly to a German higher education institution, provided that you have satisfactory German language skills. You can find out which foreign qualifications are required for entry to higher education in Germany from the Central Office for Foreign Education (Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen, ZAB) operated by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz, KMK), and from the admissions database of the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, DAAD). If your school-leaving qualification does not correspond to the German Abitur or is not recognised as equivalent to the Abitur, you must pass an assessment test before you can apply to a German higher education institution. The assessment test is always subject specific and is different for universities of applied sciences and universities. To prepare for the assessment test, you can enrol on a preparatory course at a Studienkolleg, which normally lasts for one year.
You need a visa to enter Germany and study at a higher education institution. You must apply for your visa at the German embassy or consulate in your home country and receive it before you enter Germany. The student applicant visa is valid for three months and is issued if you have not yet been admitted to a higher education institution or onto a preparatory course. This visa can be converted to a student visa once you have been admitted onto a programme. Please note: if you apply for a tourist visa, you cannot convert this to a student visa. Information on current visa requirements can be obtained from the Federal Foreign Office website.
A student visa entitles you to study in Germany for one year. The visa must be extended every year and is issued if you have been admitted to a higher education institution or onto a preparatory course. You need to have health insurance, demonstrate satisfactory German language skills, and prove that you will be able to finance your living costs yourself during your studies.